Decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to be the usual gold, silver, green and red palette. It can be so much more, especially considering where we all live – coastal Florida. And since more and more homes are being outfitted with the new contemporary trend of soft blues, deep chocolate browns, white washed furniture and silver accessories, we may have a challenge with decorating in the traditional vein, with the result being somewhat disconcerting.

In these new trendy spaces the use of sparkly sand dollars, gilded starfish, chrome seahorses, sea glass candle holders, items we see all year round, but collected together can sing Christmas carols loud and strong. A clever arrangement of these lively iconic things, surrounding a centerpiece, clustered beside the candlesticks, dispersed in evergreen garland strung along the mantel, the archway, the ever present Doric column all say Holiday time.
Color Consider deep turquoise, chrome, antique white and lime green in a seersucker plaid, in a flower arrangement or decorations on a Norfolk Pine Tree, something different than the conical Balsam Pine we put up year after year. Now this would be a true statement of our climate, our surroundings and the natural beauty that envelopes us every day.

Texture Consider a cable knit throw in antique white, deep turquoise and eggplant velvet throw pillows with tiny sea shell cording that match the tree skirt circling the graceful Norfolk. Keeping the plain sisal rug down works great in anchoring the grouping and is reflective of sand drifts.

Take a trip to one of the many areas in our county to gather pine cones, highlight with matte white spray paint and hang them, instead of Christmas balls, on the tree as the garland or tie them together to form a wreath or spray for the front door. This look is classic Cottage in design and feel, not to mention a bright welcoming sign to any home.

Scale It is an important design rule to mix up the size of these items. Too many shapes all the same size get visually lost or confusing, but the small, medium, large always catches the eye. When arranging, use odd numbers, 3, 5 or 7 – this creates visual rhythm, interest and balance. If space allows consider clustering 3 trees together in varying heights, all decorated as one unit with the same collection of decorations. The visual punch here would be that each tree could have its own signature crown, following the size of the trees, again echoing that rhythm.

Lighting Without light there is nothing. Of course on the outside of the house, we all look for the string of lights outlining the eves but consider accenting your exterior in a different way. Spot light the front door and wreath, up light the garland wrapped columns with directional lights and highlight the walkways with string lights. Once inside, the glow of candles and dimmed incandescent lighting sets the mood. Perhaps instead of drowning the tree in string lights, hang tiny facetted mirror balls on the limbs and graze it with a floor light to get that sparkle and life.

Harmony In the end, keep in mind that your holiday decorations should harmonize in color, texture and scale with their existing surroundings to give the best overall appearance and festive atmosphere that will be organized, tasteful and joyfully pleasing to the eye.
Wishing you Peace and Joy this Holiday Season, and of course … Happy Decorating!

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