Simple and Sweet
HOLIDAY DÉCOR TIPS FROM DESIGNER MICHELLE SHEN.
Discover how to give your period home classic holiday ambience with décor tips from designer Michelle Shen.
O ftentimes, opulence is synonymous with overabundance, but that doesn’t have to be the case for your Christmas décor. You can achieve a classic, holiday look with a few simple additions and take some of the stress out of preparing your home for the season at the same time. Michelle Shen of AM Dolce Vita Design shares some of her tips to keeping her home sophisticated, welcoming and festive during the holiday season.
THE COLOR PALETTE
The color palette you choose will set the foundation, and Michelle’s black and white base with gold accents promotes a clean and elegant ambience throughout her home. It also prevents her from having to switch out all her existing décor, because her holiday palette complements the existing one. “Black and white works with our living room’s overall neutral color palette and eclectic style,” says Michelle. “It also reflects my pursuit of hygge: simplistic, nothing superfluous, with no frills or anything over the top.”
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t stray from the palette you’ve chosen. “Matchy-matchy is the last thing I would recommend when it comes to styling your Christmas décor,” says Michelle. “Have a grounding color palette and branch out from there.” Go with the classic red and green, or experiment with other color combinations to bring peace and holiday cheer to your home. Once you’ve chosen your color palette, you can focus on other areas of the home that could use some holiday magic. THE TREE
The first thing to determine about your main tree is placement. You can consider where your family spends their time the most, where it will be most easily seen or, more
simply, where you have the space for it. “There is no rule when it comes to which room the main Christmas tree should be placed in,” says Michelle.
The foyer, for example, is a prime spot to place a tree if you want to make a statement as guests are coming through the door, but the living room may be better if you want a larger tree in a cozy spot near the fireplace.
Next come the decorations, which can include lights, garlands and ornaments. Michelle likes to start with lights and a textured, but modest garland for a layering effect. “While a garland helps define a tree’s silhouette, it shouldn’t be the focal point of your tree,” she says. Her ornaments reflect the room’s color palette to keep things cohesive and neutral, but the varying shapes, sizes and textures attract the eye.
Rather than adding more décor around your tree, use what’s already going to be there as part of the display, such as presents. Use wrapping paper with a similar color palette and add touches of greenery, small ornaments or let the paper speak for itself. Not every package needs to have frills.
Other than your tree, your fireplace mantel is one of the main focal points in your living room. If you prefer to make your tree the focus of the space, keep the mantel décor to a minimum, using only a few special pieces to bring in the Christmas spirit. “Greenery, a touch of that year’s color palette, and a few of my favorite décor accessories are the key elements I used year after year for my mantel,” says Michelle. If you want an understated tree that flows with your space, keep the ornaments within the same color palette. Michelle continued her black and white color scheme with the ornaments on her living room tree, using their varying shapes and patterns to provide interest.