Today I’m linking up with this year’s 12 Days of Christmas Tour of Homes, hosted by Evolution of Style and featuring the decked halls of some wonderful bloggers and designers. Indeed, this time of the year, there is no shortage of beautiful, creative, elaborate, amazing holiday decorating images floating around the blogosphere. They propagate onto Instagram, Pinterest and elsewhere, and induce feelings of awe…and inadequacy. I have never gone big with Christmas decor, but this year I was able to make one room in my home look pretty darned festive with a minimum of effort. Just keeping it real, and keeping things simple. Here’s how I did it.
When I was designing our living room, I actually gave some consideration to how the space would look and function during the most wonderful time of the year. After all, it’s about 10% of the year, and probably 50% of our annual time spent in the room – I thought it was worth planning for. This is actually our first holiday season in this house that the room has been furnished (my orders were significantly delayed, well into the spring of this year).
I created a flexible seating plan, so sofas and chairs could be moved around for the holidays (and throughout the year, for entertaining purposes). This is what the room normally looks like (well, when Eric Roth comes by to photograph it, anyway!):
The weekend after Thanksgiving, we moved one of the sofas into the library across the hall, in front of a floating Empire desk and facing the fireplace to create a cozy hangout in a room we don’t normally spend time in. The wing chairs were brought into the main seating arrangement, but I broke them up to create an open space for optimal tree viewing (and gift opening!).
The classic color scheme of red, blue and gold incorporates green beautifully. And when you’ve got red going on, you’re halfway to Christmas-y, already! I took this one step further by selecting a pillow fabric (Thibaut’s Wolverhampton print) that has holly on it. It’s not so prominent that it looks seasonal, but when you have a few other seasonal things nearby, it really adds to that warm, joyful holiday feeling in here.
A simple swag of mixed greenery transforms the original 1896 mantel, one of my favorite features in the whole house (those carvings!), from neoclassical grandeur to classic Christmas. I love how it mixes with the blue and white temple jars – so much so that I was inspired to break out some blue and white obelisks from my stash in “the land of misfit accessories.” The Persian polo player paintings on bone (passed down from my globetrotting great aunt) have been temporarily relocated to the overmantel to make room for all the extra stuff. I typically keep mantel decor very clean and simple, but the holidays give me a chance to experiment with a more layered look.
(Rober the elf was chilling on the temple jar on the day I took these photos, and I did not move him for fear of taking away his magic – the horror!)
Our tree is fake fake fake (and pre-lit), but what it lacks in coniferous authenticity it more than makes up for in the charm department. My husband and I have a tradition of giving each other a meaningful, personal ornament each year. And now our two boys are part of it. We are filling our tree with baubles that tell our story as a family, rather than doing a color theme, or something else. It won’t win any awards, nor will it ever be published in Traditional Home, but it is perfect in my eyes, and I would never change it.
Whenever possible, I think it’s always ideal to put your Christmas tree (if you celebrate, of course) in front of a window. Not only does it add to your exterior lighting scheme (or maybe even carry the whole thing!), but there’s nothing quite like pulling into the driveway at dusk and being welcomed home by that twinkly glow during the holidays.
So…nothing too fancy here in the way of Christmas decorations, but this is what I have the time and patience for these days! Having the living room halfway-to-festive already really takes the pressure off, too.
Whatever holidays you celebrate, I wish you and your family the very best during this time when we reflect on another year gone by, and the anticipation of the one yet to come. 2015 will bring lots of milestones, including my 15-year college reunion, a first birthday, the start of Pre-K for my eldest son – and who knows what else. I’m ready, are you? Happy holidays!
And don’t forget to check out all of the great homes over at Evolution of Style!