- - Thursday, December 15, 2011

If you are feeling pressured to add some decorative pizazz to your home to wow your holiday guests but have spent your end-of-the-year budget on gifts, don’t panic. Local interior designers have an array of inexpensive ways to give your house a unique look without overspending.

One of the simplest ways to add a festive touch to your home, along with the scent of the season, is to bring in greenery.

Denise Willard, owner and principal of Decor by Denise in Vienna, said,”Take a walk around your yard and cut natural holly, magnolias or pine swags for your interior decorations. Collect pine cones and use these pieces in vases or metal tins to create stunning centerpieces. Couple a few pine swags with an ornament or two and some decorative ribbon to create beautiful adornments for your windows or doors. Place your pine cones in a nice basket with a set of white lights.”

Kelley Proxmire, principal of Kelley Interior Design in Bethesda, also offered some ideas using natural objects, suggesting adding a touch of berries or nuts with pine cones and placing them in an ordinary container such as a soup tureen or bowl.

Iantha Carley, owner of Iantha Carley Interiors in Silver Spring, said she likes to use orchids, hydrangea stems and poinsettias along with moss, magnolia leaves and twigs in planters and containers, and she mixes traditional and unexpected elements in her holiday decorations.

By Angie Seckinger/Courtesy of Shanon Munn
Using pretty display stands can make the desserts part of the table's decorations.
By Angie Seckinger/Courtesy of Shanon Munn Using pretty display stands can make ... more >

Jessica Bonness, an interior designer with JBG Interiors in the District, said, “A simple garland on the inside of your door is unexpectedly welcoming and smells lovely. A wreath on each interior door is extravagant and festive, and you can even use different ribbons to customize them, such as studding a wreath for your teen daughter’s bedroom with pink feathers and rhinestones.”

Ms. Bonness said that while many people prefer a traditional red-and-green palette for Christmas decorations, you should feel free to expand your color choices to include other inventive combinations, such as gold and aubergine. Ms. Carley recommended using inexpensive organza ribbons in nontraditional colors to accessorize a wreath.

Shanon Munn, an interior designer and principal of Ambi Design Studio in McLean, uses stiff-wired ribbon for large bows to attach to the top of an existing mirror, keeping long tails to swag over the mirror’s edges and stream down the sides.

“A simple way to give your holiday decorations a ‘designer look’ is to stick to two or, at most, three colors,” Ms. Willard said. “This year, the silver-and-green color combination is hot.”

Ms. Willard suggested choosing a theme and using it throughout your home.

“Infuse your theme into everything from your front-door wreath to your tree and trimmings to your table settings. If ‘Hollywood glam’ is your theme, use feathers, crystals, mirrored pieces and high-impact colors to bring the theme to life,” she said. “Decorate your gifts in the same colors as your tree to continue with the color cohesion from the top of the tree to the gifts on the floor below.

“If your theme is ‘Santa’s Workshop,’ then elves, the traditional colors of red, green and white as well as Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the reindeer are in order.”

Ms. Munn suggested adding a strand of crystal or pearl garland to a plain chandelier and using plenty of wall torchieres and candlesticks with candles to match the rest of the holiday decor.

“Use lots of candles, including votives and candlesticks that don’t match that can be grouped together in trays for display,” Ms. Proxmire said. “Put fresh greens around candles placed in glass hurricane lamps.”

Ms. Willard suggested purchasing a charger for use as a platter for a “candlescape.”

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