Whether you’re throwing a fancy holiday party or having a casual celebration with family and friends, chances are your home could use a festive face-lift. Target spaces where visitors tend to congregate: the living room, kitchen, dining room and family room. Don’t forget the powder room — a common stop for most guests. Since shopping, baking and gift wrapping top most people’s “to do” lists, four metro Atlanta interior designers offer spruce-up-the-house tips that don’t require a lot of time or money.



Cynthia Florence, owner, Cynthia Florence Interiors (e-mail: cflorenc@bellsouth.net)

“The mantel and the living room are usually the first thing people see when they come in. They set the tone for the whole ambience in the house,” Florence says. “Stay with one scheme to create harmony. If there’s too much going on, your eyes go from one thing to another, and it’s too busy. It just causes chaos.”


Pick a theme and color scheme that complements furnishings. Don’t be afraid to incorporate nontraditional holiday colors, such as bronze and copper. Lime green, orange, purple and pink are also hot.

Choose a focal point, such as the mantel, and decorate around it. Framed art above a mantel doesn’t have to be removed; drape garland around the top of the frame.

The sight, smell and feel of the holidays can be created by using candles, fresh greenery and a cozy throw. Accent pillows also warm up a room and add to the decor. Adorn coffee and sofa tables with floral arrangements and potpourri.

Less is more. Use a few striking festive items, and pare down the knickknacks. “People are going toward more elegant decorations than the cutesy stuff,” Florence says.



Bob Brown, vice president, Pineapple House Interior Design (Web: www.pineapplehouse.com)

“Don’t be intimidated. Setting a table is so basic, anyone can do it. Everything can be pulled from your everyday china, your grandmother’s china or china from a tag sale,” Brown says. “I like to have a flower on the table for each guest; it makes them feel special. And don’t worry about place mats. I love to show my table.”

Chargers — oversize plates that sit under a dinner plate — decorate the table even after the meal is over. Chargers with silver, gold or metallic finishes add glitz this time of year.

Repetition is the key to smart design. Instead of dressing a table with one candle and one centerpiece, consider placing votive candles and flower buds at each place setting.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match plates, stemware and eating utensils as long as they complement, rather than compete with each other. Table linens don’t have to be traditional fare. Consider using a throw or quilt as a tablecloth; substitute a decorative washcloth, tea towel or hand towel for napkins. Chairs can be adorned with scarves or throws instead of slipcovers.


powder room decoratingVonda Dickerson, designer, Vonda Dickerson Interiors (e-mail: vonraine@comcast.net)

“Powder rooms should be jewel boxes. They should be something that when your guests close the door, they feel like they’re in a special environment.”

The space should look like you, not sterile and new with items you just ran out and bought.

Be creative with bathroom accessories. Instead of holiday towels with Christmas emblems, use colored towels you already have. Embellish them with ribbons and jewelry such as beads, earrings or shoe clips, to give them a festive look.

If the powder room is large enough, add a chair or bench to provide another canvas to display decorative pillows or wrapped, empty boxes that look like presents.


kitchen decorating for christmasBeth Farwig, designer/retail manager at Insperience Studio (Web: www.insperiencestudio.com)

“Take things you already have and put a new twist on them. Most people don’t use their kitchen appliances every day, so why not have fun and put last year’s ornaments in them?” Farwig says.”Ornaments come in so many colors, it’s easy to find something that blends with the color scheme in your kitchen.”

Add seasonal flair to kitchen cabinets by arranging faux garland on top. Hang wreaths over windows or above the sink.

Decorate surfaces such as cake stands and dessert trays with holly, garland or ornaments. Put peppermint and other Christmas candy in cookie jars.

Use festive napkins, tea towels and area rugs to spread holiday cheer. If counter space permits, display a few holiday cookbooks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *