'Tis the Season to Gather & Entertain: Decorating Tips from an Expert - Part 2

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Elements of Style - More from Marc Durivage, our Design Expert

Now that you have some of the simple basics nailed for Holiday Decor, let's move onto applying them to your design style. Everyone is different.
Some adhere more rigorously to a certain style while others enjoy breaking
rules. The important thing is that you’re happy with the results. We'll keep the discussion to these most common design style categories:


The key to pulling off traditional decor is keeping it simple and precise. Your
classic color palettes of cream, ecru, off-white and beige are a great base.
Throw in touches of black to ground it. Add some greenery such as garlands,
flowers, topiaries (my personal fav), a touch of silver (perhaps an heirloom
bowl), and a dash of plaid. A simple, elegant candle works best in this setting.
The key is to remember that the decor elements are low-key and our scented
candle choice is the star, imprinting a fragrance that will be tied to beautiful
memories. If you want to update this style, throw in a small abstract print or
painting in your vignettes. After all, no one does head-to-toe Chanel anymore.
You gotta mix it up with combat boots. ;) Unexpected mixes create lasting


It’s been all the rage of late, and it’s still going strong. If you’re leaning more towards this type of style, casual and down-to- earth, then I’d suggest a palette of beige, or warm greys with some sage, laurel, and magnolia leaves. Keep your organic and geometric patterns simple. Stay away from colors that are too strong as this whole vibe is about nature and it’s gradations. Straw, robin’s egg, or cedar are interesting color choices if you want to inject more punch. Boxwood is a personal favorite, so hang some boughs mixed with branches, pine cones, and some beautiful rough linen to complete the look.


You’re very busy. Almost too busy. You don’t have time for clutter. Everything is in its place. Boughs of holly ain’t your thing. You want your holiday decor to be as streamlined as a Tesla. The solution is concentrated vignettes calculated carefully throughout your space. Maybe instead of a tree, you have a light sculpture. Flowers? Keep a select few bouquets in sculptural vases. A selection of art books, some marble obelisks, chrome orbs, and Japanese lacquer boxes on your
coffee table. Artfully arranged silver, gold or bronze ribbons will bring texture
and warmth. And of course, a statement candle with a rich scent.


Texture is key in creating successful interest in this decor. Curtains, pillows, and throws made of wool, cashmere or faux fur will bring softness to your space and make it more tactile. Plush rugs will add lavishness while natural fiber ones will give a more modern spin to the holidays. Together, these elements will balance out the hard aspects of your room, such as furniture edges and the architectural backdrop. Fiddle-leaf fig or rubber leaf trees can be a great alternative to traditional Christmas trees (I’m looking at you, Modern Girls!). Natural materials layer a room so well. Woven baskets, chunky wood platters and vases will act as foils to the visual weight of your furniture.

Btw, if you're design style combines one or more of these, that makes you Eclectic which is a category all of it's own...more tricky, but nonetheless, applying the same principles works.

There you have it. Some simple guidance to get you through the holidays
unscathed and (hopefully) not too frazzled. Ho-ho-how easy was that?!?! I knew
you could do it. Just remember the three Fs (focus, format and fun) and you will
do great! Don’t be afraid to experiment. Design is about enjoying the process as
much as it is savoring the results. Now get busy and make me proud!

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