Holiday Ready Home
14 December 2017

Making a Holiday-Ready Home

This holiday season, award-winning designer Mary Douglas Drysdale shares her tips on decking your halls with festive and cozy charm.

December is a time to share with family and friends. It’s a season marked by both generosity and indulgence. We hope to inspire your holiday spirit by sharing fresh and fanciful ideas to decorate and entertain this year. Whether you’re the host or the hosted, whether your style is over the top or totally reclaimed and recycled, do what makes you feel festive. Celebrate, get creative, be thoughtful, surprise yourself and have fun!

Make Things Merry and Bright. Deck your halls with colors you love. Don’t be bound by the expected or seasonal standbys—pick a scheme that works well with your home design and architecture. From the gentle beauty of winter white to the romance of jewel tones, if your seasonal decorations complement the colors and patterns of your house, go for it! Go forward with confidence and a sense of adventure as you decorate. Nothing says holiday like a home that sparkles and exudes the joy and hospitality of the season.

Dazzle with a Well-set Table. There are several elements of design that add charm to a table and make an impression such as flowers, decorative plates, festive cloth and linens, and a few surprises. A beautiful napkin embellished with a seasonal decoration is a charming and a wonderful decorative touch.

To add simple embellishment to a napkin, tie on an ornament, ribbon, or pinecone, or add a special jeweled napkin ring. If you use an ornament, gift it to your guests and consider placing a small gift under or on top of each napkin. In a casual setting, use cheerful decorative napkins. A plaid and richly colored tablecloth is a great setting for a holiday table. Mix and match your plates for eclectic and unexpected cheer. Use your imagination and make the experience of your table a delight.

Remember Festive Trimmings for Seasonal Curb Appeal. More than a lighted snowman on the roof or in the yard, a wreath on the door says, “Welcome.” Garlands are most effective when used to frame an architectural element. Trim your windows and doors inside and out, and weave roping along your stairs to outline them.

Select your wreath according to individual taste and make sure its color complements the exterior finish of your door. To add more punch to a basic green wreath, enhance it with pinecones, colorful fruit or ribbons. If bright color is not for you, an over-scaled pinecone wreath can be stunning—it has a wonderful organic texture, lasts for years and brings the outdoors in. Magnolia branches are gorgeous and pine needles bring a holiday scent.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. Create a place in or around your home that says it all. Stage a special scene as the backdrop for fabulous photos by adding a holiday message or garland to a wall, hanging an oversized wreath and adding other themed decorations. For a larger party, think about having a photographer take commemorative shots and send them to your guests. When staging the perfect photo opportunity, don’t forget about light. Use your windows and doors to naturally light your Instagramable décor.

A Handmade Holiday. The memories of the holiday season aren’t defined solely by presents and parties, but by the preparations as well. Gather with friends and family to make handmade ornaments, stockings, wreaths and wrapping paper. These handcrafted creations may be passed down among family members for generations to come. When you are a holiday guest, gift your hosts with something sweet as a wonderful thank you.

As you prepare for the holiday season, remember your decorations don’t have to be of any particular color and you don’t have to follow any particular rules. Choose decorations that work well with the architecture and design of your home and feel welcoming, joyful and unique to you! Happy Holidays!

From farmhouse to townhouse, Mary Douglas Drysdale provides architectural and decorative solutions crafted for the individual. Visit to learn more.