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    Designer Karen Gallagher mixes old and new in this tablescape designed for a holiday home tour in Cumberland Foreside, Maine.

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    Paperwhites are the forgotten holiday flower, says William Johnson, Senior Designer at East End Interiors in Long Island, NY.

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Paperwhites are the forgotten holiday flower, says William Johnson, Senior Designer at East End Interiors in Long Island, NY.


Ornament Strategy

When hanging ornaments, try to place the larger ones closer to the inside of the branches and the smaller ones on the tips of the branches, suggests Sandra King of Sandra King Interiors in NC's Triangle.

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  • Decorators Share Their Holiday Tips

    Dress your home like a pro with these tips from the professionals.

    by Trisha McBride Ferguson

    We searched the country for the best holiday decorating advice from stylemakers, decorators and designers. Here are some ways you can bring color, spirit and glamour to your home, courtesy of designer members of the Interior Design Society.


    Mix Vintage with New

    Designer Karen Gallagher of Karen Gallagher Interiors in North Yarmouth, Maine, is an expert at mixing old and new holiday decor. She likes vintage items for their nostalgia and the story they tell. Then she adds a few new pieces for interest, mixing genres, decades and textures to create the feeling of looking from the present back through the years. While working on a holiday home at an 1890 estate in Cumberland Foreside, Maine, she decorated the table with a collection of real birds nests filled with antique Christmas ornament 'eggs' and then added vintage glass and feather bird ornaments, antique crystal and candlesticks.

     bird's nest


    Don't Add, Replace

    The biggest mistake homeowners make is adding holiday items to their existing accessorized spaces, says KathyLynn Gariboldi, lead designer and owner of reInventedSpaces in Raleigh, NC. This method results in a cluttered, unorganized look. Instead, remove existing items, pack and store safely away. Replace with holiday items that are similar in size and shape. For example: If you remove a tall vase from a bookshelf, replace it with a Christmas tree that is similar in height. And to make sure your room comes back together in January, take a photo of the space before you start and you'll have a reference of how to put the room in order.


    Keep it Simple (and Gorgeous)

    Decorations don't have to be expensive to be stunning, shares Huntington, NY, interior designer Millie Mederos. She suggests filling martini glasses with cold water and then adding red cranberries. Next, put a floating tea candle in the center. You can use in place of traditional candles on your dining table or throughout your home.


    Embrace Bulbs

    Paperwhites are the forgotten holiday flower, says William Johnson, Senior Designer at East End Interiors, Long Island, NY. These gorgeous flowers are easy to grow, full of fragrance, and versatile in style. And the clean white flower of the paperwhite looks stunning placed with fresh cut greens or twigs.



    A New Take on the Ol' Wreath

    Endia Veerman, owner of Morph Interior Design in Little Rock, Ark., has some new ideas for wreaths. Try giving your children a wreath as a blank canvas for them to decorate. Supply the wreath and a variety of ornaments and decorations. Then let them display it on their bedroom door. This works well if you are having guests stay in your guest room as well—give them a wreath and decorations and let them decorate it for their guest room door. Help them personalize it with a quote or monogram and then give it to them to take home as a hostess gift.


    Tree Trimming Tips

    Here are some cool tree trimming tips from Sandra King of Sandra King Interiors in NC's Triangle area:

    -When hanging ornaments, try to place the larger ones closer to the inside of the branches and the smaller ones on the tips of the branches.

    -Decorate your tree with a theme, such as decorative birds, sports or gardening. Or, make it a nostalgic tree and cover with family photos and old postcards.

    -Give your tree a color theme. Choose just one color or a color combination and stick to it: silver and gold; purple and silver; pink and silver; blue and white; sorority or fraternity colors or favorite team colors.

    -Put all of your electric decorations on timers and make sure they are in sync with one another.


    Recreate Memories

    Katy Hahn of Beautiful Interiors For Less in central Florida likes to decorate one little spot in each room to lead guests through the home until they reach the big Christmas tree. "I like to create little stories; they can be stories you make up or be taken from one of your favorite Christmas movies, like Miracle On 34th Street. One of my favorite stories comes from ice skating and sipping hot chocolate as a child." Katy recreates that scene using a mirror and cotton white as snow, accented with little ceramic figures skating around a Christmas tree.


    Involve all the Senses

    Designer Tanna Barnecut of Tanna By Design involves all the senses by capturing the scent of the holidays as well. She suggests soaking pinecones in cinnamon scent and placing them in small baskets throughout the house to add a festive holiday aroma. 


    Go Wild

    "Who says the Christmas tree has to be on the ground?" asks MckInney, Texas designer Alba Dorsch of Dorsch Interiors. Check out her unique solution: she hung the tree from the ceiling.


    And it twirls!



    Create a Theme

    Interior designer and event planner Afaf Batayneh, of Elegant Home Design in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., creates a wintry white wonderland theme by hanging sparkling crystals and glittered accents from tall branches displayed in a centerpiece vase.