We Break It Down: How to Decorate For Christmas One Vignette At A Time
Happy December Yall! On Friday, way back in November, we talked about the new ideas on the Christmas decorating scene. But you know what? Emily and past EHD team members have decorated some pretty beautiful holidays spaces over the years that are chock full with beautiful and useful tips. So to help you maximize your Christmas style, I am going to dissect some of our favorite vignettes to help you further get inspired and maybe attempt some similar looks. Now first and foremostthe tree.
The Traditional Tree
There are lots of ways and color schemes to choose from when decorating a Christmas tree. But there is something truly wonderful and extremely nostalgic about a traditional red and green color combo.
Emilys Portland tree (left): She went a bit more modern with a tree that isnt as full (more sparse and Scandi) and with hits of black to ground the red and green. It looks cool but happy.
Ginnys traditional tree (right): She went more cozy with a fuller tree and hits of gold instead of black. What is also fun about her tree is that she used both a basket for a stand AND a faux fur tree skirt to give it a maximum cozy look.
Now, in terms of ornaments, both of them evenly spaced out sizes, colors and textures to make sure the tree felt visually balanced. Man, I would love to come home to either of these Christmases.
The Modern Tree
Im sure its no surprise (if you know my general aesthetic) but this is the type of tree that speaks to methe modern tree. Nothing too crazy here, just three different color schemes that dont involve red but still knock your holiday socks off.
Bradys monochromatic tree (far left): What makes it awesome is that the tree itself is perfectly imperfect. Not a sparse Scandi type, but a tree that has some excellently placed bald spots. Brady kept his color palette 100% neutral, letting the greenery of the space be the star and the ornaments adding the perfect amount of glitz.
Emilys 2018 warm neutral tree (middle): This is my dream tree. I love how pleasantly plump it is and goes against the traditional, more slender conical shape. Then Em still kept it neutral with the ornaments but with happy warm tones like copper, gold and blush. She also kept it kid-friendly with little animal ornaments and personalized frames (all within that same color palette). Its just such a good tree.
Emilys 2017 neutral and navy tree (far right): This is the perfect tree and color palette for someone who wants a neutral-toned tree but still wants a bit of a traditional feel. Im talking navy blue. This tree has a ton of playful kid-friendly ornaments and is made even more playful by the hits of dark blue. Modern but so darn cute.
The White Tree
I wouldnt say Im a white tree kinda gal but when they are done right, they are pretty undeniably wonderful. They call for happy colors and a big dose of playfulness and that is exactly what Emily and team did for these two beauties in her old house.
Emilys warm metallic ribbon tree (left): This tree is proof there is no one way to decorate a tree. If you like just ornaments, great. If you love garland, wrap that tree up. And if you love bows, then you go for it and adorn oversized bows onto your tree. Tell me thats not fun and straight-up delightful?! But the reason why it works is because the rest of the ornaments are pretty simple in texture and strategic in color. There arent a ton of animals, frames, wood objects etc. Just a handful of slightly differently shaped, metallic balls.
Emilys kid focused red and green tree (right): Tell me this tree doesnt make the kid inside of you light up. The key here is to keep the reds and greens bright! This way they really pop off the white of the tree. Then from there, its just about fun. Adding in little Santas, candy canes, hot chocolate mugs and a red beaded garland help to give some visual breaks for your eye to rest. Because otherwise, its happiness overload.
***Side note Emily prefers the warm light color for her string lights. It just makes everything feel cozier.
Green garland is probably one of my favorite Christmas decor accents. It makes such a big and luxurious statement in a room. So aside from a classic mantel look, Emily and team mainly use them to frame a doorway or a window. I mean look at how amazing they all look. Also, dont be afraid of faux garland either. The top two photos (from Ginny and Bradys homes) are faux and look incredible. Then in the bottom two photos from Emilys past two Christmas, we have some real greenery. HOT GARLAND TIP: On Ems stories on Friday, while at the flower market, she said that getting garland that has mixed greenery in it not only looks textural but also gives you leeway to pepper different types around your room/house instead of feeling like you have to stick to one kind. ANOTHER HOT GARLAND TIP: Mix some real greenery in with faux (like eucalyptus) to add more dimension and fullness.
Adding Cheer To Kids Bedrooms
I grew up always having some kind of holiday decor in my room (and stocking on my door handle, of course). So I know first hand the positive effects on a kids mood. Now, I didnt have Emily Henderson adding in that cheer (what a dream) but here are some great ways to bring Christmas from the living room into the bedroom courtesy of Emily Henderson herself.
Charlies classic Christmas room (top two): Most of us probably have more than one set of sheets so we arent taken hostage by the washer and dryer for a couple of hours. Why not have one of those kids sheets be holiday-themed? Totally easy and so fun for your little one to get to curl up in Christmas spirit each night. Then, its just sprinkling a handful of other decor around the room in a cohesive color palette and chances are your munchkin will be incredibly pumped.
Elliots blush Christmas room (bottom two): Blush holiday heaven I say! But aside from the overall general whimsical magic of this room, lets look at what Em did so you can recreate. One is a bundle of trees with fake presents in different sizes and colors. All are metallic and work beautifully within the color palette. Plus SO fun to get to play Christmas more than just the one day. HOT TIP: Well its kinda a no brainer but for safety keep all ornaments shatter-free and/or plush. The emergency room in December is a hard pass if you askwell anyone. The other super easydecor item to put up in your kids room is a garland that has a holiday saying. Small touches can make a huge difference to a kidI promise.
Adding Cheer To Adults Bedrooms (and Bath)
Now just because we arent kids anymore doesnt mean we shouldnt throw some holiday spirit into our rooms, right?! Sure were the ones decorating but lets take Ginnys room (top two) as proof that a simple wreath, some twinkle lights and maybe even some stockings can bring A TON of holiday spirit into your room. But we dont have to stop at the bedroom because if Emilys mountain house master bath is any indication, then a wintery bathroom is magical and now I think necessary?? A wreath and a little tree can, once again, go a long way. Give yourself this little but effective gift.
There are a bunch of ways to style a mantel for Christmas as exhibited above. In the top row, they all have a little scene to bring in some fun personality. The top left has an adorable lumberjack scene, the top middle has reindeer and pinecone set up and the top right has that super cute but neutral snowman scene. Play around with what you have and see what happens. HOT TIP: We like to style in groupings. Notice the assortments of threes and twos.
Then for the bottom three photos, its obvious we are fans of the garland and candles look (we recommend faux candles to avoid any potential fires). We like to keep it simple and let the garland be the showstopper and then lightly sprinkle in a small amount of candlesand of course stockings. ANOTHER HOT TIP: If you have three or less stockings then hang them on one side. It looks cool and intentional.
Styling out shelves can be tricky but it doesnt have to be. Remember that you are probably going to need to take some things off to add in the holiday flair. That way it doesnt look like you crammed a bunch of Christmas decor into every open crevice (HOT STORAGE TIP: stash anything away you remove in the boxes/containers you keep your Christmas decor, that way you can swap everything back when its time to take down the festive stuff). Remember to stick to your color palette, add in a hint of greenery and dont be afraid to think outside the box. For instance. Emily used ornaments on her shelves last year (far left photo) and Ginny put little bottle brush trees in a glass display box (far right photo). So stinkin cute, right?
Non-Mantel Stocking Hanging
For those of you like myself (fireplace-less), you have to get creative with the stocking hanging situation. But fear not because the EHD team has come up with some fun ideas over the years. Essentially you either need to find a tall enough surface or make one. Sounds easy right? Well, thats because it is. I really love the stockings on the credenza from Emilys living room last year. So simple and gives a very similar aesthetic to the fireplace look. But if you dont have a credenza then using some sort of railing or stair rail are other great alternatives (they are sturdy enough for heavy filled up stockings). Our last (but probably most creative) is the present tower. Just wrap up some boxes, make sure they are weighted and tall enough to hold the stockings up and then BOOM you have yourself a hanging surface.
Non-Set Dining Tables
Usually there is really only one (maybe two) big family dinners that happen after ThanksgivingChristmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day dinner. Basically your dining table is most likely going to remain fairly casual for a majority of the season. But what if you want to decorate it so it looks festive all season long? Thats where we come in. Nothing quite says winter wonderland like little tree figurines. They are the perfect dining table decor piece. Always choose an assortment of sizes and even colors if thats the look you want. Then from there, add in candles, or a small pelt (like in the middle photo) or a long table runner (like in the far right photo). Lastly, throwing in a few other little items like house figurines, ornaments or even winter animals will help to round out the whole look. Just remember to keep it simple.
Last but not least lets talk about general surfaces like consoles, cabinets, credenzas etc. First, you want to think about the rest of your space and how decorated it is. Why? Well you want to avoid going ham on every surface. You want your eye to be able to dance around the space (hopefully to a jazzy Christmas playlist) and feel like it can rest in certain areas. BUT with all that said, a larger surface is a super fun place to play. Each of these photos gives a different look to be inspired by. But what they all have in common is that they live within a tight color palette, they all have varying scales of objects and most of those objects repeat. Just make sure that the overall look is visually balanced. Unless its on purpose (and you are a rule breaker) dont put everything on one side. Group like a champ and spread the love.
December is here, joy is hopefully feeling more abundant by each passing minute and you feel even more confident in decorating what will undoubtedly be a beautiful holiday filled home. If you have any burning decorating questions, let us know in the comments and we will do our best to help. xx
Love you, mean it.
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