Deck the Halls

Tips for a simple, sane, and even sumptuous seasonal setting.

Trim the Tree with Texture

There’s nothing wrong with kindergarten art projects, but if the goal is to make the tree look like Martha herself trimmed it, then there are a couple of tricks. Before you begin, consider editing the color palette—narrowing to just a couple of hues allows for more experimenting with ornament finishes. Put a modern spin on the traditional red-and-green motif by modifying emerald green to a Tiffany blue. Eliminating garlands and tinsel from the tree allows the textures and details on ornaments to stand out.

1. Mix beaded ornaments with glittery ones—they both shimmer against the twinkle lights.

2. This particular ornament mixes an of-the-moment trend—polka dots—with cool alternating velvet and glitter finishes. That, in turn, allows for those finishes to show up on other ornaments.

3. Mix satin or matte metallic ornaments with mirrored or shiny finishes to create depth.

Resources: French macarons, Patisserie 46, Fur blanket repurposed as tree skirt, $150 @ Pottery Barn, Ornaments from Target, West Elm, Restoration Hardware, vintage Marshall Field’s, and Michael’s.

Tie the Room Together 

Layering pieces you already own can create new, updated juxtapositions—which feel even newer with a few floral arrangements. These are the details that truly make your halls feel bedecked! Don’t be afraid to pull in several different ingredients.

1. Fresh floral arrangements add life to a room in the dead of winter. Hanging swags on the front door, from the banister, across the tabletop, and over the mantel or hearth ties décor together effortlessly.

2. Small spaces matter. Don’t miss adding detail to stairs, mantels, and tabletops. For example, consider placing tree ornaments on the mantel or hanging them from the banister.

3. Mix and match candlesticks from your collection. Wire and metal or wire and glass strike a stylish glam-meets-rustic note. (But keep the candles all the same color and brand.)

Resources: Magnolia-leaf, dusty miller, seeded eucalyptus, and hypericum-berry garland, $15-$18 per foot @ Spruce Flowers & Home, Clear bubble vase and tea light holder, $6-$10 @ Spruce Flowers & Home. Vintage candlesticks, $22-$26 @ Style Minneapolis, Shiny candlesticks, $9-$11 @ Ikea, Wire candlesticks, $12-$18 @Anthropologie, Tea light holders, $16-$20 @ Spruce Flowers & Home. Metallic ball on mantel, $22 @ Twiggs Home & Garden, Ivory stocking, $19 @ Pottery Barn, Baguette and macarons @ Patisserie 46, Kate Spade New York Larabee Road china, $139 per place setting @ Bloomingdales,

Crack the Color Code

Does it seem a little Type A to color-coordinate your gifts? It might be, but editing for color makes wrapping a snap. It also communicates thoughtfulness and calm—even if you’re not feeling it. As with the tree, when you narrow the color palette, you can use different patterns and materials (ribbons, flowers, ornaments) to create festive finishing touches.

Resources: Feather hairpin, $12; silver brooch, $14 @ Mall of St. Paul, Turquoise ribbon with red polka dots, $4 @ JoAnn Fabrics, Blue peacock paper, $5; vintage Paris postcard paper, $4; silver ribbon, $2 per foot @ Paper Source, Red candy-cane striped paper, $8; blue ribbon, $9; Red wrapping paper with dots, $8 @ Patina, Red-flower headband (repurposed as ribbon), $14 @ Nordstrom,

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