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Holiday Decorating Tips from a Professional Interior Designer!

By: Casey Gerber

December 13, 2014

Featured Designer: Payal Patel 

Decorating for the Holidays can be daunting – especially if you don’t know where to start! I’ve put together a series of steps for decorating your home this festive season. Before we begin, one of the tips I always like to give my friends and family is to take out all of the decorative holiday items they already own and have collected over the years. Even if you have used items previously, there is always a way to reuse them in a new way and pair them with items you may not have before!

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1. Select Your Design Concept

First things first – like any great design project, it is always great to start off with a design concept. This step is not necessary in the process of decorating for the holidays, but I recommend having some sort of a concept that will tie all of the decorations together and make a statement with impact. I’m including a few different concepts as inspiration to get you started, but feel free to let your imagination run wild.

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If you are more of a traditionalist at heart, you may want to explore the concept of Winter Wonderland, Rustic Modern, or even Vintage ideas. If you are more of a movie buff and want to create a unique experience for your friends and family, then try a Narnia meets Hogwarts type of a concept. If you are willing to be a bit more bold, you might want to try a Hollywood glam holiday look. If you’re having trouble getting inspiration or simply want to learn more about these concepts, Pinterest is a great tool to gather some ideas.

2. Select Your Color Palette

Once you have your design concept set, you are ready to set a color palette. This will help your design concept come together and create the statement you are looking for. While there are so many different combinations and choices available, here are a few of my recommendations. If you are going for a more traditional and classic look, then stay close to the colors that are generally associated with the holidays – red, green and gold. If you are looking to create the holiday vibe but keep things more modern and sophisticated then use a clean and vibrant palette of red and white, keep things monochromatic in all white, or use black, white, gold for a little glam.

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If you are willing to be a little more inventive and bold, then you might try either a ‘Winter Wonderland’ color scheme that incorporates bluish grays, teal and icy silver hues, or try mixing vibrant jewel tones of red, purple, orange and green. This will lend to a more opulent look. Regardless of which color palette you decide to go with, be sure to incorporate metallic accents and reflective surfaces.

3. Get to Work!

The third step is to create a plan on how to execute your vision. In order to do so, look at what existing decorative holiday items you already own and what you may need to purchase to complete your look. If you are going for a traditional holiday feel, you’ll need a Christmas tree, wreath, stockings, pine cones, poinsettia, glass ornaments, and clove oranges. If you are a little more adventurous and want a more streamlined modern look, then opt for a craft wire tree, straw-burst wreath, spray painted glass pendants and pine cones. The key is to keep things minimal and in-sync with your color palette. If you’re sticking with a more Rustic Modern vibe choose a wood tree or simply use a traditional Christmas tree and dress it up with a ruffled burlap garland and knit acorn and wood slice ornaments. Use old vintage bottles as candle holders, hang paper mache animal sculptures, deck your door with a twig wreath, and place chalkboard prints with seasons greetings around the home to welcome your guests.

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Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun in the process of decorating your home this holiday season! Happy Designing…

Payal Patel is an Architectural and Interior Designer who has a true passion for Residential Design. She graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and received her Master of Interior Architecture degree from UCLA Extension. She constantly strives to contribute design solutions that are creative, functionally appropriate, contextually derived, culturally significant and environmentally responsible.

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