Five Designer Holiday Decorating Ideas

Usher in the holidays with decorations and traditions in your home to create memorable moments that will last long after the torn wrapping paper and ripped bows have been discarded. Follow five designer holiday decorating ideas for inspiration to creating your own unique holiday designs.

 A Well Dressed Home, Dallas, Texas

The first of our designer holiday decorating ideas comes from Carolyn Hrncir and Liz Villarreal of A Well Dressed Home. They love having a mixture of textures to add a festive sparkle, but a warm, comfortable vibe is their goal. “You can do this by mixing burlap and shinny golds and silvers,” they say. “It’s all about the correct mix and layering.”

Layers add interest to the tree designed by A Well Dressed Home


Meg Braff Designs, New York

Meg Braff tends to shy away from too much red at Christmas. “I prefer a ‘shades of green’ scheme,” she says. “Besides magnolia (a Southern staple––she’s a native of Tupelo, MS) and assorted pine branches, I’ll mix in a few blooms, and, depending on my mood that year, a touch of gold or silver for some sparkle.”

Meg Braff’s dining table last year-a mix of greenery, a few roses and her favorite gold bamboo flatware.

Parker Kennedy Living, Atlanta, Georgia

Lance Jackson and David Ecton of Parker Kennedy Living  shared five of their favorite tips with us. First, they love vintage “shiny brights” galls ornaments from the ’50s and ’60s. “We love to mix them with fresh boxwood and evergreens in antique compotes on foyer tables and collections or as groupings as a dining room centerpiece,” says Lance. They also love anything citrus––fresh citrus is always perfect for the holidays! They use lemons and oranges the most on garland, wreaths and mixed in decorative bowls and compotes all around the house.

“And fresh magnolia leaves are always on point for the holidays because every Southern home needs a touch of fresh magnolia leaves in the holiday decorations,” say the Georgia designers. “It can be easily mixed into faux garland, faux wreaths to create a realistic feel without a lot of work. We usually pick the leaves right off the extra large magnolia trees here at The Governors Mansion.”


Parker Kennedy Living makes and sells one-of-a-kind wreaths.

Fresh cranberries in clear vases of water with fresh flowers also makes a great decoration, as the red berries add a pop of festive color. And, they make a vintage Christmas wreath that they sell all over the country. “All year round, we collect the perfect vintage collection of Christmas ornaments to make the most festive wreaths in color schemes from pink and green to red and green. We have even done a Tiffany Blue wreath, which was a big hit that we repeated several times.”

Catherine M. Austin Interior Design, Charlotte, NC

Cathy Austin tries to keep Christmas pretty simple, but impactful. “My great aunt inspired a tradition where each Christmas ornament holds special significance for a member of our family,” she says. “I remember visiting her as a child and listening to her for hours tell stories behind each ornament found on her travels around the world from Sicily to Kathmandu. Our tree reflects every milestone from births and christenings to trips to farfetched places and silly gag gifts from friends that we have converted into ornaments.” Cathy always wants her interiors to tell the story of one’s life, and she thinks the Christmas tree should do the same thing.

Each of Cathy Austin’s ornaments on her tree tells a different story.

Brynn Olson Design Group, Chicago, IL

When it comes to decking your halls, Brynn Olson always votes for thinking outside the “red and green” holiday box. “Some of the most magical holiday interiors involve a foundation of ivory or white throughout, mixing in golds and silvers (yes both!) and then surveying the fabrics already in your room and bringing those colors and textures into your decor,” she says. “For instance, have blue velvet throw pillows or upholstery in your living room? Buy yourself some decadent navy velvet ribbon and tie gorgeous bows into your holiday tree and garland for a well-curated result. The perfect decorating trick is making sure that ribbon has wired edges to achieve the perfect full bow every time.”