By Michelle Reese

The holidays are here! And in 2020, “home for the holidays” is extremely accurate. Since you’ll probably be spending even more time at home than usual this holiday season, it’s the perfect reason to make your home a festive and cozy haven for your family. We spoke with local experts Jennifer Smith of Jennifer Smith Designs (a Bucks Happening List Winner) and Michelle Schaffel of Inspired by Design (a Montco Happening List Winner) to put together a list of tips that are easy to follow in your home this year. Keeping these tips in mind, we’re providing lots of photo inspiration … including pics provided by local blogger Chrissy from Blushed Living.

Take a look and then deck those halls! After all, there’s no place like home for the holidays! 

Start at the Front Door

We might be spending more time inside this year, but you don’t want to neglect the outside! (After all, who doesn’t love driving around looking at decorations this time of year?!) According to Michelle from Inspired by Design, “You don’t have to go crazy with lights and blow up snowmen … but you can if that makes you happy! Simple white lights and a few touches of decor that can withstand the weather always makes for a nice welcoming entry. Also an easy and fun way to add flair is an outdoor mat with a fun saying on it. Those are easy to find and fun to see any time you enter your home.”

Tip: We’re loving the fun welcome mats available at Bucks Happening List Finalist, Re-Urban-It in Bristol.

(Photo from Re-Urban-It, used with permission.)

All About the Lights

This time of year, it’s all about the lights! (Both inside and outside.) On the practical front, Michelle from Inspired by Design offered the reminder, “As the sun is setting earlier, it’s important to be sure you have enough lighting. Make sure all your bulbs work, go with soft light bulbs instead of fluorescent so there’s no funky glare. Also, candles offer a lovely glow this time of year.”

(Photo by Michelle Reese)

Jennifer from Jennifer Smith Design echoed this with, “Candles candles candles!” And she added that battery-operated candles with a remote and timer are a great safe option.

“Try to do more than one tree. It does not have to be a large tree, but these days, seeing lights at night add smiles to people‘s faces!” ~ Jennifer Smith

Greens & Natural Touches

Decorate with REAL items when you can. If you have items like pine cones from your fall decorating, you can carry those over into December with minor tweaks. Place them in bowls, trays or vases, and enjoy the warm, cozy vibe this easily creates. Silver and gold spray paint can be used on fall colored items (like pine cones) to change up the style and using these neutrals are still fun and festive but not too specific.

“I am a big fan of keeping things neutral but sparkly this time of year.” ~ Michelle from Inspired by Design

“Incorporate fresh greens with faux greens. Eucalyptus is always a go-to, and the scent is amazing!” ~ Jennifer from Jennifer Smith Designs

Even if you can’t use the real greenery, you can find some pretty convincing artificial greens these days. They’re an easy way to add a touch of holiday to just about any room – even the kitchen and bedrooms!

(Photos by Chrissy from Blushed Living.)

Blankets, Pillows … Textures! 

Switch up your throw blankets and pillows for warmer colors, thicker textures, and luxurious patterns. At the end of the day relax and cozy up on your couch with these items. You can also switch up artwork if you like, to coordinate.

“I change my art twice a year. Blues and greens in the summer and reds and oranges in the winter. I love the burgundy/wine shade for this time of year too. It’s very warm and inviting.” ~ Michelle from Inspired by Design

(Photo by Chrissy from Blushed Living.)

Keeping with the cozy theme – you don’t necessarily need to add a lot of holiday colors or motifs if you want a style that will last all winter. Instead, you might add lots of textures and soft, furry elements.

“Whether it’s a throw blanket or pillow, softer, fluffier, velvet, faux fur or any of these which are very popular in stores really creates that look and feel most people want this time of year.” ~ Michelle from Inspired by Design

Oh, Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree is the main attraction in many homes, and people tend to have strong opinions on real or artificial, white lights or colored, themed or collected. The most important thing – do what makes YOUR family happy!

If you’re looking to switch things up this year, Jennifer suggests, “Choose a new color palette-  if you have enough and you don’t want to start purchasing, add loose faux flowers to make a new modern look in shades of pink, shades of green, or shades of blue.”

Michelle from Inspired by Design stated, “Buy a tree that is proportionate to your space; decide whether you want a real or fake one depending on pets and children. The smell of a real tree can’t be beat, but if you want easier maintenance a fake one is the way to go.”

(And remember, you can always follow Jennifer Smith’s advice and have more than one tree!)

Bigger Is Better, Less is More

(Photo by Michelle Reese.)

“Focus on certain areas only – staircase, fireplace mantle, dining room buffet etc. Bigger is better less is more.” ~ Jennifer from Jennifer Smith Designs

Michelle from Inspired by Design had the same less is more mentality …

“If you are a huge fan of decorating for the specific holidays, I think you should just have fun with it but remember less is more. You also want to evaluate the needs for your family. If you have pets or little children, you may need to modify what’s on the ground- keep things higher up, more sturdy, less fragile or heavy if they accidentally fall. “

(Photo by Chrissy from Blushed Living.)

Think in Threes

When you’re considering the whole “Less is More” concept, the Rule of Three is a great way to keep yourself from going overboard. The easiest way to follow the Rule of Three is to organize sets of decor in groups of three. Even better if they’re various sizes or can at least be displayed at various levels.

(Photo by Michelle Reese)

As Michelle from Inspired by Design explained, “Pairing three items on different levels can be really impactful and show lots of visual interest.”

Make It Personal

The holiday season is typically filled with a lot of traditions and nostalgia. Photos are a great way to bring that into your home decor.

Michelle from Inspired by Design stated, “I always love the personal touches of family photos and we’re seeing a lot of picture taking this year outside with some great backgrounds. Get them printed on canvases and create collage walls- these memories are always fun to look at and really personalize your home.”

If you don’t want to go as big (or lack the wall space), you could also display a few framed photos of past Christmases. This is also a sweet visible reminder of how your family has grown and changed over the years.

(Photo by Michelle Reese.)

Keep it Cozy & Comfortable

(Photo by Chrissy from Blushed Living.)

Beautiful decorations are wonderful, but how your family FEELS is the most important part. Warmth and comfort are key!

According to Michelle from Inspired by Design:

Warm up your body and belly: This may seem odd in a decorating article but for me (and a lot of others working from home much more) I want to be comfortable in all aspects of my day; warm clothes, cozy decor (comfortable seating), warm drinks, soups…all keep me fueled and get me through a day. If you have a fireplace to use, that’s a bonus!

Michelle also suggested that you check the insulation on your windows. Consider adding drapes. And remember that music can add to the festive atmosphere, too!

Chanukah Decor

“Chanukah decorating is usually smaller but I have seen trees decorated with blue and white. Signs that say ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Happy Chanukah’ hung on the mantle are always nice to adorn with greenery and candles on top. They can be blue and white for the holiday or silver and gold for general holiday time decor.” ~ Michelle from Inspired by Design

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