Simple holiday updates

Small changes to bring in that holiday feel

Courtesy of Katie McGovern

By Jennifer Shapira

In any home, it’s easy to make some small changes to bring in that holiday feel. Swap out a muted pastel throw for a more festive-colored one. Substitute patterned accent pillows to add some punch to a living room couch.

The chandelier above the dining room table can take on a fresh, new personality when festooned with silver ribbons or greenery. Artfully place glass vases filled with greens or cranberries in niches that are on exhibit in a high-traffic area, such as an entryway or powder room.

During a party, tone down the lighting. Dim the recessed lights and turn on the kitchen’s under- and over-cabinet lighting for a soft glow, suggests Leesburg-based interior designer Andrea Schwartz.

One of McGovern’s favorite holiday decorating ideas is a tabletop silver tray of white candles in varying heights. “It’s a wonderful and easy centerpiece; it’s beautiful when it’s lit and it’s very easy to do. You can find silver plate trays at thrift stores, or more modern ones at Pottery Barn, Target and Home Goods.” The candles don’t have to match, she says, adding, no particular knack is needed.

Of course, candles aren’t just for the holidays. “I like to use candles all year round. It’s just so lovely. Everybody looks better in candlelight,” says Schwartz, who likes to use unscented candles so as not to tickle guests’ noses or compete with the wafting holiday aromas of fresh-baked pumpkin, zucchini breads or a cooling apple pie. Schwartz also suggests, before an event, place candles in the freezer to limit dripping wax.


(November 2013)