Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Home for the Holidays Part 2: Getting A Look

Christmas or Holiday decorating is a very personal thing steeped in tradition. For many, most of the ornaments are lovingly collected over the years, some are inherited, or received as gifts. In whichever case, the ornaments hold special meaning. There is such simple joy and nostalgia in taking an old familiar ornament out of storage year after year. A tree filled with old and treasured ornaments is a look in itself. There is no need for the ornaments to have any relation to one another in terms of color and look, for they are all part of a 'special collection. Still, if you feel the need to pull the look together, there is an easy, inexpensive way to to this. The trick is to add a unifying element (or several small elements) that will repeat throughout the tree. There are several ways to do this.

A garland made of shimmering balls or tinsel. Make sure it goes all around the tree from top to bottom.

Left: Vintage Beaded Glass Garland (also available in gold and red),
www.restorationhardware.com, Below middle: Capiz Button Garland, www.ballarddesign.com

Wire ribbon wrapped around the tree. Twist as you go around the tree.

Several medium to large balls of the same color. Especially if you already have a lot of small ornaments, using large or even extra-large Christmas balls will variety in scale. This will add another dimension to your tree instead of cluttering it up.

Right: Vintage Handblown Ornament Ball, www.restorationhardware.com

Rather then going the too theme-y route, a Christmas tree for the home should 'evoke' a look or a feeling that suits the room and the people enjoying the tree. Your family's Christmas tree does not need to look like a department store Christmas tree! Those trees are over-trimmed because they are selling those ornaments. For example, if you have children, decking up a tree in colorful trimmings and even toys such as teddy bears and wooden trains can be a lot of fun.

Even the simplest idea can be smashing. For example, if you do not want to fuss over selecting several different ornaments, you can just use one kind of thing such as Christmas balls. The trick is to variety in size, texture, color and placement. You can choose one color or a monotone scheme (such as a metallic combo of gold, copper and bronze) or two colors such as red and gold, red and white or red and green, or a even a rainbow of colors.
When using a lot of different colors, the trick to pulling the look together is by sticking to one or two shapes, such as a ball and something long like an icicle.
The trick to making it work and not look monotonous is by adding dimension to your tree. You can achieve this by using different sizes and textures of balls. Use equal amounts of shiny, matte and even glittered. Make sure not to neglect the inner branches of your tree! This leads the eyes inward to add to that dimensional look.

Cheerful and red. Different shapes keep it interesting. Photo credit: www.marthastewart.com

Different colors, same shapes, varying sizes. Get it? 
Different shapes, same colors, very similar sizes make for a tightly pulled together look.

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