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Decorating for the Holiday Season

When the holidays come around, it can be overwhelming to think about decorating, especially if you don’t know where to begin.


When I was growing up, my dad would put these “Charlie brown” type big multi-colored lights in the window.

(It probably wasn’t a good look because they were stapled to the frame and there was an extra piece of plastic stapled onto the window frame to “keep the cold air out.” )

He would also get a tree which sat on the top of a table and would undoubtedly have way too much tinsel on it! I loved it though, not for its aesthetic appeal, but because it symbolized a time of year where my brother and I could get excited about presents to come! As a child, that’s what really mattered. It was symbolic for me of something to look forward to and get excited about.

I had a best friend whose mother graduated from OCAD and who had a flare for aesthetics. Her parents were together (unlike mine) and every time I was over there, the house would be clean, and it seemed like there was always something baking. Her mom and dad would always have a simple but elegant tree. In fact, one year, her mother made a bunch of gingerbread ornaments and put them all over the tree. I was equally hugged and welcomed by this.

Regardless of what your family traditions are, and what great and not so great memories you have, we are shaped by them. So, please take this dos and don’ts list with a grain of salt. Design is typically a perfect balance of aesthetics which evokes something in you. Some things you may have a visceral reaction too and others will hug you.


Decorating Do’s:

  1. UNITY. Full stop. Make sure whatever you are doing, there is a repeating element. Ex. If your dominant color is red, make sure it repeats in other places in your room other than just the tree.

  2. TREE PICKING. Make sure the size of the tree, real or not, is right for the space it’s in. It’s more important to buy a tree that is the right size instead of buying a tree to use up the number of decorations you have. Ultimately If you have a 4ft. tree in a stately room with 12ft. ceilings, It’s not going to make much of an impact.

  3. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. If you have a massive space, you may need more than one tree in that space. There, I said it! Think of a grouping of three with three different heights together.

  4. SIZE MATTERS. If you have repeating elements on a tree in different sizes, it gives the tree depth and visual interest. If all your ornaments are the same size, visually your tree can read as very “one dimensional.” Likewise, if your ornaments are ALL the same size, they may compete, and your eye doesn’t know where to land.

  5. MAKE YOUR TREE DISTINCTLY YOU. What are things you want to incorporate from your past Christmas experiences? Those things evoke feelings of comfort, positive memories etc. The tree is not just for the guests you host through the holiday season. You see that thing every day during the Christmas countdown so make it something that resonates with you!

Decorating Dont's:

  1. SMALL CHILDREN. If you have toddlers or very young children, don’t put the breakable ornaments within reach of little hands.

  2. TREES. If you opt for a real tree, don’t expect it to look perfect. Most of the decorated trees you see on Pinterest are pre-lit manufactured trees. The real ones have imperfections which is part of the charm. Also, real trees may change over the course of the season. It may not look as fresh the day you take it down as the day you put it up.

  3. EDIT. Know when to stop. Just because you have a large collection of ornaments, doesn’t mean they ALL need to go on the tree! Sometimes Less is more.

  4. TINSEL. From a purely aesthetic perspective, tinsel does not scream “sophistication.” If tinsel brings you joy and that joy surpasses your care for aesthetics, then, bust out the tinsel.’ From a design perspective however, it’s hard not to make tinsel look kitschy. If that’s the look you’re going for, then “tinsel away.”

  5. TREE TOPPERS. Don’t leave the top of the tree naked. The eye should be drawn up. A blank treetop is like following a story which has no ending. The top of the tree is an opportunity to make a statement. It doesn’t have to be a conventional star or angel though. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, just don’t leave it blank.

Are you struggling to re-design your home, or are your looking for an Interior design & build firm in the Oakville and Burlington area? If so, don’t hesitate to reach out today!

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