Simple Ideas to Bring the Holidays into Your Home

When parents are working, kids are in school and weekends are full of activities, holiday planning can get a little harried. But who doesn’t want to make their home warm and inviting this time of year?

When time is limited, take a few simple tips from the experts at The Art Institutes for making your home beautiful and comforting this holiday season.

Take Advantage of Nature

Judy Bolt, an interior design instructor with The Art Institute of Houston, encourages you to look outdoors and use your imagination. “Here in the South, we have pine cones everywhere. I collect them, paint them with a glittery gold spray from a craft store and hang them on my Christmas tree,” says Bolt. To finish the tree, she makes a large bow with a beautiful fabric and simply attaches it to the top with a glue gun.

Other favorites from nature are magnolia leaves and branches, abundant in many parts of the South. “They have beautiful, large, shiny leaves that are around all winter long,” says Bolt. For something special but easy, Bolt cuts a wreath shape out of cardboard then uses a hot glue gun to affix magnolia leaves to the circular shape. She then places dinner plates in the center for a simple look with a big impact.

Ornaments to Remember

When Donna Daley, interior design instructor with The Art Institute of Philadelphia, gets ready to decorate her home for the holidays, she goes all out. “We have a spare design scheme during the year, but for Christmas, we pull out all the stops,” says Daley. A particular favorite of her family is its collection of Christmas ornaments. Daley saves homemade decorations from when her children were younger, and combines them with purchased decorations from family vacations. “When we unpack our ornaments and hang them on the tree, it’s a wonderful way to remember special family times,” she says.

For outside the home, Daley likes to pick a focal point. For her home, it’s the front door. “We have an oversized front door, so I get a beautiful large wreath. Around the door we use different-sized planters filled with greens and then hang lots of garland,” Daley says. By picking one focal point outside, your home will look classic, simple and set a welcoming tone for family and friends.

Small Trees for a Big Impact

Consider small trees (three- or four-foot) to add style throughout your home. John Franke, an instructor in the interior design department at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, says a small kitchen tree placed in a pretty terra cotta planter could be decorated with cookie-cutters, miniature pans or cinnamon sticks. A small entrance hall tree, placed on a table, could be embellished with holiday cards tied with yarn. A family room tree, adorned with family photos, children’s creations and family heirloom pieces, will help preserve memories for years to come.

Franke suggests considering the architecture of your home while decorating for the holidays. A colonial home will look its best with classic Williamsburg-style adornments, and a contemporary home demands dramatic color and sophistication.

Last but not least, don’t forget the design element of fragrance in your holiday home. Bayberry-scented candles, fresh greens, citrus, and potpourri are easy to find and all exude a welcoming aroma.

The Art Institutes system of 23 education institutions is located nationwide, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. The Art Institutes system of schools has provided career-oriented education programs for over 35 years with more than 125,000 graduates.
Courtesy of ARA Content
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