Decorating Ideas

How to Take Your Home from Everyday to Holiday

How to Take Your Home from Everyday to Holiday
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December’s here and it’s high time to deck the halls. Whether you’re the hostess with the mostest or a humble homebody, life is infinitely better with twinkling lights, festive garlands, and wreaths hung wherever they will go. And creating your very own winter wonderland doesn’t have to be a difficult task. To help guide you through the process, we enlisted the help of one of our in-house experts, Eileen Behnke, who worked with our president, Debbie Propst, to transform her home from its everyday state to the happy holiday retreat you see here. Read on for her tips and tricks and get inspired to transform your own space for the season.

In the foyer, a traditional evergreen garland goes whimsical with a mix of fresh foliage and woodland-inspired trimmings.

In the foyer, a traditional evergreen garland goes whimsical with a mix of fresh foliage and woodland-inspired trimmings.

Stylish pearl tassels complement Otomi-inspired stockings on the family room mantel.

Stylish pearl tassels complement Otomi-inspired stockings on the family room mantel.

Think About Your Theme

“We wanted it to feel traditional but with an ease to it,” says Eileen of the house’s holiday scheme. “This is definitely a family home, so we didn’t want it to feel stuffy—there needed to be a sense of whimsy.”

To pull off this tradition-meets-whimsy vibe, Eileen started with classic holiday decor and layered on fanciful details inspired by the surrounding countryside—think woodland creatures nestled among lush flora and fauna. On the mantels, pearl tassel ornaments and red cardinal accents liven up classic evergreen garlands. On the stairs, painted butterflies were pinned to appear as if flying up the banister.

Greenery on the mantels was accented with touches like pearl tassels and red cardinals, while painted butterflies were pinned to appear as if flying up the entry’s stairs. It’s a whimsy inspired by the surrounding countryside—woodland creatures nestled among the flora and fauna.

Eileen accented the dining room’s blue-and-white scheme with pewter, not silver, for an elegant yet approachable look. “The matte finish of pewter makes the setup feel a little more modern and laid-back,” she says.

Eileen accented the dining room’s blue-and-white scheme with pewter, not silver, for an elegant yet approachable look. “The matte finish of pewter makes the setup feel a little more modern and laid-back,” she says.

A kitchen corner gets merry with a miniature beaded-fruit tree and matching wreath—both selected to tie into the red, green, and gold scheme.

A kitchen corner gets merry with a miniature beaded-fruit tree and matching wreath—both selected to tie into the red, green, and gold scheme.

Consider Color

When choosing holiday decor, there’s no need to stick to a single color scheme throughout your whole home. For Debbie’s house, Eileen kept the theme of the decorations consistent but developed two distinct color palettes, filling rooms at the front with all things blue, silver, and white, and spaces in the back with a fresh take on signature red and green. “I wanted a variety of shades that worked with the home’s existing subtle palette,” says Eileen, who believes that your holiday style should reflect how you live at any other time of year—just with a bit more magic.

A delightful surprise on Christmas morn: Each of the breakfast table’s place settings hosts a Rudolph-shape cracker.

A delightful surprise on Christmas morn: Each of the breakfast table’s place settings hosts a Rudolph-shape cracker.

Tones of red and gold warm up the kitchen and balance out the cooler hues found in the home’s front rooms. 
 

Tones of red and gold warm up the kitchen and balance out the cooler hues found in the home’s front rooms.

 

Lay a Transitional Setting

For Debbie’s holiday table settings, Eileen mixed seasonal accents with pieces Debbie and her family use year-round. On the breakfast table, she paired plates emblazoned with pheasant feathers from Juliska’s Harvest Collection with festive red glassware and gold flatware. “You can use the plates for Thanksgiving and Christmas but use everything else throughout the year,” says Eileen.

The family room tree twinkles with white lights and ornaments of every shape and size.

The family room tree twinkles with white lights and ornaments of every shape and size.

A red cardinal perches between red berries and a magnolia branch in this charming woodland vignette.

A red cardinal perches between red berries and a magnolia branch in this charming woodland vignette.

Rethink Your Garland

Greenery is a seasonal staple in many homes—but there’s much more to it than just Douglas fir. Eileen suggests combining a few varieties: In the entry, she added faux eucalyptus to a mix of spruce, juniper, and fir to create a garland that felt “more wild and fun,” while in the family room (part of the red-and-green scheme), she tucked a few magnolia leaves in with the evergreens.

Eileen also suggests investing in a few faux pieces to have as part of your holiday arsenal year after year. Faux berries and sprigs of greenery in silver and gold are an easy way to dress up a basic garland or wreath.

A bowl of cloved oranges adds a bright note to the dining room, otherwise trimmed in cool blues and greens to match the existing decor.

A bowl of cloved oranges adds a bright note to the dining room, otherwise trimmed in cool blues and greens to match the existing decor.

Don’t Forget the Details

The tree is up, the table’s set, and the stockings are hung. Now it’s time to consider the details that make all the difference. Things like cloved oranges, which are a favorite of both Debbie and Eileen, were placed in bowls and oversize glass canisters throughout the house for a pop of color—and that impossible-to-resist citrus aroma. “I love the idea of bold bowls of fruit everywhere during the holidays,” says Eileen.  “It’s such a visually impactful but easy trick.”

She used a similar approach to bring a festive feel to the home’s front door, filling an outdoor lantern with glimmering ornaments that spoke to the color scheme both inside and out.

Moments of magic—like a colander filled with glass fruit ornaments in the kitchen—help carry the holiday spirit through to every corner of the home.

Moments of magic—like a colander filled with glass fruit ornaments in the kitchen—help carry the holiday spirit through to every corner of the home.

A bow-bedecked wreath and an outdoor lantern filled with ornaments set a festive tone for guests’ arrival.

A bow-bedecked wreath and an outdoor lantern filled with ornaments set a festive tone for guests’ arrival.

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