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ASK A DESIGNER Rethinking Holiday Decor: Less isMore, Use a Palette, and Focus onWinter PDF Print E-mail
Written by MELISSARAYWORTH For The Associated Press   
Thursday, 16 December 2010 05:45

Don't have time to brainstorm a new look this year? We've asked interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, founder of and two other designers how to create holiday glamour at home without the cliches.


"Less is more," says Betsy Burnham of Burnham Design, in Los Angeles. Use just some of your decorations each year, just as an art curator might display only part of a collection at one time. If you put out fewer items, she says, "each thing you use to decorate willmeanmore."

And don't feel obligated to decorate every room. Put a few decorations in your entryway, where they are visible fromthe street and to arriving guests. Then concentrate on the room where you spend themost time.

"We get caught up in who's coming over for Christmas, but that one day everybody comes over is a small fraction of the time these decorations will be up," Flynn says. So decoratewhere you willmost enjoy it.


Your holiday decorating stash is probably heavy on traditional red and green. For a different look, try altering the palette by using only your red and cream pieces, or only the green and gold. Or try "doing it all ivory and white, with some plaid," says Burnham.

You also can inject fresh style by bringing in new shades. Ornaments can be inexpensive, so try using all the silver and white pieces you have, then adding new ones in violet or hot pink. Those shades look sophisticated and festive, Flynn says.

He also suggests adding shades of brown with purple or deep red to balance "the femininity of garlands and bows." blogger Erinn Valencich loves using retroinspired ornaments in "lime green, burnt oranges, turquoise and even a bit of fuchsia." These colors look great against a white artificial Christmas tree.

If the holidays without lots of red and green seems like heresy, try using those colors in unexpected shades - say, a holiday table in lime green and deep cranberry.

"With all the glitter that comes with holiday decorating," Valencich promises, "it's going to feel like Christmas" even if you don't use the standard red and green.


Holiday decor takes on a fresh look when it's focused on celebrating the season, so think snowflakes rather than Santa.

A holiday table set with white dishes and white linens evokes snowy winters. In California, Burnham says, holiday decorating is "all about pretending we live somewhere cold."