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  • Writer's pictureAshley Harrison

Five Tips for Holiday Decorating

Make holiday decorating less stressful, with these easy to follow tips and suggestions, that will work for decorating this season and beyond.

It's that time again, for holiday decor! That means spending a weekend to move all the storage bins, untangle all the lights, inventory the things you purchased last year on sale (and forgot about) and come up with a plan for holiday style. Growing up, "plans for holiday decor" wasn't a thing. We didn't change the holiday decor much from year to year. I knew what to expect, I knew where my mom would put things, and I loved it. With the invention of Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, etc, I think many of us have gotten away from the same ol' holiday set up, and challenged ourselves to come up with something new and exciting each year. All that pressure, expense, and time has made me realize we could all benefit from taking a step back, and simplifying a bit.

The Christmas holiday season is by far my favorite. Twinkling lights, evergreen smells, holiday music, and an abundance of favorite family movies. I simply look forward to it every year. All that enjoyment doesn't come without a little stress. I put so much pressure on myself each year to set the mood for everyone, that it can easily become a daunting task. That pressure, in conjunction with the pressures of picture perfect spaces we see online, can make decorating downright stressful. I came up with a few easy steps to make the transition to holiday decor, an easier one.

There are a few rooms in my home that are cameleons. By that I mean, they can take on a variety of Christmas decor, because of the neutral color palettes already in place. There are other rooms, however, that have colors that simply clash with the typical red and green. How do we work with those spaces that are different from what we see in magazines, and on instagram? How do we spend wisely on new decor each year? How do we create a space without spending a lot of money? Hopefully these tips help make your holiday decor transition simple.

Tip 1

Work With the Color Palette You Already Have

It's easy to be influenced by your surroundings. Store displays, magazine spreads, instagram accounts, Pinterest, etc. Don't worry about what you see each year, holiday trends are just that, TRENDS. If your dining room is blue (like mine) play off the blue. Look around your room, pull colors from rugs, walls, lighting, fireplaces, decor, plates, and incorporate those colors instead of forcing the traditional color palette of Christmas. Getting that holiday feel doesn't hinge on the standard holiday colors, so work with the look you've already created, and the colors that already exist.

Christmas table 2017

Christmas Table 2018

**Note: I reused the napkins that I purchased last year, the table runner, the glass trees and the candlesticks. I set things up differently this year, and went for a softer theme by simply adding the eucalyptus.

Tip 2

Invest in Staple Pieces

That large vase in the Pottery Barn magazine, the crock from the antique store, the concrete planter, the basket, the lantern, the list goes on and on. I select pieces that I know can be dressed up for the holidays and then down for every day living. This is where you want to think neutral, versatile, and statement. Pull the trigger on these types of items, and use them year round. Add pine picks and berries at Christmas time, remove the berries after Christmas, leaving just the greens for winter. Remove the pine as spring rolls around, and replace with your favorite tulips, etc.

**These amazing trophies will be statement pieces year round. They are of various price points (and all new, not vintage). The investment was worth it, as I already have spring plans for these beauties.

Tip 3

Shop Your Home

We all get set in our ways. Many of use like stability, familiarity, and structure. Our things have a place, and that makes us feel safe. Go outside your comfort zone to decorate, and move items from room to room.

A good activity to try:

-remove all of your decor from shelves, dressers, bedrooms, living rooms, etc and place it all in one room.

-Re-decorate each space with the items you already have on hand.

-Don't be afraid to move that vase that's been next to your bed for five years, and replace it with a few books, candle sticks, photos, etc.

In some of these moves, you might just find items around your home that work for the holiday, and you'll find new life in re-freshed decor. This is a good activity if you are just looking for a home decor change, it's not just holiday specific.

Tip 4

Have Versitile, Staple Florals on Hand

I have a box of picks and greenery that I keep and use each year. Ferns, evergreen, eucalyptus, grasses, basic wreaths etc. A very simply suggestion, I bought a bag of sticks (from hobby lobby) many years ago, and I still use those sticks today. Sometimes they fill a tall vase in the winter months, they stick out of the tree at Christmas, or in the fall they take on new life with the addition of colored leaves. The point is, I have them on hand, always, which keeps me from running to the store each season.

A simple bundle of sticks for easy decor year round

These leaves came from an old arrangement that I didn't want anymore. I deconstructed it, and used the pieces with the branches.

Simple, easy, inexpensive decor with items I already had on hand.

This may have been a fall example, but think similarly for holiday decor. On a mantle, arrange the sticks with garland, picks, berries, in vase, etc. The options are endless.

Tip 5

Small Changes for Big Impact

It's amazing what switching out blankets and pillows does for a room. The minute I took my blue pillows out (for Santa ones) the room transformed. The blue rug seemed to fad, and I was drawn to the reds and greens immediately. Thing is, I've accumulated these items over time. I bought the blankets on clearance after the holiday, made some of the pillows myself from placemats, (find an awesome tutorial for that on my friend Vintage Porch's blog HERE), and purchased others that I'll use year after year.

BEFORE: Fall Decor

AFTER: Holiday Decor (The change in pillows and throws really brought the theme to life.)

The best advice I can give is to not get wrapped up in purchasing an entirely new theme for a room, create one. Use what you have, get creative, shop your home and fill-in where you need to each year. Remember how you felt when you were a kid, and you mom brought out that Frosty the Snowman candy cane holder (clearly this is a vivid memory for me), do more of that! Don't stop including those items the kids can't wait to see. The people who really matter, won't care how differently you decorated, they will remember how everything you incorporated for the holidays made them FEEL!

Happy Holiday decorating, friends!

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