Deck the Halls: 12 Tips for Holiday Style

by Lisa, December 13, 2018

Last week we were honored to participate in a holiday event to raise funds for the Arlington Free Clinic.  We joined with fashion, entertaining and gifting experts to give our advice for effortless holiday style.   If you have not yet decked your halls, here are our 12 tips for a stylish holiday:

1. Update Your Color Scheme

Pair traditional Christmas colors with modern furnishings and art.  Red and evergreen have a more current feel with bright white lighting, chic furnishings and impactful art as a backdrop.

But don’t limit yourself to red and green.  Your favorite colors and patterns can look fabulous at Christmas.
new color scheme


Want to try a trending color without committing yourself to all the Christmases in the future?  Stick with a base in your holiday collection like silver or gold, and mix in a box or two of ornaments in new colors every few years.  It’s a simple way to keep things fresh and current, just like you might update couch pillows for a new look each season.

2.  Master the Mantle

8 tips for a great mantle: 1) Pick one or two colors for a cohesive look; 2) group similar items together; 3) mix materials and textures; 4) try something organic; 5) layer your heights — consider hanging some decor on the wall or going off center/asymmetrical; 6)  arrange items high to low; 7) try something unexpected (like rainbow trees); and 8) remember to add personal touches.
Colorful mantle

@westelmchicago on Instagram

3. Think Outside the Boxwood

Try textures and materials beyond the usual evergreen for your holiday front door.

Spoons Wreath

@holidayhousedesigns on Instagram

diy design milk wreath

DIY via Design Milk

4. Don’t Skirt the Issue

Woven baskets, galvanized metal tree collars or even a grouping of firewood add texture and material mixes beneath your Christmas tree and are a more modern option to the traditional skirt.  Still committed to the fabric base?   Try wrapping your tree holder with a designer fabric that matches your room decor or a fur throw to add a cozy winter vibe.

chrismas tree with woven base

@my.burleigh.reno on Instagram

5. Layer on the Moments

Holiday vignettes bring magical moments to your décor.  Add lighting, ornaments and natural elements in front of art, on a sideboard or even in a butler’s pantry to spread the holiday magic beyond the living room.

6. Modernize Your Heirlooms

Everybody has some hand-me-down holiday decor that may not fit with their current style.  Take something old looking and make it new. Your grandmother’s ornaments get a fresh take if displayed in cookie jars, earthy wooden bowls or even as toppers to candle sticks.

trees in cookie jar edited


Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 12.25.47 PM


Other tricks to try:  Layer a modern wreath over an antique piece of furniture or art.  Use lucite display boxes to add a modern twist to your traditional nutcracker collection.

7. Warm Up with Accessories

Pillows with fur or sparkle, wool scarves and textural throws add warm and inviting vibes and are also easy to switch up for the season.

8. Deliver Holiday Surprises

The unexpected decorative element always delivers impact.


The upside down tree trend might be a bit daunting for most of us, but try upending a tiny tree and hanging it from the ceiling like a pendant.  Then decorate it with string lights for a holiday chandelier.  Source.


Learn how to make a Christmas tree out of plumbing pipe.

9. Remember the Guest Room

They came over the river and through the woods so give your guests some fresh flowers, greenery or even their own mini Christmas tree to welcome them to their room.  Layer on the cozy bedding & throws and pay attention to the little details:  a guide to use of the TV/WiFi; a framed photo of them or an album from a trip you took together; writing and reading materials; toiletry samples; a basket of gift wrap for last minute prep.  Don’t forget to add water, snacks and maybe even a little gift just for them.

10. Personalize Your Hostess Gifts

Personalized hostess gifts are more memorable.  Make that personalization seem effortless:  wrap a cook’s journal in a dish towel; make your host’s favorite cocktail in a “to go” mason jar; or deliver all the supplies for arranging flowers in a pretty cannister that can double as a vase.  Does your hostess love dogs?  Pick up a Sydney Hale scented candle at one of our favorite Arlington gift shops, Covet.  A portion of the sales goes to dog rescue.

Covet Candle

Sydney Hale Co

11. Wrap it up with Style

Make the monochromatic magical with creative layering or texture.
Consider alternatives to straight up Christmas paper
Add embellishments like ornaments, ceiling wax or sprigs of rosemary.


12. Don’t Neglect the Outside

Your front door is your first impression so layer on the greenery, color and lighting to bring joy to your neighborhood.

And a bonus tip:  Take field trips for holiday inspiration!  We love design field trips and the ones we take during the holiday season are particularly inspiring.  Consider a day trip to Terrain in Philadelphia (or visit the small popup in the Bethesda Anthropologie), get your girlfriends together for drinks in Old Town, the Waterfront or City Center.  Make a trip to Lucketts or even a quick stop at Merrifield Garden Center.  There is inspiration all around!
  Field Trip
outdoor decor

Terrain Shop, Glen Mills

hanging outdoor arrangements

Terrain Shop, Glen Mills

Happy Holidays from Whittington Design Studio!


Chester lights up a room!


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