Decorating for Winter Without “Going Griswold”

Experts Share Tips to Deck the Halls Without Heavy-Handed Holiday Fare

Pretty soon, as the old song goes, it will start “beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” but as we head into the winter months, how can you deck your halls with a more secular theme? While the Clark Griswolds of the world compete to have the biggest, brightest house on the street, we asked experts for tips on ways to celebrate the season in a less holiday-centric way.

Light It Up

“It’s all about light and sparkles during the season,” said Terri Weinstein of Terri Weinstein Design, Inc., with offices in Chicago and Miami. Weinstein, who has run her company for more than three decades.

“Light is the most important thing. So, lots of candles and little lights. White Christmas lights can add a lot if strung all over or outside the windows. With candles, I’d get all different sizes shapes, holders, and more. West Elm and others like them have a good selection. When you light them all at once, it gives the place a very festive feeling.”

Noella Willis, residential designer for Winter Park, Florida-based Marc-Michaels Interior Design, Inc., suggests decorating with items that have a more rustic or older feel to them during the winter months.

“Old brass candlesticks give a nice seasonal flair, but can also work year-round,” said Willis. “Old antique candlesticks mixed with silver candlesticks create a great effect. Lanterns are a nice way to add to the motif as well. Lighting is a big way to add that aspect during the holidays.”

Wreaths Work Year Round

Previously known as a staple of the Christmas season, the wreath is a year-round way to add a seasonal flair to your entrance. That’s the advice of Chad Esslinger, founder and owner of Chad Esslinger Design, LLC operating in Downers Grove, Illinois.

“A seasonal wreath on the front door is a great way to welcome in the changing seasons,” said Esslinger. “Yellow or floral tones for spring and summer, then orange and red fall foliage in autumn. In the winter, go with evergreen.”

Colors are key. Avoiding the red and green associated with Christmas, and accenting the wreath with more seasonal flair, can provide a nice winter aesthetic whether on the door or as a centerpiece.

“As long as the wreath doesn’t have red berries it won’t have as much of a holiday feel,” said Weinstein. “Maybe some purple accent and you can adorn it with jewelry from your jewelry box to add to it.”

“I love going to a green house or picking the trimmings from Christmas trees and using greenery that will last through the years like lemon balm. When I get my tree every year, I like to use the branches from the tree in decorating. Keep it neutral, use more silver and gold than green and red. The metallic colors are hot right now,” added Willis.

Themes for 2017

When it comes specifically to this winter, 2017, Esslinger believes there are a few key elements to try to incorporate into your décor and arrangements. Those include:

  • Handmade details
  • Natural finishes
  • Rich colors
  • Bold patterns.

For Weinstein, the main three areas to focus on for 2017 are lights, flowers and baskets.

“Decorating with items – like rustic elements – that you can use all year round are big this year. We’re getting away from the Santas and the holiday themed decorations. There is more of rustic elements, metallics and things you would have on your table in March,” said Willis.