Home & Garden

Easy Decor for a Relaxing Holiday Season


By Janet Armstrong, Accredited Interior Designer, CAPS

As we head into the holiday season, life seems suddenly to be filled with an endless To Do list, from shopping, wrapping and cooking to baking and, of course, decorating. I don’t know about you, but over the years my style has evolved and I now take a simpler approach to holiday decor. In doing so, I have realized that seasonal décor does not have to be elaborate to be beautiful and that simple décor is equally as lovely and much less stressful to pull together. To save you time and energy, I am sharing some ideas to help you make your home cheerful and festive this holiday season.

Evergreen or bottle brush trees and favourite ornaments are perfect for adding to a shelf, bookcase or vignette. Photo: Simply Swank Decor

Consider the use of neutral colours for seasonal décor. The benefit of neutral colours is the seamless coordination with the existing colours in your spaces. Neutral colours with warm undertones will ensure comfort and warmth and will take your decor beyond the festive season and into the new year without looking too dated.

Greenery and branches add a natural, earthy feel and ground your spaces to keep them informal and relaxing. Garlands of evergreen boughs with pine cones perfectly highlight a fireplace mantel, door frame or a dining table and winding ribbon through the boughs is a simple addition that adds a layer of texture and colour.

Branches are an easy but elegant way to enhance your holiday decor. The beauty of branches is that they can be used in any room in your home and displayed in a variety of containers. Dogwood and berry branches bring additional colour and texture to enliven your display and layering in branches of greenery for colour adds depth to the display. Small faux evergreen or bottle brush trees or favourite ornaments are perfect for tucking in amongst décor accessories on a shelf, displaying on a bookcase or including in an existing vignette for some festive flair.

Photo: Simply Swank Decor

As the temperatures drop heading into the festive season, be sure to include throws for instant warmth and comfort in your rooms. Throws in white, cream, taupe and beige work well with any colour palette and can be used well into the new year. Faux fur, thick wool and boucle fabrics add beautiful texture and are perfect for curling up with a book and cup of your favourite beverage. Keeping a basket of rolled-up blankets handy is not only convenient, but also a holiday touch in and of itself.

Of course, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without candles. They are the powerhouse of festive décor and can be used throughout your home. Used alone or in a grouping, the warm glow of candlelight is a must-have in your seasonal décor. Candles can enhance your mantel display, dining table or kitchen island centrepiece, while tealights are ideal for a small vignette. Twinkle lights are also staples of festive décor and can be easily woven in among greenery. They’re perfect for accenting a centrepiece, mixing into a bowl of ornaments or framing the inside of your windows.

While we don’t typically consider wrapped parcels part of holiday décor, they should be considered. Whatever your colour scheme, use gift bags or wrapping paper in a colour that coordinates with your chosen palette. Alternatively, parcels bagged or wrapped in plain brown ‘craft’ paper can be adorned with jute ribbon or twine and a small piece of greenery for a simple display that works well in every décor.

Natural elements ground your spaces and add texture and colour. Photo: Simply Swank Décor

As you consider how to decorate your home this holiday season, I hope you find inspiration in the ideas I have shared. Remember that small touches can be elegant in their simplicity and make every room in your home festive. As you begin decorating, remember that less is more. Edit out anything that doesn’t enhance the ambiance you want to achieve or that makes your space appear too busy.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season and blessed and peaceful 2024.

Janet Armstrong (www.simplyswankdecor.ca) is a graduate of the Interior Design Institute of Canada, CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) and past chair of the Decorators and Designers Association of Canada (DDA Canada).