Home & Garden

Give Your Home Some ‘Fresh’ Holiday Decor

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Trends in home decor – even Christmas decor – are ever-changing, and fresh ideas are popping up all the time. Here are a few new concepts you’re likely to see in suburban homes this holiday season.

Now that the holiday season is here, we can fill our homes with bright and colorful Christmas decorations. But if you want an updated look, experts in our area can help you freshen up your abode this holiday season.

Once the holidays are upon us, it’s time to bring out our favorite lights and decorations as we turn our homes into winter wonderlands. 

But maybe some of your lights don’t work quite right, or your decorations look a little aged. Maybe you’re decorating your home for the first time, or you just want to create a different vibe than in the past. 

Trends in home decor – even Christmas decor – are ever-changing, and fresh ideas are popping up all the time. Here are a few new concepts you’re likely to see in suburban homes this holiday season.

Organic Colors

Mary Meyn, owner of Yours & Meyn, 33 N. Williams Street, in downtown Crystal Lake, scours several markets for inspiring ideas she can bring to her customers’ homes. Over the past few years, she’s noticed things gradually shifting toward a lighter, more natural color palette – even in Christmas decor. 

“We’ve seen a lot of snowy greenery and a lot of ice greenery, in particular,” Meyn explains.

With colors like white, fern and moss green, this touch of nature works well with the reclaimed wood/driftwood look that’s showing up in all aspects of home decor. 

Introduce a little of your own organic color palette this season with one of Meyn’s latest discoveries: iced succulents.

“They’re faux succulents that look like what you would see in the wild, every summer in Arizona,” Meyn says. “This year’s trends have brought about a vast collection of styles and designs from woodsy rustic trees and decor to a glittery champagne tree filled with many of those icy succulents, champagne fronds and sprigs. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.”

In addition to the iced succulents, the team at Yours & Meyn has interspersed some unusual sprigs and greeneries into their decor. From snowy pine cone stems to glitter-iced pine boughs, there’s much to add to the mantel and tabletop.

Tabletop accessories are a major consideration when decorating your home, and you’re likely to see a lot more sparkle and glitter this season, especially when visiting the showroom at Yours & Meyn. 

Still popular are word or message signs, which have gone hand-in-hand with the growth of the farmhouse style seen frequently in newer designs. 

 “As the farmhouse look works its magic into the holiday season, it naturally lends itself to wood word signs,” says Meyn. “As we have seen this trend continue, we have found that our customers are wanting to add other elements, such as decorative tabletop trees perhaps wrapped with wire and bell garlands. We have also brought a fun new woolen theme into our holidayscapes, and our customers are loving it.”

A Festival of Lights

The pool and spa showroom isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of holiday decorations and lighting, but Arvidson Pools & Spas, with locations in Crystal Lake, St. Charles and Palatine, comes top of mind to many local residents. 

Company President Dennis Marunde has made it a priority to provide installation for holiday lighting and other accessories for the holiday season. 

One “mega trend” Marunde has noticed this year is the transition from the old-fashioned incandescent lights to vibrant, high-efficiency LED products.

“It has been a game-changer,” Marunde says. “A really good LED light costs more than the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, but they are much safer to work with. There is much less energy consumption involved, and they are far more reliable in terms of overall performance.”

Many LEDs also come with a feature called RGB, which uses a triumvirate of colors – red, green and blue – to customize displays. Essentially, this feature allows someone to tint their lights in most any color they’d prefer.

As LED lights grow in popularity, they’re also showing up in new ways such as tree wrapping, which is just what it sounds like: a tree wrapped in a net of lights.

“You make a column of light, and then the lights continue on up into the branches,” explains Marunde. “Sometimes it’s called a canopy wrap, where it’s just wrapped around the outside of the tree to look like a big ball, and other times it’s wrapped around individual branches, which creates a completely different effect – more like a plume, you could say.”

Lights are versatile and can go in many places, but Marunde warns it’s important to keep a balanced approach when decorating. For example, only stringing lights in the gutter makes it look like there’s a band of white floating mid-air. On the flip side, it’s also easy to decorate ad nauseam.

“A lot of people love going all out,” explains Marunde. “But the designs that win awards are the ones that have thought about balance all the way through.” 

Perhaps surprisingly, Marunde finds that customers aren’t just decorating for themselves. In line with the Christmas spirit, they’re also sharing with others.

“We have people saying they’re doing it for the neighborhood,” says Marunde. 

Presenting a Theme

At Alden Health Care & Senior Living Community, interior design is a major priority – so much so that Alden employs a design team particularly for that task. Tamra Thourot, director of interiors at ADG-Design, which serves Alden communities across Illinois and southern Wisconsin, likes to start with a theme when decorating for the holidays, or any season, really. 

“You can pick a variety of colors like pink or blue, and sparkles of gold or silver,” she says. “The idea is to take that theme and run with it. Do it in your tree, but also for decorating your mantle and your front door, maybe even your gift wrapping and holiday table settings.”

In recent years, Thourot has seen a stronger trend toward natural elements, greenery and flower arrangements. Keep things simple, and incorporate lots of greenery into the fireplace mantle and the dining table, she explains.

“It smells great to use evergreen branches and eucalyptus,” says Thourot. “You can add punches or pops of red with branches that have little red berries, and bowls of pomegranates and cranberries. Keeping everything natural is a big trend that goes with the popular farmhouse design.”

In the rush to decorate for Christmas, it’s easy to lose sight of one important thing: your new and old holiday decor should complement, not clash.

Luckily, there’s a growing trend in eclectic themes that play up mismatches.
 “If you have children or grandchildren who are making homemade ornaments, you’ll find warm, white lights lend themselves to this kind of eclectic mix of design, and they can still be elegant,” she says. 

Your theme ultimately depends on your home and what type of style is already there. If your home emphasizes more modern designs, it’s trendy to add a bold twist someplace.

“If you have a nice bookcase, it’s nice to take those books out and then create a festive focal point and decorate the whole bookcase for the holiday,” Thourot suggests.

Trimming the Tree

Perhaps the most important staple of your holiday decor is the Christmas tree. At Treetime, 22102 N. Pepper Road, in Lake Barrington, the tree is the star of the show. It specializes in selling a variety of artificial Christmas trees, garlands, ornaments and other decorations for the season. 

Owner Laurie Kane has seen numerous trends come and go in her nine years in business. Most recently, she’s seen a movement toward more whimsical and classical pieces, such as collections of Santa Clauses or snowmen. Kane has also noticed more people looking for ways to complement their own personal style.  

“We have a look that we call our ‘modern farmhouse’ Christmas,” Kane explains. “It’s a lot of grays and white, and a little bit of a birch-y feeling that matches a lot of home decor. People really like these different styles that are non-traditional Christmas colors.”

At the same time, Kane has noticed customers purchasing multiple trees they can place in different rooms of their homes. 

“You can do a traditional family tree with your kids that has all of the ornaments you have collected over the year,” Kane says. “And then you may do a second tree with a specific theme. Lots of people like to use small trees to bring that holiday feeling without as much work. Then, there are tons of cool lights you can use to update your older trees. You could add twinkling lights or new star lights.”

Treetime is open only between Labor Day and the second week in January, but it does sell online year-round. When it’s open for the season, Treetime’s Lake Barrington showroom offers multiple classes, in which designers will teach helpful tips on things like decorating a mantle or tricking out your Christmas tree. 

“We explain the difference between trees and help you find what might work best for your house,” says Kane.

For anyone who wants to freshen up their current tree, Kane suggests using floral picks. 

“We have tons of beautiful and natural-looking evergreens and floral picks,” she says. “If I picked one thing to update my home, I’d add floral to my trees, my wreaths or my garlands, or I’d just put them in a vase. I think that’ll give a fresh, natural feel without a lot of work.”

Floral Themes

At family-owned Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery & Garden Center, 5301 E. Terra Cotta Ave., in Crystal Lake, which celebrates its 60th anniversary next year, floral designer Amanda Nicolai has noticed a growing interest in color schemes that reflect the outdoors and nature, but with an added sprinkle of glitz. 

“You might incorporate birds into your design, but they have either frost or wintry qualities, too,” Nicolai says. “You have the natural element, but then that bit of glitz that brings even more of a holiday look and feel.”

Repetition counts for a lot in your design. Try creating groupings of candlesticks with your floral arrangements, or else create groupings of vases and containers.

Nicolai suggests using multiple candles in a group to achieve a larger look. 
“You could maybe just add a couple more pieces to it each year,” Nicolai says.

If you’re looking for something a little different to add to your home, try adding some “critters,” like cutesy insects, owls, foxes and squirrels that can either mix into your interior or your outside landscape.

“Don’t make things too difficult,” says Nicolai. “Just keep it simple and do something you can easily do yourself. We have a lot of things that people can easily do themselves to make their home beautiful.”

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