New twists on decorating for the holidays

There’s a number of ways to satisfy the nostalgia of yesteryear while keeping your entire home’s decor fresh and modern this holiday season.

“We’re seeing this kind of ‘whole home’ aspect to decorating,” said Jule Eller, style and trend director for Lowe’s. “It’s ‘beyond the mantel,’ we like to call it. So people are really taking advantage of, almost maximizing every square inch in their homes for one little touch of holiday.”

Color combinations

White is making a resurgence this year as it “adds a sense of visual calm” when paired with warmer tones like rose gold and copper, Eller said.

For a more updated traditional look, Jimmy Stanton of Stanton Home Furnishings in Atlanta uses mercury glass and amber-hued wine glasses, apothecary jars, vases and candle holders. The Madison Town & Country Holiday Tour of Homes on Nov. 30-Dec. 2 will feature his home, “Honeymoon Mansion.”

Iridescents, both matte and shiny, create a sophisticated foundation to make other colors pop, said Pam Kahn, style and trend consultant for Lowe’s.

Pastels, such as blush and mint green, also could fit into holiday schemes when combined with vanilla or gray, said Chris Ellibee, CEO of Braselton-based, an online boutique.

Throwback themes

The winter season may bring back memories of family traditions. You can find nostalgic decor both in stores and in your closet, attic or basement.

Nostalgia is steeped in the desire for authenticity, Eller said. Icons like old trucks and campers are in, Eller said, and they can be combined with burlap or buffalo plaid.

Even your attic may have treasures, like old childhood toys, that don’t immediately appear to be holiday decor fodder. For example, Ellibee and his family decorate with his childhood train set. Even collectibles such as vintage Santa Clauses, snowmen or angels can fit with a throwback theme.

Fresh appeal

For his tour home in Madison, Stanton worked with floral designer Zeb Grant to bring magnolias from the five-acre property onto mantels and into table centerpieces. Madison, located about 60 miles east of Atlanta, joins Atlanta neighborhoods, such as Grant Park, Virginia-Highland and Norcross, with home tours that offer seasonal decorating and DIY ideas. In Buckhead, the 2017 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse and Marketplace also runs through Dec. 10.

Place greenery in containers and decorate them with lights and ornaments, Ellibee suggests. Or vice versa.

“We’re seeing light fixtures being adorned with either berries or greenery … even greenery with ornaments,” Eller said.

Eller said one of her favorite lighting ideas is draping lights down a tree instead of wrapping around them, creating a willow tree effect.

Kim Leggett, a designer and co-owner of City Farmhouse in Franklin, Tenn., who was a speaker at the fall Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain, said she keeps the decorations on her evergreen trees natural by using a star topper made of twigs. If you are picking out a natural tree, let its unique, non-manufactured qualities shine.

“Last year, we were so happy that we found one that had a bird nest in it. So the bird nest actually became the focal point of our tree,” said Leggett, author of the 2017 book, “City Farmhouse Style.” “They say if you get a tree with a bird nest, it means good luck.”

For a twist on the traditional wreath, create a monogrammed version using Lowe’s DIY instructions (

New take on candles

Candles often appear on mantels, among table centerpieces, on window sills and in luminaries during the holidays.

Create your own mood lighting by following Leggett’s suggestions: Find various candlesticks of the same color — white is preferred — but different heights and place them near a vent. As the heat from the vent turns on and off for two to three hours, she said the gentle blowing of the air allows for the wax to gradually melt and cool to create an effect as it builds layers.

Make sure to purchase drip — instead of no-drip — candles for this inexpensive and elegant decoration, she said.

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