The boxes are down from the attic and the decorations are maybe even up on the walls, but your holiday décor has a case of the blahs. If your holiday dazzle is in a frazzle, residential interior designer Susan Shepherd of Susan Shepherd Interiors has some tips for keeping the festive flowing.
Shepherd finds many of her clients feel stuck in a rut or run out of time to get their homes beautiful for that holiday party, visit from family or other seasonal festivity. She offers a holiday decorating service (available until Dec. 14 susanshepherdinteriors.houzz.com) in which homeowners can get a new plan for their lights and holly.
Shepherd will either stylishly deck the halls with existing decorations, purchase and put up new décor, or simply put together a plan and let the homeowner take over.
Q. What kind of holiday décor mistakes do people make?
A. They think they need to put everything out that they have that has to do with the holiday. It could be things they really are not tied to emotionally. Maybe someone gave it to them and they feel obligated to put it out there for the holidays. When I hear that, I know it’s not something they really want to do.
Q. What is important in holiday decorations?
A. I believe the holidays should be highly personal. You should be surrounded by things that you really like, that reflect your family’s tradition and personality. Take a decoration you like all year and give it a holiday trim. I like peacock blue and found a peacock ribbon that has animal print on it to use on my mantle for the holidays. I always like animal prints. Even my Santa is wearing animal prints.
Q. How should someone approach getting a new look in their own home?
A. A lot of times the first thing to do is to edit. The eye doesn’t know where to rest when there is so much of everything that you can’t enjoy what you’re looking at. The garland you’ve had for 20 years does not necessarily need to get put up. You have to make some edits, and sometimes you need to purchase new things. Accents do not need to be expensive. I do a lot of upcycling and recycling to give things a fresh look.
Q. What should homeowners focus on?
A. For Christmas the tree is the focal point. If you have a mantel over the fireplace and an entryway, they should be next. Those are the three main areas. If you are going for a new theme, those would be the three areas you need to concentrate on. A front porch or outside entry can also be a good place to decorate. You should also look for the flat spaces in your home. There is space there to use.
Q. What is new in holiday décor?
A. Brighter colors — still in the red and green family, but the red is more raspberry. The green is chartreuse. Monochromatic —white or blue — is also popular. Blues have come on strong in the last few years. The peacock blues with golds and silvers are popular. I have a pretty traditional décor in my home but it has pops of eclectic kinds of things.
Vignettes are also popular this season. Try building winter scenes with houses and trees and nostalgic kind of things.
Q. How can you make your decorations both fashionable and personal?
A. I love the collected items we all have. I think you should have them around you during the holidays. Collections are always more important when they are together. Place them together in your home. You can see your collected ornaments on your tree and that makes it really interesting. They tell a story. Try doing the same thing by putting some of your collected things in a little vignette and putting a glass closure over it. They could be things your kids have made or a special doll you were given as a child. Add a pop of new color. The things you’ve collected are really important and you should use them.
Q. Any other trade secrets you can share?
A. Don’t forget the scents. A simmer pot on the stove is a simple way to bring some of the cinnamon, orange, and rosemary into the house without having to buy 12 candles. Fragrant candles are nice, but do not use them on the dining table. I also use a lot of mirrors. The reflection of items is really beautiful.