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4 Elements of Styling a Home for the Holidays

I can hear you screaming, “holidays,” it’s not even September yet! Hear me out. There are certain parts of the year where it’s natural to begin to prepare for other times of the year. Now is the time to think about what you’ll be doing for the holidays, who you’ll be hosting and what is missing from your décor arsenal. To that end, you should be considering fundamental aspects of styling a home for the holidays, such as scale, flow, focus and organization. 


Would you cram a 9-foot Christmas tree into a room with 8-foot ceilings? Of course not. You would consider the scale, or the size of the tree and how it compares to the room and other objects in the room. I coach clients who have moved into a larger or smaller home that what may have worked in their past house, may not be right for their new space. If this is you, evaluate your holiday décor with a keen eye. Tall ceilings and oversized furniture call for larger trees. An entry may need bigger scale items, but fewer of them. Review what you may be missing so when you hit the festivals and boutiques this fall, you’ll be able to hone in on the pieces that will scale to your space. And shopping is always more fun with an agenda! 


I love applying the principle of flow to holiday decorating. Flow is how the elements and objects in a room visually connect to each other. Flow could be represented in a color, pattern, or object. A woven rug connects to a hyacinth basket which connects to a jute pouf. Flow also shows up in repetition, as in a collection of several types of Christmas trees or mercury glass holiday objects sprinkled within a space. Think about how what you see in a room connects. If something feels off, find a different spot, or donate it! 


This is where your gaze lands when you walk into a room. It’s the first thing you see, and it grabs your attention. Knowing what the focus piece is in each room, you should work to include it with your holiday décor, or remove it so something else can take center stage. A light fixture stays in place of course, but perhaps you adorn it so it stays the feature element. Holiday décor should rarely be an addition to your everyday décor – it should replace it in most cases. That’s what those organizing bins are for…pack up the photos, pillows, and trinkets to make room for those holiday items that have limited display time! 


Decorating for the holidays can be a daunting task. Undecorating is even more tiresome. One option is to hire a professional, but should you choose to take it on, come prepared to organize! I recommend having labeled bin(s) for each room. That way, when you begin decorating, you can choose to do a room at a time, or quickly get everything in the right place. Labeled bins are great for packing up all the non-holiday décor, and easily returning them home post-season. I encourage my clients to review décor with a critical eye each year – and if there are items you don’t display, don’t love and/or don’t have the right space for anymore, send them on their way. 

The holidays are a time to experiment with your home. Rearrange, reconsider and revamp! Use the occasion to try something new, or new to you. Let go of items that no longer fit your aesthetic. Try focusing on 1-3 spaces vs. the whole house. Finally, just relax. You can always move things around or return them. Remember the “why” you are styling your home for the holidays and enjoy the season with family and friends! 

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