Seasonal colors dress up rooms for the holidays

November 26, 2005|By CHRISTINE BRUN

Regardless of the size of your home, the chances are you want to dress it up for the holidays. But bulky seasonal decorations can seem ridiculous in a small home by further cramping already space-challenged rooms.

Think instead in terms of how you might slightly shift the colors of more typical household items to acknowledge this special time of year. Changing the colors of your accessories can dress up your home for the season without taking up all of your spare room.

The faux amaryllis holiday arrangement shown here is an elegant way to dress up any table. Warm, deep-red striped amaryllis blossoms, roses, ranunculus and rose hips set in a container of light green amaryllis stems would work at any time of the year. Anyone who knows that the amaryllis blooms in December, however, will appreciate the seasonal significance.

It is always a challenge to find room for even a small evergreen Christmas tree, but a floral arrangement such as this one can serve the same purpose. Use it as the centerpiece on your dining table or set it on a cocktail table. Either way, you don't lose any extra functional space.


Another colorful holiday trick is to introduce dreamy layered table dressings. Pair a gauzy underskirt with a satin or silk scarf. Or commission a taffeta or moire underskirt and top it with patterned fabric.

Incorporate antique family quilts into the design, or consider buying a cotton bed quilt with cozy colors to be used for your table covering. Table linens are space-friendly ways to add seasonal color and can be economically stored in plastic boxes under a bed during the rest of the year.

Fill a sturdy woven basket, long and low, with evergreens. Add pine cones, nuts, dried flowers, lemons, pomegranates or red apples. Clear glass containers are stunning when layered with real fruit and fresh flower blossoms on top. Choose dark-red cherries or red apples coupled with white chrysanthemums or freesia.

Another way to introduce seasonal color is by changing the throws in the living room to thick, fuzzy covers in deep burgundy, forest green or red. Put away a couple of the pillows that match your sofa and introduce a few more ornate ones with winter sparkle for a little bling.

Some of the most effective decorations begin with one really simple idea that is repeated multiple times. For instance, a length of gauzy ribbon with three or four ornaments tied onto it can be your basic element. When several of these are hung from the bottom of a soffit, they become significant and attractive.

Garlands are ever-popular when wound together with clear twinkle lights. Try faux bay leaves and juniper twigs or introduce the fragrance of the real thing. Another favorite is the bell'arancia garland with dried orange slices, quince and pomegranate on a bed of fresh magnolia leaves. Such garlands and wreaths will blend successfully with your existing interior color scheme so that the room doesn't seem cluttered with decorations. Wreaths of gorgeous red chili peppers, orange safflowers and purple oregano blooms, combined with golden yarrow blossoms, also introduce holidays in a subtle way.

Anything that can hang on a wall, door or window is space-friendly. Items that twist around the banister or through the open beams are good, too. If your decorations are off the floor, leaving room for walking and your regular traffic patterns, everyone in your home will better enjoy this special time.

Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and the author of "Big Ideas for Small Spaces." Send questions and comments to her by e-mail at or to Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, CA 92112.

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