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20+ ideas and tips for making your home a holiday wonderland

When it’s time to decorate for the holidays, some of us relish the task. Others wish an elf would sneak down the chimney and embellish their homes for them.

If you’re hoping for the latter, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

We asked three decorating experts for tips on how to create winter wonderlands inside and outside your home.

Kristyn L. Greenfield — owner of Bloom! Landscaping, a web-based firm that does custom holiday décor for homes and businesses — said the Christmas tree should be your starting point.

“It’s a classic tradition,” Greenfield said. “Everyone likes to have a Christmas tree, and placing it in a key room and in a key position is step one. You want to put in the room where you do most of your entertaining, and in an area where it can easily be viewed.”

Next, she said, select a color scheme and a style of decorations for the tree that’s consistent with the style of your home — but even more important, the style of your interior décor.

Once you’ve decided on the look you want, other areas of your home can be decorated, Greenfield said. Just make sure pieces you add “pull from the tree’s color scheme and ornaments.”

“The decorations don’t have to be exactly the same, but they should have a consistent style,” she said, noting that in most cases, the same look should be kept throughout the entire house, “especially if rooms are connected and pull into each other.” However, she added, if rooms are separated, different looks can be used.

Find your focal point

Carrie Lenz, the owner of Shop to Carrie On, 16980 W. National Ave., New Berlin, said the next step is to identify focal points in your home and to decorate them. A good place to start is at your front door.

“Open it and decorate the first focal point you see,” Lenz said. In some homes, it might be an entryway where you can hang a wreath on a wall, put a centerpiece on a table or wrap a banister with garland. Then move on to other rooms to address their focal points.

“I usually suggest two or three holiday pieces to a room,” Lenz said. “Put something on the wall, something on a table, and maybe something on the floor in a corner. You want to put pieces at different heights.”

When it comes to the outside of your home, Lenz said a natural focal point is your front door.

“Hang a bright and shiny ornament wreath or a long swag on your front door,” she said. “You also can complement your entryway with an ornament garland that frames the shape of the door, or accent a focal point in your front yard such as a fence or a light pole.”

While focal points are important, Greenfield said it’s important that they don’t compete with one another.

“If your eye can’t figure out where to look first, then you have too many competing ideas,” she said.

Check the malls to deck your halls

Maureen Connolly, owner of GreenWorks Plantscapes, 2345 Commerce Drive, New Berlin, whose firm decorates commercial and residential spaces, said homeowners looking for ideas can copy the oversize and over-the-top decorations they see in malls or lobbies.

“Businesses spend a lot of money on decorations, and homeowners can take any of these ideas and implement them in their own homes,” Connolly said. “Just make sure to scale them down in size.”

For full-sized trees, be sure the top of the tree, or your decorative tree topper, clears your ceiling by 4 to 6 inches, and your front door wreath covers about two-thirds the width of the door.

“And if you have topiaries in pots at your front door, your pots should be at least one-fourth to one-third the size of your topiary,” she said.

Greenfield suggested that when using tabletop trees to accent, the base of the tree should be roughly one-third to one-half the width of the table, and the height of the tree should be about one-half to two-thirds the height of the table.

Add sparkle and shine

Homeowners can also get great looks by using this season’s newest colors and trends, said Connolly, who does decorating seminars for garden clubs and businesses.

She said new colors this year are champagne and platinum, and consumers should consider the newer LED lights, which are brighter and more efficient.

Lenz said that the color combinations of silver, gold and black, as well as fuchsia, bright aqua green and celery green, are big this year and that “sparkle is huge.”

Oversize ornaments, some as big as bowling balls, are also trending.

Popular looks that Greenfield sees are mercury glass, items from nature and nautical themes.

“You can put silver mercury glass ornaments on your tree and mercury glass finials on your mantel,” Greenfield said, and anything in burlap and birch bark is “a huge trend.”

And if you’re looking for something unexpected, Greenfield suggests nautical themes on trees, including items such as “vintage seaside fishing nets around ornaments” and starfish.

Protecting your outdoor plants

Kristyn L. Greenfield, owner of Bloom! Landscaping and a landscape designer and horticulturist, said that when decorating outdoors, it’s also important to protect your plants. Here are some tips.

■Remove outdoor Christmas lights from landscape trees by early spring to maximize tree health. Leaving lights on year-round can injure your trees by cutting off their circulation as they grow.

■Use holiday décor to protect your landscape’s evergreens from winter wind and salt desiccation. Lean evergreen boughs against your boxwood and conifer hedges, especially if they’re exposed to salt spray. Tie them on with fishing line or soft ties. Add bows for Christmas, and take them off after New Year’s, or add winter-neutral décor such as red twig dogwood stems or curly willow, which can be left up until early March.

■Wait for ice to melt before removing décor from plants. Breaking stems can diminish the aesthetic value of plants and invite pests and diseases in spring that enter readily through tattered wounds.

More ideas

Here are more ideas from our experts on how to make your home look great for the holidays, as well as tips on how to make your own easy accents.

■ Light landscape plants with a consistent bulb color, style and size for a balanced look with maximum impact. Be sure to light the entire plant. For tall trees, light them to an even height on all sides. (Kristyn L. Greenfield)

■ If you have a symmetrical entrance, add planters with live arrangements in them or a topiary on each side. If your entrance is asymmetrical, do something different on each side. (Greenfield)

■ If you like to use a lot of decorations throughout your home, that’s OK. But be sure they’re consistent with the rest of the pieces in your rooms. You’ll also need to consider temporarily removing some of your everyday décor or your home will look chaotic. (Greenfield)

■ Use pine cones from your yard in baskets or bowls or hang them with ribbon. You also can put ornaments in a basket and accent it with a ribbon to use as a centerpiece. (Maureen Connolly)

■ White fiberfill from your local fabric store can be used to create a snowy base for a Nativity scene, or collections of snowmen or carolers. (Connolly)

■ Put flameless candles on your fireplace, in your windows, or group them together in different sizes to use as accents. (Connolly)

■ When decorating your tree, use a wide ribbon in any color or style and run it through the branches all around the tree. It will fill your tree with color and create a flowing pattern. (Connolly)

■ Birdhouses are a great way to bring the holidays outdoors. Set them on a table with a few pine branches, some berries and a cute red robin. (Connolly)

■ Add clusters of ornaments to your fences or trees. Hang them at different lengths. Put larger ornaments deep into your tree for depth, and the smaller ones nearer the front. (Carrie Lenz)

■ Hang ornaments from your dining room chandelier, or place a pine wreath on your chandelier and hang the ornaments from it. Place a matching arrangement on your table. (Lenz)

■ Don’t forget to decorate your bedrooms. Add a small tree or a wreath, or string garland across the headboard. Add ornaments to the garland and a bow on each end. (Lenz)

■ If you have a collection of Santas, snowmen or nutcrackers, create a theme by setting them throughout your home. You also can do this with non-holiday objects that relate to winter, such as branches. (Lenz)

■ Make a themed tree with pieces you collect. Use wildlife items such as antlers and feathers, or items such as angels, Santas or snowmen. Non-holiday collections such as Harley-Davidson, NASCAR and Disney are other options. (Lenz)

■ Hang an empty wood picture frame on a wall, then put a wreath inside and accent the wreath with ornaments. (Lenz)

■ Set an oversize ornament in your front porch urn or flowerpot, then surround it with pine boughs. (Lenz)

■ Mix matte, shiny and sparkly ornaments of a consistent color scheme to create interesting textural variety. When using metallics this way, your décor will remain in vogue longer. (Greenfield)

■ Clip Annabelle hydrangeas from your yard. Cut them 24 to 48 inches long, then spray paint the flower heads lightly in gold, silver or copper. Arrange them in a vase and set them on a metallic table runner, charger plate or place mat as a centerpiece. You also can add hydrangeas to your Christmas tree for an elegant look. Gently push each flower stem inside the tree branches until the flower head is touching the evergreen branches. (Greenfield)

■ Embellish a burlap table runner with mercury glass candle holders that have ivory candles in them. (Greenfield)

Article source: http://www.jsonline.com/features/home/20-ideas-and-tips-for-making-your-home-a-holiday-wonderland-b99389590z1-283762451.html