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Lise Richards : Mastering the Creative Art of Holiday Decor

Mastering the Creative Art of Holiday Decor

By Lise Richards

It seems like it starts earlier every year. The holiday season appears, marked by special edition magazines on newsstands, brimming with ideas for new holiday decorations. Breathtaking interior design photos illustrating holiday decor from the White House, to your neighbor's house, accompany these ideas. It can make you feel a bit overwhelmed; especially if you're brand new to designing your home for the holidays or if you want to make changes to bring new life to your home and you're not quite sure where to start. Here are some tips you may not have thought of to help you add more sparkling pizzazz and a touch of creativity to your holiday decor.

Inspired Color Schemes

A fabulous way to make a change to your holiday decor is by being imaginative with your color selections. Although I have a good set of holiday basics, each year I add a bit more to my collection of ornaments by incorporating a new color. So in future years, I am able to combine different elements together to create a new look. Every year I change the focus of color on my tree. Last year I tried non-traditional shades of celadon green and cream. It was unexpected and the colors were just gorgeous together. Adding to my collection allows me to increase the number of trees I decorate this year. Although I have one focal point tree, I love the idea of having a tree in the foyer, and in the dining room as well. I won't stop at trees either; I change the color of table settings, holiday ribbons, wreath picks and lights.

Tablescapes for Holiday Entertaining

A tablescape is a planned design for your table using various elements that make a unique statement. Tablescapes are fun to plan and are uniquely suited to your holiday table. Most often the table is set in preparation for a meal. However, you can certainly leave the table decorated all season long. Combine the color used throughout the house in your napkins, tablecloth, placemats and centerpieces. To create an inexpensive and eye-catching centerpiece layer fruit over greenery snipped from your back yard. Or taking a cue from my celadon green and cream color scheme I talked about earlier, use a fresh green apple to hold the place setting cards. At parties I have attended, I taken home place cards and menus which have been hand-beaded, stenciled, painted, and hand-lettered using calligraphy. These cards are a wonderful way to show off your creativity.

Being Creative Without the Pressure

The primary reason I love the holiday season is because I get to spend more time with family and friends than I normally do throughout the year. I really think this is the best part of it all. I believe that decorating my home encourages togetherness and helps create new traditions, and special memories for all that pass through my door. With so many things to prepare for the weeks seem to fly by a little faster than normal at this time of the year. One way to simplify my life and make a bit more time for myself is by hiring an interior designer or decorator who specializes in holiday decor. I have found that interior designers can do as little or as much as you need them to do. Another great thing is that they offer a change of perspective that you may not have thought of. So if you enjoy taking part in the decorating of your home like I do, but feel as though it may be too much work, hiring a designer can help ease the holiday pressure and make your home beautiful. Be sure to book early though, good designers are quite busy around the holidays too.

Holiday Art Details

Did you know that your artwork could definitely be at odds with the rest of your holiday decor? This happens when summer art subjects or more abstract art is paired with holiday decorations. Surprisingly, it is an often-overlooked element when planning a change for the holidays. Your artwork should reflect who you are, your feelings and moods, and when you're in the mood to celebrate or appreciate time with your family, make sure that you think about how to change your artwork. It is ok to change your artwork around. A change to your foyer or mantle during the holidays will make a dramatic impact, without much cost. Removing or rotating art throughout your home at other times of the year creates new interest. Art is also available for short-term lease so the cost to you is kept to a minimum.


After the enjoyable dinners and visits from friends and family, it's easy to feel stressed by the mere thought of having to remove your decorations and put them away for another year. The key to making this a painless process, is through careful planning and organization. You may not have started last year, but it's never to late to plan for storage of your decorations safely and effectively. Choose clear and sturdy plastic boxes to store your light strings, ornaments, small wreaths and tableware. Wreath boxes are created especially for wreath storage but be warned that cardboard boxes may become damaged throughout the year depending on the storage conditions they encounter. Best to keep all holiday decorations in a temperature controlled area away from intense heat, cold or water. Wreaths can also be wrapped in plastic and hung in your garage, attic or basement. Finally be sure to label all the boxes on at least three sides so that no matter which way you place the box you can always see what is inside.

Best wishes to you as you plan your creative holiday decor! •

© Lise Richards 2004. All rights reserved.

Lise RichardsAs a lifestyle & creative arts designer, Lise Richards' mission is to help people live more creatively in artistically designed spaces. More »