Creating Classic Décor for the Holiday Season

Seasonal Decorating Tips Subtle Enough to Last from Thanksgiving to the New Year

There’s a street in my neighborhood that prides itself on its over-the-top Christmas decorations. They spend weeks hanging garlands, timing their lightshow to this year’s pop rendition of “Winter Wonderland,” strategically placing their Santas and their reindeers just right so they look like they’re soaring from the rooftop.

It’s actually become a tradition for my family to take a drive after our heavy Thanksgiving meal, park the car and walk along the side of the road, taking in what must cost these families thousands of dollars in electric bills by the end of the season. And while this experience is fun for me, my family and the hundreds of others that visit that street once every year - I realize this is not the norm, or at least it shouldn’t be according to interior designer Bonnie Kovacik.

“Over years of driving through the neighborhoods during the holidays, I’ve found that more and more homes are going overkill on the decorations,” said the owner of BK Designs. “There are too many lights, the décor doesn’t fit the scale of the home, inflatable characters and way too many plastic figurines. But these homes have no curb appeal!”

Instead, Kovacik recommends a subtler approach that still says holiday without screaming it from the literal rooftops.

“I prefer homes that are well thought out, beautifully executed and incorporate elements from nature – like fresh wreaths, twigs and pinecones. Strands of cedar garland that adorn a fence or door entrance, covered with tiny lights that add to the wonderful scents of the holiday and welcome guests to the home. The same rule should apply for interior decorating. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for things to be tasteful and for decorations to be placed appropriately throughout the house.”

There are a couple of key focal points that she recommends highlighting throughout the home, beginning with the most important - the foyer.

“The entrance is the first room guests will step into when they arrive. It should make a long-lasting impression and create flow between other rooms in your house,” Kovacik said. “You can make a statement with a beautifully decorated stairwell covered with fresh and artificial garland paired with accents and fillers consisting of colored ornaments like berries or ribbon. Even miniature lights can add a nice touch.”

Few places are better to warm up than by the fire during the cold holiday months, and your guests are well aware. Bringing life to the fireplace ensures this gathering place is both enticing and attractive.

“The fireplace is usually in the family room or if you are lucky, in the dining room,” she said. “Similar to the entry way, garland and fillers on the mantel add a touch of elegance. I like to build on a theme to add more interest. Decorations come together when they are cohesive.”

To ensure your décor can last from Thanksgiving to the New Year, choose a color scheme and embellishments that are easy to build upon throughout the season. You can also try scattering them throughout the home rather than making them a focal point.

“Fall colors are filled with rich jewel tones but mixing in some peacock blue with deep gold, brown and orange can add some balance. Plus, they come together beautifully. Think bittersweet, fall leaves and peacock feathers,” recommends Kovacik. “When transitioning form the Thanksgiving holiday to the Christmas season, steer clear of the traditional red and green and try taking advantage of some of those winter greens used during the fall and add white and green, making a beautiful, sophisticated statement.”

And in terms of putting them up and taking them down, that is completely up to the home owner’s preference.

“I’ve known people to get started as early as Halloween based on the number of trees that have to be intricately decorated but I suggest getting started any time after Thanksgiving,” Kovacik said. “As for taking them down, some people are anxious to start pulling the day after Christmas, but I think this question is totally up to the homeowner. Some people keep their tree up until January 6 in observance of the Epiphany and I have no problem with that.”