Design Dilemma: Instant Christmas Decor


It is nine days until Christmas. You have the spirit, but no time, and thus, no decorations. As the Whos in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas wondered: Will Christmas still come? According to Katherine North of Northbrook Designs, it’s not to late to deck the halls. North, who for the past eight years has been offering holiday decorating services, says the trick to making an end run around last-minute Christmas madness is to follow these rules.

1. Stick to natural adornments for an easy, elegant look.

“I grew up in Ireland, and there people tend to decorate with a lot of  items from nature,” North says. “A fast way to festive is to bring in pots of live hydrangeas, mini-trees and amaryllis.”

2. Keep it simple.

North suggests buying a live tree and decorating it with lights only. “You want to stick to just one light color,” she says. “You might want to do it in all red, which is a bit more decorative on an otherwise unadorned tree.”

North also recommends purchasing simple wreaths of eucalyptus or magnolia leaves. These dry beautifully, so they last well past Christmas day.

3. If you want your decor to look professional, choose a simple material palette and carry it through the house.

North says it’s easy to dress up a plain garland or wreath by wiring in a few dramatic elements from nature. A magnolia wreath can be quickly spruced up with eucalyptus berries, dried hydrangeas, pepper berries or pomegranates.

North also suggests buying a lengths of a plain bay leaf garland, cutting it into pieces, decorating the sections and then using them atop furniture and mantels. “For a dining room, I used lemons and rosemary in mini garlands,” she says. “It’s fun to put herbs and food decorations where you eat.”

4. Go big for impact.

Recently, North created two “trees” by wrapping six-foot cones in twine and using T-pins to dot with anise and dried quince. The process is simple, but the oversize forms make it special.

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