sprucing up for the holidays

5 simple holiday decorating tips to make a Houston home merry and bright

5 simple holiday decorating tips to make a Houston home merry + bright

Christmas decorating idea
Adding wreaths makes a home feel festive. Courtesy of Haven Studio Design
Christmas decorating idea
Up the merry and bright with less work. Courtesy of Haven Studio Design
Christmas decorating idea
Ornament bowls are easy to assemble. Courtesy of Haven Studio Design
Christmas decorating idea
Christmas decorating idea
Christmas decorating idea

The holiday season is upon us, which means sprucing up the house, with holiday parties and celebrations back in full swing. So, how to amp up the merry and bright factor at home, while avoiding the onset of holiday fatigue and the Clark Griswold rules of festivity?

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up five ways to make the season bright, from multi-purpose garnishes, door dressings, and new ways to use ornaments. 

Holiday garland can work harder
Christmas trees are the classic standard, but sometimes space, time, and even a little boredom from doing the same thing year after year can get in the way of enjoying the classic decorating tradition. 

Instead, consider a garland placed in unexpected places that give more of an immersive holiday feel rather than just a tree focal point. Think: draped beautifully across a kitchen island nestled with fruits and berries or as a season long table runner in the dining room.  

Draping the frames of a house's main room entries or even the bedrooms adds a fully wrapped holiday feel that can’t be beat. Bonus points for bows or ornaments hung from the garland that showcases the various nuances everyone loves about the holidays: family traditions, passed down items, kids’ creations, sentimental gifts, and finally...fun.

The novelty tree is underrated
To bring a little whimsy to a time-tested tradition, why not change it up a bit this year?  The choices are endless with options from fully flocked winter wonderland trees to glistening arctic white trees. A down swept tree will make ever a Houston backyard feel like a mountain retreat.

For the smaller spaces needing a special touch, consider pencil trees that vary in height at 2, 3, and 4-feet; they're perfect for bedrooms, studio apartments, bonus rooms, and in balmy Houston— patios.

Wreaths aren’t just for doors
An elegant way to dress up any space for the holiday season requires three simple items: a wreath, a thumbtack, and a beautiful ribbon. For those that eschew the work and strategy involved to put up a well adorned holiday tree; this approach is classy and restrained while letting the greenery and ribbon shine in their simplicity.

Hanging wreaths from interior windows or mirrors (command hooks are best here) is chic and unexpected. Even better is the gallery wall replaced with a wreath wall for texture and interest in a dining room or great room.  

Vintage holiday textiles steal the spotlight
Instead of stuffing every seating area in the house full of holiday-themed pillows with catchy phrases and glitter, consider a uniquely personal take with a vintage textile such as hanging a holiday tapestry or a beautiful quilt in the traditional holiday colors draped over the back of a sofa.

A holiday quilt also gives that wonderfully cozy, welcome feel to the guest room when family and friends come to town — reminiscent of the early aughts’ Folgers home-for-the-holidays commercials.

Being right down the road from Round Top, Texas — antique alley, if you will — makes it easy for you to find one for this year’s celebration.

Ornaments aren’t just for trees
A great ornament display doesn't need to involve hours of sorting, installing hooks, or fishing line — and then hanging, moving, re-hanging, moving again, and fluffing tree branches and holiday lights around it.

Enter the ornament bowl as a dining room centerpiece.  Or, a nice trio of glass hurricanes full of colorful ornaments artfully displayed on a coffee table or entryway console.

It’s peak lazy for anyone fatigued after a long year, while also being artful, merry, and bright. What’s more? It’s a great budget buster as this type of centerpiece or display — perfect for countertops and bathrooms too — can easily be put together with a quick trip to HomeGoods or Target. Merry and bright, indeed.

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Abbie Byrom Botello is a Houston-based designer and the owner of Haven Studio Design. Find more information on her website or follow her on Instagram @havenstudiodesign.