It’s that time of year when you pull those boxes out of storage to decorate for the holiday season. Whether it’s Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, or Ramadan, this festive time of year makes its way into your home more than other seasons. Celebrating with décor is as much a tradition as lighting candles or preparing special meals.
Lest you get carried away and go overboard with your decorating, here are three principles to help you achieve a classic and elegant look for your home during the holidays.
1. Balance Color
Start by removing your usual décor then step back and look at your space. If you have a mostly neutral color scheme—cream, grey, brown, white, etc.—you’ll have a lot more flexibility with color as you decorate. If you have bold colors built into your home, you’ll have to be a bit more creative so the colors you use to decorate don’t overwhelm or clash.
Remember that a little color goes a long way, even against a neutral backdrop. Select a main color for your décor and calculate your use of it. It will pop out against a neutral background and you won’t need to use much. Bold reds, oranges, and pinks are popular choices for the holidays and act as the showstoppers.
Other colors like blue, green, and yellow are good accent colors to help balance your décor. These colors are more muted to our eyes because they are so common in nature. They are rich colors, but their calming tones let them almost act as neutrals. They are perfect to as accents to your main color selection.
If you have bold colors in your home, it can be difficult to decorate with other bold colors. Consider something like silver, gold, or copper, which are festive and draw attention but don’t clash with existing colors in your home. You can also try decorating with natural colors and textures that will stand out against your colorful home like burlap, wood, greenery, or white flowers.
2. Limit “Stuffiness”
It would never do to leave Grandma’s collection of nativity scenes or your mother’s treasured menorah in the attic. The holidays are the best time to display keepsakes, but sometimes things get a little out of control and décor is overtaken by stuff. The most comforting and festive decoration uses three concepts to keep it classy: authenticity, scale, and proportion.
The most beautiful decoration has meaning. It is authentic, unlike the piles of commercialized stuff from big box stores than anyone can buy. Bring out your most treasured items and decorate around them. Not only will you have decoration that makes you and your family happy, you’ll have a story to tell too.
Scale is the size of an object in comparison to objects around it. When you place large items together, your décor starts to feel overwhelming. And if you have only small items, the details tend to start to get lost. Large red ornaments on a large pine swag next to a large Santa sculpture will start to feel like too much. Intermix a variety of sizes to make your décor feel appropriate rather than overcrowded.
Proportion is when all the parts add up to one equal whole. If you pay attention to balancing color and using a variety of sizes, you are well on your way. Proportion happens when you step back and consider the room or even the home as a whole. Does it feel complete once all the décor is taken into account? Do all the pieces add up to a cohesive whole or do you need to do a little balancing across your whole space?
3. Light it Up
No decoration is complete without lighting. It deepens the mood of the season and is one of the most important elements of your design. Depending on the look you’re going for, you can select lighting that will complement your decor.
A traditional Christmas or Hanukkah design probably calls for a warm glow. Use candles and incandescent light bulbs to create a creamy warmth. Plenty of twinkle lights add some mood and enhance your decorations.
The brighter hues of Kwanzaa and Ramadan might call for a brighter lighting strategy. Select full-spectrum light bulbs or LEDs. Select candles in cool colors to further brighten up your décor.
Whatever you’re celebrating this season, make sure your decorations reflect your mood in a way that is balanced and will be inviting to you, your family, and your guests. Happy Holidays!