Our Favorites Tips for Easy Holiday Decorating
For the Home 11/26/12
Written By Cathy Barnhardt
Guests who come to Biltmore before diving into their own holiday decorating can’t help but pick up some tips and ideas during Christmas at Biltmore. There is just too much inspiration all around! Decorating for the holiday season can be a stressful task, but we are sharing our tried and true decorating tips to make it a little easier.
Choose a theme. A theme repeated throughout your holiday decorating scheme will bring continuity of style, color and overall look. Themes can be as simple as a particular color or color palette, or objects that represent memories of family events. Family photos and travel souvenirs are perfect for creating ornaments.
Be choosy. Be selective and stick to your theme. You don’t have to use every ornament or decoration you own each year.
Avoid the “This and That” Scheme. Random placement of glittery things scattered around the room lacks the impact you can achieve if you concentrate on three to five elements (embrace the design “rule of three”). The Christmas tree is one, a mantle might be the second, and the third might be an arrangement on top of an armoire. Within those elements you can go over the top.
It doesn’t have to be red and green. Let your year-round style and colors inspire your holiday look. Take cues from your wall and fabric colors to make your seasonal decor unique to you and your home.
Pack away the everyday. Don’t be afraid to send some of your everyday decorative objects on a short vacation. Replace the mirror over the mantle with a fresh evergreen wreath. Cover your neutral sofa pillows with vivid and bright shams (or replace entirely for the season). Bring out some of your china or silver.
Bring the outside in. Spend an afternoon outside gathering woodsy elements to create a rustic and natural look. Collect pine boughs, holly berries, pine cones, dried flowers and grasses. Add favorite ornaments for a pop of color, or purchase an inexpensive bouquet of fresh flowers, pull it apart and add your own natural materials to create a beautiful seasonal display.
Create the Biltmore sparkle. For a dazzling tree, tuck shiny ornaments deeply into the tree, starting at the trunk, and work outward. This creates depth, color and super-sized shine. Hang special and more decorative ornaments close to the branch tips. Mound your favorite ornaments into bowls on your dining table, or mix them in baskets with pine cones and greenery. Accent your wreaths and garlands with clusters of berries and shiny glass balls of different sizes.
Punch up the glow. Group candles in varying heights throughout your decorating scheme to generate the warmest effect.
Cue the lights! Our team has perfected a no-fuss light-stringing technique you can use on your own tree. First, work each light strand from the top of the tree down, and in sections, rather than round and round. This cuts down on ladder-climbing time. Second, work the lights in toward the trunk of the tree, and then back out to the tip of the next branch, securing the strand by slipping the tree tip between the two wires of the strand. We suggest a 6-foot tree requires 8 sets of 50 lights, a 12-foot tree needs 26 sets, and a 14-foot needs 32 sets.
Do the squint test: To make sure the tree is evenly lit, step back, squint your eyes to make things look blurry, and look for dark or overly bright spots. Rearrange or add lights as needed.