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PostHeaderIcon Design Your Holiday - November Designer's Log

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For November, the Designers Log returns from hiatus with the first of four new posts.  Enjoy!

The holidays are nearly upon us.  As we pull old decorations from storage, it's hard not to sigh at the prospect of recycling those tired, bent and smashed items again.  This is a good time to explore what is new and exciting this season and how to use the latest design trends to liven up your home and entertaining this year.

Here are five creative ideas to make this holiday unlike any before:

Tweak the traditional Christmas colors. We all know red and  green as the colors of the season.  But how boring is that?  This year, think outside the Christmas box and explore the palette available to you.  Silver and white are very hot this year and always a sharp and sophisticated element to transition into New Years Eve.  Add a touch of blue or violet, especially in the form of ribbons and accessories.  Use ornaments with stripes, polka dots or abstract designs.  This year I am including chocolate into my holiday decor.  Not only does it add warmth and modernism to the room, it brings that organic feeling inside.  Keep to tones that suggest a culinary experience like latte, cocoa or cinnamon.

Greet your guests with dazzle. Designer Tami Leung has created a unique Christmas wreath called "Plumage", exclusively for Horchow. The artful creation covered in beaded faux artichokes, plums, pine cones, berries and feathers integrates nature with vivid use of color.  This festooned masterpiece will add that very special touch to your door.  It's timeless, classic and the perfect combination of nature and bling.  You can also easily make your own personalized wreath.  Find fall leaves or pine cones in your own yard.  Roll in glue and sprinkle with multi colored glitter.  Add old costume jewelry and dried fruit of your own.  Be as creative as you can and make it a family project.  Start now before Thanksgiving and modify your wreath as the season progresses.

Twist your tree. Everyone loves the idea of un-wrapping the ornaments and discovering the one that's been in the family for generations, brought back from vacation or made in grade school.  But this year, do something completelly unexpected.  Decorate your  tree in only one color or with just blue lights.  I've seen trees hung from the ceiling upside down, completely covered in high heels or festooned with dog toys.  One year, my friend Marta and I drove out to the Arizona desert and came home with a large tumbleweed.  Set in an old fruit basket and covered in twinkly colored lights, it was the most talked about "tree" ever.  Metallics are a huge trend this year.  Back in the 60's, my grandparents had a pink aluminum Christmas tree.  At the time, it was considered a complete breach of tradition, but do I wish I had that tree now.  Consider purchasing a live tree in a pot and plant it outside after the holidays.  String lights and keep the tradition going for years.  It's renewable and as you watch it grow, remember the time it was your indoor Christmas tree.

Party like it's 2012. Mix things up with your holiday entertaining and keep the energy high.  Throw a costume party and invite your friends to come as their favorite holiday character.  Decorate the house in a Fiesta theme but make it black tie.  One year we asked friends and family to bring the tackiest ornament they could find.  There was a prize for the most outlandish.  Whatever you do, keep it carefree.  Don't fret over setting the table with fine china and crystal.  Mix and match your dishes and glasses, use different colored napkins and placements at each setting.  The key word this season is innovation.  Combine holiday decor with a Hawaiian tablecloth or other colorful prints.  Put palm fronds in a vase with pine cones and ban poinsettias from the property.  Have a dinner party sitting on the floor with oversized pillows.  Mix themes and traditions from around the world and from different faiths than your own.

Wrap it up. Every year garbage cans overflow with used wrapping paper and trash from the holidays.  Turn up the green factor and recycle what you can.  Find unusual ways to present your gifts.  Don't scoff at keeping the old paper and bows, it's amazing what you can do with a little imagination.  Wrap a box in newspaper or cut out pictures and pages from old magazines.  Put smaller gifts in the stocking and use less paper.  Last years Christmas cards are great for decorations and as ornaments on the tree.  Bring in branches, twigs and leaves from the yard and decorate your table and mantel.  The simplest things can have the most impact.  A few large ornaments placed in a glass bowl says it all.  Mis-matched candles bring warmth to the room and placed in groupings can have the same impact as a fireplace.

As you can see, it can be simple to decorate your house with style and entertain with flair this year.  This year, everyone will be talking about you and your fabulous home and waiting to see what you do next season!  Have a fun, happy and safe holday.

Steve Wallace lives in Danville, California.  An Interior Designer for 25 years, his work has appeard in Palm Springs Life and he is the author of a soon to be published book about design and the way we live.  You can reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated (Wednesday, 26 March 2014 22:23)



0 #3 Susanna A. Baeza 2011-11-16 17:06
steven, I wish you the Best

Best regards,
0 #2 Carol and John Fara 2011-11-16 04:24
Hi Steve,
Wow, big changes are ahead for you. We wondered if it had been a difficult transition for your to go from managing your own business to working in a retail design and furniture store. We wish you all the best in this new adventure and will try to stop in to see you before the end of the month altho we will be up at our Lake home for a week during Thanksgiving. Best regards, Carol
0 #1 Jane Joyce 2011-11-15 23:07
Hi Steve, surprised to hear about the job change, but wish you all the best. I'm sure you've managed to build up your clientele in the East Bay.


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