Decorating Tips & Tricks
Anita, Kelly and Yvonne— the co-hosts of the Decorating Tips and Tricks podcast—answer questions from listeners on how to create a dazzling holiday home.
Anita, Kelly and Yvonne—the co-hosts of the Decorating Tips and Tricks podcast— answer questions from listeners on how to create a dazzling holiday home.
Q Each year, I order a floral arrangement for my Christmas Eve dinner, and each year, I end up moving it off the table at the very moment everyone is seated for the meal. It is pretty, but just too big. I’d like to get advice on creating my own arrangement that will look beautiful on the table when it is not mealtime but can also remain on the table throughout the festive dinner.
I have the answer for you! Create an arrangement that is composed of three separate containers. Three containers of varying heights look festive and fabulous nestled together on your table when not in use. When it is time to sit down for a meal, simply separate the containers. Leave the smaller arrangement on the table. Move the mid-size one to a coffee or side table, and settle the tallest one on a buffet or place it in the kitchen or entry. Then, when the meal is over, bring all three together again on your dining room table for maximum impact. Once your table is set for dinner, you can extend the look of the smaller arrangement by sprinkling rose petals and laying greens the length of the table. As for creating the arrangements, you can definitely do this yourself and save money on an expensive floral shop arrangement. Start with a foundation of greens, add in your “wow” flowers, such as red roses, and then add in stems of berries. Hope this helps!
QI love decorating for Christmas. Every year, I start planning my decor months in advance. While I am always happy with my mantel and other touches, my tree always disappoints me. In my mind, it is full and sparkling. In reality, it looks sparse and kind of dull. We have a very nice artificial 9' tree. Can you give me some tips on how to decorate a tree like those I see in the magazines? I want to wow my family this year! —Bonnie, Delaware
A beautifully decorated tree is often the centerpiece of Christmas decorating. Just a few tips will make your tree magazine-worthy this year. First, make sure your tree is “fluffed” properly! Every single artificial branch should be straightened and arranged in a natural position on the tree. Fluffing creates a tall, full, majestic tree. Did you know most people don’t put enough lights on their tree? Even pre-lit trees could use a little bit more twinkle. A good rule of thumb is that for every foot of tree, you should use 100 light bulbs. Also, the lights should be woven from the inside of the tree to the outside as you string the lights from top to bottom. As for the ornaments, think about these three things: color, size and quantity. A Christmas tree’s color palette should be limited. Just like when decorating a room, too many colors look confusing; I like a three-color tree. Also keep in mind that a variety of ornament sizes makes a tree more interesting. You can group small ornaments together on one hook (be careful that it is sturdy), and they will have more visual weight. One year, I used a variety of different-size white paper lanterns on my tree. They were a showstopper! When decorating a tree, more is more. So use lots and lots of ornaments! Finish your tree with a pretty garland, branches on long picks or even extra real greens. Finally, add a tree topper and a swath of fabric for a tree skirt to finish off your display. Then, turn on those tree lights and enjoy a merry and beautiful Christmas!
QI am just remarried and we have combined households. This leaves me eight dining chairs with only three matching. I am hosting Christmas Eve dinner for all our adult children. There will be nine of us. I can come up with an extra seat but want a way to unify all the chairs so the dining room looks beautiful. Paint is not an option, as I don’t want the cottage look. I want it to look elegant until we can afford to get nice chairs that work together. —Natalie, Arizona
I love the look of mismatched chairs, so that is not a problem to have chairs that are not all the same. We use mismatched chairs in our breakfast room all year round, and I love the look! To give a festive appearance and a look of continuity, I love to give my chairs a bit of holiday cheer at Christmastime. You can do that several ways. One idea is to find some small pillows that work with your dining room chairs and then wrap them with shimmery holiday ribbon. I’ve used white furry pillows wrapped in beaded copper-colored ribbon. You can use a safety pin (concealed behind the ribbon) to keep the ribbon in place. Use pillows and ribbon that complement your holiday colors. The pillows and sparkly ribbon draw your eye in, so the focus is on the pillows and ribbon rather than the differing chair styles.
Another idea is to wrap ribbon around the backs of the chairs. Sometimes,
I use vintage rhinestone brooches to keep the ribbon in place. The other way I like to keep the ribbon in place is to use rhinestone buckles. They have a delightful sparkle and they shimmer in candlelight. Be sure to match the size of your buckles to the size of your ribbon. I found my buckles on Etsy. If I have any leftover ribbon, it’s great to continue the theme and use it other places in the dining room as well, such as bows for my antique bottles on the sideboard.