Earlier this week, I spoke with Raymour & Flanigan design expert Kristan Cunningham about decorating for the holidays. As the store’s resident designer, she hosts online webinars and columns and formulates style guides with each collection amongst other things. I was also able to get some tips in regards to some personal design questions. (In addition to working with Raymour & Flanigan, Kristan also has her own HGTV show and is a regular guest on the Rachel Ray show.)
First, I will share Kristan’s answers to my personal design questions since they deal with common issues.
-Although it can sometimes be hard to make choices, you do have a design style. One way to figure your style out is to tear ten pages that appeal to you the most out of a magazine. Look for patterns. What do you always choose (the color red? dim lighting? etc.). That will help you to define your personal style. Perhaps you will want to center your design on one inspiration piece (i.e. a color or object).
-It is perfectly fine to be a minimalist. Since you probably will want a minimal amount of things, play with textures and depth in order to make your home feel warm. Consider using the following to cozy up your space: layered rugs, light dimmers and a big glass cylinder with flowers. Wall mirrors (individual or a series of mirrors with different sizes and shapes); colored fabric on canvas wall coverings; canned up lights (which give depth) and screens behind the sofa or in corners are also great items to consider including in your decor.
-There are many ways to make the most of small spaces. Using double duty pieces are key. Raymour & Flanigan furniture designers feature several pieces like that including ottomans with built-in storage; nightstands with outlet runners inside of them; sofas with pull-out beds and cabinets with hidden storage and cord wranglers. Other suggestions include using mirrors to open up the space and painting with really dark colors like navy and chocolate (they make boundaries disappear which makes it harder to tell the small size).
Then, we talked about the holidays…
-It is better to keep the kitsch to a minimum when it comes to holiday themed decorations. It is still your home, so focus on creating a streamlined, festive look. Perhaps, you can pick a color scheme and keep things within that that color scheme. Even if you celebrate multiple holidays, you can unify the look (i.e. a silver menorah and three). *Of course if you like to go “all out” for the holidays, it is “better” for you to do that. It’s your home!”
-Holiday decorating does not need to be expensive. Since it is so expensive to buy fresh items (wreath, garlands, etc.), consider buying a small $30 tree; cut off its branches and use them to make your own wreath. You can also use faked garland around banisters and such and mixed the fresh branches in with the fake ones. Using natural items such as leaves, pinecones and branches is another inexpensive way to decorate. You can simply spray-paint them in gold or silver.
-There are many small ways to make your home entertainment-friendly. If you entertain a lot, why not move your dining room chairs into the living room and leave them there for a while? Use ottomans as seating and/ or coffee tables. If you are having guests, make sure that their rooms are comfortable and welcoming. Small gestures like fresh flowers, water and making space for their clothes make all of the difference. One last tip: make your home smell good by roasting rosemary and sage in a pan if don’t have a fireplace.
I hope that these six tips have been helpful. They are just a start though. You can find decorating-themed articles and design tools on the Raymour & Flanigan website and in their stores. I especially like that they have an online room planner and their product availability is key. They deliver in 3 days or less in the Northeast … right up to the holidays. (As someone who has had to wait weeks/months for furniture delivery in the past, that is a definite plus to me!)