TORONTO — If you’re decking the halls for the holidays, you can still dream big — even in smaller spaces and with a strict budget.
Experts say dedicating even the smallest area of your home to festive decorations can make a statement this season.
Whether you’re hosting a big shindig for friends and family or enjoying a low-key celebration, the dining room table can be a place to convene and socialize or dig into a feast. It can also be a focal point for your holiday decor.
Toronto-based stylist and design expert Arren Williams created several distinctive tabletops with contemporary flair and vibrant colours, incorporating items from HomeSense.
Each display also could be adapted as a standalone piece in other areas of the home, including on the mantel or on a front hall table, he noted.
“It really can work anywhere,” Williams said in an interview at the Winners/HomeSense showroom in Toronto. “I don’t like the holidays looking like it’s a fungus that’s grown all over your house. I would much prefer to see really special moments created.”
For those seeking a traditional look with a twist, Williams showed a display inspired by candy canes with rich red-and-white striped candles, plates and retro canisters which can double as a vase, along with hobnail glasses and an oversized Nutcracker. In a change from traditional hunter green, he opted for olive-coloured cloth napkins.
If you’re looking to go a bit more glam, Williams suggests tapping into the current decor trend of high contrast black and white. He teams sleek black glasses, cut wool felt placemats and shiny foo dog figurines with platinum-rimmed white plates, adding sparkle with crystal salt and pepper shakers and table gems. A decorative red frame doubling as a namecard lends a pop of colour.
For another alternative, try placing garland down the middle of the table while tucking in a few copper bay leaves or different florals with ornaments or Christmas baubles nestled in between, said Sokly Lay, boutique manager of Chintz & Company in Victoria.
“That’s just something simple and easy and quick to do, and it’s not that expensive to do either,” she said, noting the look also works well on a windowsill or bay window.
Not everything you use for holiday decor has to be put back into storage at season’s end.
Stylish collectibles like decorative white pitchers can be used on a bookshelf or console table during the year but can work well in a holiday setting, Williams said.
“Throw in some great mercury glass decorations and even some fresh flowers in there too and have fun with them that way,” he said.
For those who want a change from standard tree trimmings, consider looking to nature for inspiration.
Lay said many customers are buying either regular or Christmas florals with a little sparkle and putting them in their trees.
“We’re finding the trends now, especially for Christmas florals, is anything natural like salals, ferns, grasses,” she said. “Those have kind of been glammed up with gold glitter.”
If people don’t want a traditional Christmas tree, Lay said they can opt for a topiary tree dressed up with ornaments.
Another alternative is placing icy branches or any kind of Christmas branch in a beautiful pot, she noted. Some customers have bought curly willow branches placed in a pot and hung ornaments on them as well.
To dress up the Christmas wreaths, Lay said they’re adding in everything from sparkly branches to Christmas florals and ribbons. “You could even add ornaments in there, clustering ornaments into the wreath as well just to give it pop so it’s not a plain wreath on your door.”
Even the beach can find a place in festive decor. Lay said their tidal pool tree, infused with aqua, ivory, clear ornaments, little crabs, fishes and coral branches has been another popular look. People may also want to incorporate more whimsical or ornate ornaments from butterfly clips to little owls, she noted.
Williams says another trend that continues to resonate this year is the use of a lot of aged-looking metals in silver and gold, which can be mixed together.
While you can still go the traditional route with colours, there are other great peacock hues in the mix, like turquoises and purples that have kind of a jewel tone, he noted.
Mercury glass balls are also fantastic and huge ones “can just make such an amazing statement in a space,” he said.
“Just to see those nestled in a glass bowl on a table, I think, are an easy classic touch that you’re going to be able to put out and they’ll look fantastic year after year, and it’s because they have that patina of age to them, too.”
Ultimately when it comes to your choice of hue, Lay said to go with what you love. “I would have to say with Christmas, there’s really no limit to it,” she said.
“You can pick a theme, you can do whatever colours will best suit you.