How to Design Your Own Holiday House


The textured green, blue and metallic color palette in the holiday garland on the soaring stone fireplace in this lakeside home creates a look of laid-back luxury. Photo: Wanda S. Horton Design, Charlotte, N.C.

Wanda S. Horton Designs, a leading interior designer in Charlotte, N.C. shows you how to create your own holiday house of simple elegance.

Do you love visiting your local holiday home tours as much as we do? Because many holiday tours are in older, vintage homes, the day is filled with delight as we enjoy both the festive decor and the historical settings. 

The beautiful lakefront residence we recently designed called for holiday decorations with a relaxed elegance. Wanda S. Horton

Recently, we completed the interiors of a beautiful lakefront home  with a color scheme of mostly neutrals, grays and blues with a teal hue. When the homeowners asked if my team could bring in the merry, we said an enthusiastic “Yes!” We thought you’d enjoy “touring” this new holiday home online, and seeing how the magical wonderland took shape, working within the existing color scheme. 

We’re passing along professional holiday decorating tips as well:

HOLIDAY DECORATING TIP #1: Create a canvas or foundation of ball ornaments that use the same colors in the room. 

Put ornaments coordinating with the room’s color scheme on the tree, first. Then add the varied ornaments. You’ll see that this approach brings even the most unusual item into harmony with your interior.

Repeat the same color of balls for greater impact throughout your room for a lux look. Note how, in the photos above, we mixed satin and shine in the garland and in a nearby bowl.

This holiday floral arrangement uses the dominant neutral palette of the home, while punching it up with sparkle. Wanda S. Horton

Mixing of metals is a big trend for interiors, and we took it to a whole new level in the main living area’s Christmas tree by combining metals both in the ornaments and in the ribbon. We found a lovely ribbon with copper edging, silver striping and a meshed gold middle.

HOLIDAY DECORATING TRIP # 2: Buy ribbon in bulk to use throughout your decorating. 

Using ribbon throughout the room adds softness and color consistency. We even tied some ribbon on table vases to add texture and shine.

Every detail makes for special discoveries! We tucked some snow owls in the packaging. The ottomans, which form a cocktail table, have a tray. We swapped out the floral arrangement there for something more wintery and festive.

Even after Christmas and the New Year’s Eve parties have passed, it’s nice to be able to keep some festive pieces out for another month or two. 

My local go-to, August Lily Florist, created both of the lovely arrangements above.

Though some have special china just for holiday dinners, others may not. We set the table with my client’s white dishes and used chargers we had marblelized to bring in the surrounding blue palette. Rather than use a tablecloth, we used white, lacquered placemats for another layer.

Centerpieces were kept simple with a mixture of greens tucked into foam platforms, and the bases were covered in felt to protect the table top. Some frosted leaves and sprinkles of pearls added the perfect touch.

HOLIDAY DECORATING TIP #3. Elegant but simple candle arrangements can be used in lieu of flowers. Position between place settings so they’re not in the way, and keep them unscented to be able to enjoy the food being served.

If your inner child is still captivated by the traditional colors of Christmas, we’ve got that covered, too! On another level of the home, there’s an area we call the fun room, and it has a multi-colored area rug, giving us permission to run free with almost any color under the rainbow.

HOLIDAY DECORATING TIP #4: Find an area to create an extra tree, be it large or small, to mix in all of the fun, family treasures. Let it be a riot of color and playful elements. Kids of all ages will love it!

Of course, no holiday home tour is complete without a cup of hot cider and a cookie or treat. It’s simply more welcoming and sets the tone for what’s to come.

HOLIDAY DECORATING TIP #5: Tis the season to enjoy. Don’t forget that when aspiring to do it all. Sometimes I have to divide and conquer, so I keep a list of experts near for when I need the extra set of helping hands. Perfection is not as important as being present with one another during holiday gatherings. 

Happiest and Merriest of Holidays to you!





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