Putting a holiday spin on your home decor doesn't have to be an expensive or an intimidating proposition. With a few creative additions, a home can reflect the spirit of the season.
The interior designers of Orange County's ASID Philharmonic House of Design share a potpourri of decorating ideas to help your soon-to-be holidays glitter a bit brighter.
* Nancy Bailey, Jon Jahr & Associates: "Use several English-style topiaries in various shapes instead of a typical tree."
* Lana Barth, Lana Barth Design: "To make a strong statement with tree ornaments, limit the number of colors and shapes to no more than three and keep repeating these at intervals. Comb the kids' toy boxes for miniature toys which can be spray-painted all in one color. Decorate your mantle with dozens of candles of the same color.
"Use wreaths, which come in all styles and sizes. The more traditional ones combine Douglas fir with holly and pine cones. Add ribbons made of wallpaper or fabric remnants that match your upholstery or pillows in the room. Use greenery from the garden such as eucalyptus, pine or bluepoint junipers, and be creative. Papier-mache animals sold in craft stores can be covered with green moss and given bright Christmas ribbon collars and bows."
* March Ann Beagle, Cottage & Castle Interiors: "Luminarias--a Christmas tradition in Mexico and the Southwest--are easy and economical to make. A traditional luminaria is made with a brown or kraft bag and weighted with sand at the bottom. A votive-type candle is placed securely in the sand and lit.
"To make a contemporary one, use white bags, usually found at gift shops or department stores. Using a wide taffeta ribbon, cross-wrap the outside of the bag like a Christmas package, complete with a large, decorative bow. Consider using a variety of bag sizes and set them in groups."
* Elaine Hankin, Elaine Hankin Interior Design: "For a contemporary look, use metallic braid, cable, beads, tassels and fringe. Spray-paint charcoal briquettes gold and fill brandy snifters with them, then sprinkle gold confetti on top and use them as table decorations."
* Erin Honeycombe, Erin Honeycombe & Associates: "For homes with 18-foot ceilings, buy a 14-foot tree and decorate Styrofoam balls. Drip them in glue and roll, splash, sprinkle them with glitter, sequins, ribbons and fabric, and tie them with velvet ribbons onto the tree."
* Betty Hyde, Ultimate Designs Interiors: "Stand long knitting needles on their ends and twirl and wrap them in wire, then wrap and decorate them with ornaments and garlands.
"Buy Christmas or festive fabrics and cover square pillows, turning them into fabric holiday 'packages.' Cut two sides to the pillow and tie the four ends together in knots and bows. Decorate the pillows with ribbons, wrapping them just like packages. After the holidays, remove the fabric and return your pillows to their yearlong use."
* Eva Lennen, Avart: "My fireplace gets a green garland with pink bows and white doves. Use pink and pastel blue ribbons surrounding a silver trumpet for the front door. For fabrics, use velvets as curtain garlands entwined with ribbons and gold tassels and trim. Long taffeta tablecloths with lace overlays make holiday food look spectacular."
* Lynn Lonzo, Lynn Lonzo Interior Design: "Drape the sides and top of the doorway with fresh green bows of pine or juniper, or use a faux long-needle-pine garland. String red Christmas lights through the greenery. This gives a dramatic look before you enter the house. Place red or white poinsettia plants on the front porch as well as inside the house to make the entrance warm, full and inviting."
* Abby Menhenett and Lisa Dunlevie, Design Associates West: "For a Victorian look, use lace, nosegays of dried flowers, garlands (velvet ropes, beads, pearls) and red as the dominant accent color.
"For an Art Deco tree, use round white lights, geometric-shaped ornaments, mirrors and glass ornaments.
"A contemporary tree would need white lights, gold, silver, brass, copper ornaments, metallic cording and metallic bead garlands. Combine leaves, pine cones and branches sprayed with metallic paint. Use metallic ribbons.
"Another contemporary tree is one with bright, fun colors and pearlized finishes. Start with a flocked tree with white snow, white lights and 1990 color ornaments--violet, salmon, peach and teal--mixed with opalescent and pearlized balls. Ribbons and bows combine the colors and pearls. Finish it off with dozens of pearl strand garlands."
* Walter Nutting, Walter Nutting & Associates: "Decorate the chandelier like a tree, wrapping it in garland, fabrics, ribbons, beads. Turn on the lights and the Christmas tree is completely lit up, without using any strung lights. This decoration centers a room."