by KELSEY CIPOLLA | photos courtesy of SIDELINES CUSTOM FLORAL DESIGNS
Karyn Brooke, founder of Sidelines Custom Floral Designs, has one simple piece of advice for decorating your home for the holidays.
“When you walk in, it should make you happy,” she says. Of course, that’s a good guiding principle when it comes to choosing your décor any time of year, but it feels especially appropriate during a season filled with so many memories and traditions.
DECKING THE HALLS
The florist and design pro, who decorates both residential and commercial spaces for the holidays, says some of the clients she works with are starting from scratch, while others may have favorite pieces they want to incorporate into their festive décor. Regardless of where you’re beginning the decorating process, keep basic design principles in mind, she advises. The style of your home can help you determine the aesthetic that will work best, and pay attention to your physical space – high ceilings call for a bigger Christmas tree, for instance. Your decorations may also depend on your household.
“If you have a house with little kids, you’re going to want bright colors and fun things and snowmen; those things they just love to look at,” Brooke says. For couples who find themselves with an empty nest for the first time, a more refined look might be called for.
Aim to highlight pieces you love, whether they’re family treasures or new finds, and don’t feel constrained by a traditional holiday color palette. Consider playing off colors present in your everyday décor for an unexpected look that works with your existing pieces, she says. Homes decorated in more neutral tones can serve as the perfect backdrop for punchier colors, or stay in line with your home’s aesthetic and opt for elegant all-white decorations or white and silver items. Gold has also made a major comeback in the last few years.
Brooke says garland lights are gaining popularity, too. The strands, which consist of many tiny lights bundled together, provide major visual impact and can be used inside or out, Brooke notes.
GO GREEN AND TAKE IT EASY
“I love the incorporation of real holiday plants in with artificial because the vast majority of people don’t do fresh trees,” Brooke says. “Arrangements of fresh-cut greens get that fragrance throughout the house, which is awesome, and that can be something that you do a week or two before Christmas.”
Blooming amaryllis is a favorite for the season, along with paperwhite narcissus and poinsettias, which are now being grown in unusual colors, she adds.
Since the most wonderful time of the year often ends up being the most hectic time of the year for many of us, plants or small touches like simple garlands or decorative bundles on nightstand tables can serve as a fun change to your day-to-day style without requiring much effort, Brooke says. And don’t underestimate the power of introducing a seasonal fragrance, be it through scented candles or potpourri.
Decorating for the winter season rather than the holidays can also help save time and prevent stress. Brooke notes taking a more general approach and adding accents like trendy blue and white jars and snow-covered branches provide a fresh look with a longer life – so you can enjoy the New Year rather than worrying about taking down nowout- of-season items.
Perhaps the most significant way to quickly add a dose of holiday cheer is to focus on your tree, whether it’s a table-top model or a creatively decorated artificial tree.
“You can take a plain green tree and fill it with Christmas lights, you can put some fake snow on the branches, you can add snowball arrangements, you can add silver, you can add crystal, you can add any of those things and it would be very simple and change a room,” Brooke says.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
In her own home, Brooke says each room has its own personality for the holidays. The dining room is more vintage while her living room has a Western feel because of its year-round décor. The spaces are tied together with ornaments.
“I like glass ornaments – the more color, the more detail, the older they are, the more they make me happy,” she says. Her tree is gold wire and adorned with treasured ornaments passed down from her mother.
Brooke’s collection of vintage reindeer also has sentimental roots. Every year, her father would buy her mother a centerpiece decorated with the red velvet reindeers with silver glitter antlers and noses from a flower shop on Troost Avenue, and Brooke’s mother saved many of them over the years.
“It just reminds me of my dad coming home and making my mom so happy with a Christmas centerpiece,” she says.
Incorporating those cherished items can be what makes a house feel like home during the holidays, and there’s always a way to tie them into your décor, she says, whether it’s by surrounding them with greenery or grouping several items together with glass balls and other seasonal accents.
“Everybody’s Christmas is so different, and the options are just endless,” Brooke says. “I think that’s the fun.”