Holiday decor ideas that will have you thinking outside the old ornament box

Ask the Expert Style
Pink ornaments, instead of the traditional Christmas red, freshen and soften this holiday display. Adobe Stock

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it’s time to deck your home with classic decor. Or not.

First lady Melania Trump’s choice of decoration was crimson Christmas trees, but these Massachusetts designers have other ideas, ranging from a new way to light your Christmas tree to layering various colors and patterns.

Melrose-based designer Justine Sterling said for those who want to be on trend, blush is the go-to substitute for a traditional Christmas red this season. “Soft blush with a natural green tree would be a beautiful combination,” especially in neutral-toned rooms, Sterling said.

But how do you accommodate sentimental items and still achieve that on-trend look? Family input is important, Sterling said. “That’s always a challenge, but you really want kids to be able to express themselves.”

One solution is to group decorations into categories based on color, finish, or aesthetic, and then choose two groups that complement each other and the room, she said. “You can pull from the ones that have more nostalgia around them and tell the kids, ‘We’re going to make a bead and glass tree this year,’ ” she said.

Sterling said this exercise includes everyone in the decorating process without disrupting the cohesive look of the home.

Boston designer Patrick Planeta spotted a trend that puts a twist on the traditional Christmas tree setup. The trunk was wrapped in lights, he said, “doing it made this beautiful glow within shining outward.”

Planeta prefers to adorn the home with natural elements that can stay up into the new year. For Christmas, he buys a bare-root tree that can be planted outside after the festivities.

“People just pull down the decorations year after year, and they don’t think about refreshing it that much,” Planeta said. “I’m a big fan of the understated elegance … things that are much more simple and thoughtful.”

He recommends incorporating greenery in every room to change things up, including “della Robbia” wreaths over doorways, flower arrangements on tables, and olive leaf garlands over statues. For a charming centerpiece, put cloves in different fruits and put them in a bowl.

“I find that when people walk into a room that’s peacefully elevated throughout, it’s much more interesting than grabbing you right in the face,” he said.

Maggie Jerde, on the other hand, said she doesn’t follow any rules for holiday decor.

“If there’s any color that you’re really attracted to this season, use it,” the South Shore designer said. “I’m sure there’s a way you can incorporate it.”

Jerde was flipping through fashion magazines last summer when she saw raspberry-colored lip stain and nail polish.

“I thought it would be a wonderful addition to the holidays,” she said. “This season you are seeing a lot of raspberry tones. It’s a nice way to add a pop that’s a little outside of the traditional Christmas colors.”

Jerde encourages families to try layering to tell a story throughout the home. A nostalgic feeling can be achieved with bubble lights, snow-frosted trees, and pickle glass ornaments, she said. For a more sophisticated feel, try rose-colored glass.

“The holidays are about celebration, and it’s about the family coming together, whatever that story might be,” Jerde said.

All of the designers agreed that the best way to approach preparing your home for entertaining is to maximize your countertop space for buffet- and cocktail-style gatherings. That way, the home can accommodate every guest.

“It’s about love; it’s about bringing people together,” Jerde said. “Stick those tables in where you need to. Don’t worry that everybody has to sit at the table.”

The more, the merrier.

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