Deck The Halls ...And The Rest Of The House, Too
Interior Designers Offer Tips For Great Holidays Décor
Photo courtesy of Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Holiday Housewalk & Market
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for anyone who loves transforming his or her home for the holidays. Whether you like to use the same decorations or collections every year or you like to change things up a little or a lot, here’s a look at the latest holiday trends from those in the know.
Ready-to-wear and runway looks often inspire home fashion. For example, the plaid that’s popping up on everything from dishes to doormats was first popular on skirts and sweaters. Christmas plaid is a traditional holiday favorite, but some of the more contemporary plaids that incorporate neutrals like black and tan will be showing up on ribbons and ornaments this year.
"Plaid is traditionally a beautiful pattern that can be used alone or combined easily with other prints for a more designer look,” says Jennifer Sterna, general manager at Linly Designs, an interior design firm with locations in Clarendon Hills, Highland Park and Chicago. “This year, the fall runway saw plaid make a huge comeback in fashion so we are seeing more in fabrics, ribbons and textiles for interiors as well.”
In the home design space, mixing metallics is a big trend, and that carries over to holiday decorating. “It’s popular to mix all metals, like you would do with jewelry,” says Leigh Bratta, designer and owner of Nona Jo’s, a home décor store in Naperville. “We show a metal color in every tree we do.”
Gold is enjoying a revival, but brass, copper, bronze, silver and pewter are also part of the story. “Gold is coming back — not the bright brassy gold or antique gold, but a softer brushed gold,” observes Janeen O’Brien, owner of Janeen Home Décor in Geneva, which specializes in holiday decorating. The company decorates more than 40 area homes every year, beginning in early November.
In addition to fashion-inspired decor, another popular look this year is “frosted,” which can go several ways. Paired with cool metallics, flocked or glittered florals, and rich colors like navy and turquoise blue, it can take on an elegant feel. Or, it can be used to set a more casual tone with a snow-dusted woodlands theme featuring furry or feathery animals like foxes, bears, owls, plus frosty pinecones, glistening greens and a touch of burlap or raffia.
This can be matched with traditional motifs, like snowmen, which are popular in vintage and whimsical iterations. “People like the longevity of this theme,” says Bratta.
A trend on the horizon offers a new look at Victoriana. Inspired by Downton Abbey, it features silver, purple and pink, says interior designer Julea Joseph, owner of Reinventing Space. “It’s a throwback to pre-industrial times, and I think people are looking to the past to balance the fast-paced world of today’s technology.”
That also might explain why homey elements, like mason jars, chalkboards, burlap, etc. continue to be popular. Sterna has noted more gray hues and a natural aesthetic for current holiday decorating trends. “Think weathered wood, natural elements like burlap and linen, and an overarching nostalgic tone,” she says.
Homespun also feeds into garden and woodland looks, where you might see a faux fur tree skirt or a snowman in a rattan hat. O’Brien says her shop is stocking lots of birch items, from thick slices to use on tabletops to ribbonlike strips of bark for trimming trees.
Whatever theme you choose, select one that meshes with the style of your home, advises Sterna. “If your home is Old-World, you may love a more neutral color palette, and if your home is contemporary and trendy, grays and silvers might be a better fit.”
While some might advise sticking with a single overarching theme, others say you can let the nature of the space dictate the theme. “You might want something dressy in the dining room, but a little more whimsical in the family room or kitchen,” suggests Terry Pavesich of Max Logan’s Home Accents in Downers Grove.
Color is key in holiday décor. The traditional pairing of red and green features complementary colors, or those which fall across from each other on the color wheel. Joseph says a new trend is to incorporate analogous pairings for the holidays, using colors that sit beside each other on the color wheel, such as red and purple or blue and green.
Red — whether its traditional Christmas red, berry, burgundy or fuchsia — is often a starting point for a holiday color palette and can set the tone for the decorating style.
When it comes to green, there are just as many variations. Pavesich says that Max Logan’s customers seem to prefer soft lime greens to darker pine or emerald hues.
At Linly Designs, nontraditional color pairings are big. “We like to go for the unexpected with neutral tones of gold, brown and black,” says Sterna.
One neutral tone that’s great for transitioning to a new softer palette is champagne, says O’Brien. “You can remove all the reds and replace with champagne — it looks great with silvers and golds as well as the blues and greens.”
Bratta also favors champagne, along with gold and berry, as well as natural colors. Making a color shift can be as simple as swapping out some ornaments and adding fresh ribbons and bows to garlands, trees, and floral arrangements.
Every Nook and Cranny
If you need a little Christmas in every room, start with accessories that have good bones and offer flexibility, like hurricane vases, cake plates and cloches. These allow for easy adjustments to suit every season or holiday.
When you are looking to purchase new pieces, Sterna recommends items that can work in multiple areas, such as a cocktail table floral arrangement that may also look wonderful on a kitchen island or candlesticks that could grace a tabletop as well as a mantel. “This allows for greater flexibility when decorating your home each year and keeps your pieces looking fresh and new,” she says.
Like many designers, Sterna suggests starting your holiday decorating with the foyer. “It’s the very first space that you and your guests see when arriving to your home, so be sure it really makes a statement.”
O’Brien takes it a step further—“Start with your front door,” she says. “It’s your first impression, so make that front entrance a wow.”
She also encourages paying special attention to the mantel, without removing all your everyday décor, but simply enhancing
it with greenery, ribbon and mini LED holiday lights.
Most in the business caution homeowners to resist the temptation to put out every single holiday item they own. “Concentrate on the focal space — it’s not necessary to decorate every surface,” says Bratta.
One place where you can go overboard is the tree. According to Bratta, the keys to a knock-out tree are multiple ribbons, several textural elements, such as naturals like birch, feathers or grapevine, and a statement piece — like a top hat or a large finial — as a tree topper.
Many people choose multiple trees, incorporating all shapes and sizes and a mix of fresh and faux. While there’s nothing like live greenery, some of the faux stuff is top-notch. A popular trick is to mix in a little live foliage to make the fake look even more realistic.
Use It or Lose It
Joseph specializes in working with clients to incorporate pieces they already own, which translates especially well to holiday decorating. “It’s usually being creative; looking at what they have in a new way or running out and getting a couple of new things to add to the mix,” she says. “My philosophy is don’t put it back where it was last year!”
Start by hauling out your holiday boxes, then unpack and separate items by theme, material or color. From there, it’s easier to make small changes with big impact. For example, you might weed out the red, keeping the green and gold and adding in a new accent color.
Sometimes you need to move on to something completely new, even if it can be hard to let go of some holiday has-beens. “Sometimes you need a fresh start,” says O’Brien, noting that new furniture or room remodeling often prompts a desire for an updated holiday look.
For inspiration, browse popular home décor catalogs or visit stores that are known for their holiday decorating. Early December is a popular time for house walks throughout the suburbs (see Get Great Decorating Ideas on page 54), where you can see fabulous homes trimmed top to bottom by local florists, retailers and designers.
Get Great Decorating Ideas At These Area Holiday Housewalks
Naperville Garden Club’s 55th Annual Cup of Cheer Holiday Housewalk, Market & Tea
Tour four Naperville-area homes decorated in their holiday best and visit and shop at a special Holiday Market filled with distinctive home décor items and gifts. Also receive a commemorative china cup and saucer, and relax with a cup of coffee or tea and homemade cookies.
Preview day is Thursday, Dec. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., for which there are a limited number of tickets at $55 each.
The regular tour day is Friday Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the cost is $35.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.napervillegardenclub.org or at various Naperville stores.
Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society Holiday Housewalk & Market
Tour six gorgeous homes decorated for the holidays, shop at an artisan market for unique gifts, and enjoy carolers, delicious food and fun with friends on Friday, Dec. 4 and Saturday, Dec. 5 at the 17th Annual Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society Holiday Housewalk and Market. And in keeping with the spirit of the season, all proceeds will benefit the IWS Children’s Clinic, which provides medical, dental and counseling to over 3,300 children whose families cannot afford the costs of private care.
The tours of the Holiday Housewalk homes will be held on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.
The Holiday Market, which will be held at The Nineteenth Century Club in Oak Park, will feature more than 40 juried artisan vendors.
Tickets for the housewalk and market are $45 in advance, $50 at the door or $35 for senior citizens.
Advance purchase tickets are available online at www.childrenscliniciws.org. For more information, call 708-848-0528, ext. 231.
Geneva Holiday House Tour
Enjoy the charm and beauty of Geneva at Christmas at the annual Christmas House Tour sponsored by the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.
Five homes, each with their own distinctive character and decked out in their holiday best by local decorators and designers, will be open for self-guided tours on Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets, which include a holiday tea, are available for $30 and can be purchased at the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, 8 S. 3rd St., at several Geneva stores, or can be ordered by phone at 630 232-6060.
Proceeds are used to decorate Geneva for the holiday season.