The holidays are incredibly meaningful to my family and me. Spending time with loved ones, late nights listening to our Sinatra favorites by the roaring fire, reminiscing about fond memories, enjoying a fantastic glass of Veuve Clicquot, and cooking all of our much-loved recipes. While these wonderful memories are so meaningful because of the people we share them with, the homes in which they all take place also play a great part in making these times so special. Our environment has a strong affect on how we experience certain moments, specifically on our mood and emotion. Because of the immense impact that our surroundings have on us, it is essential that we consider the elements that go into making our homes an atmosphere that promotes relaxation, intimate gatherings, and festivity this holiday season. With this in mind, I made a quick guide for you to help you achieve the perfect holiday ambiance for your home this Christmas and New Year's celebrations.
Bring In Texture and Color
Texture and color are very important for decorating for the holidays. For texture, think velvets and cozy faux furs. You'll want to choose materials that people want to snuggle up to and touch. Bringing in deep reds and greens or icy blues with silver and gold hues will help you find the perfect Christmas palette for your home.
Set The Mood With Music
The holidays wouldn’t be the same without the musical element. While we often consider visual cues when thinking of interior design, it is important to consider our other senses. Put on your favorite Christmas tunes to lift your spirits and engage your senses. If you are having a more elegant gathering, hire a professional piano player to entertain your guests and give your party the perfect background melody. Many of my most favorite fond Christmas memories are of people gathering around the piano for impromptu caroling into the wee hours of the morning!
Incorporate Your Sense of Smell
Our olfactory sense is one of the strongest triggers of our emotion and memory. If you want to fully immerse your space in the season, add some seasonal candle scents to your room. Inspire mood through scents that speak to you. From more earthy scents like fir and firewood and fresh snow to sweeter aromas like pecan pie and apple cider, there are hundreds of ways to subtly enhance the aroma of your home this season with natural oils and freshly baked goodies.
Find The Perfect Ambient Lighting
The goal of ambient lighting is to set the mood of a room by providing varying levels of lighting. Adjust the lighting level based on the time of day or tone that you would like to create. Soft lighting helps inspire relaxation and intimacy while more bold and bright lights promote energy and alertness. Try different bulbs and shades or even candles to see how the effects feel to you and to determine type of an atmosphere you want to create.
Be Mindful of The Arrangement of Space
Utilize your space by giving your guests rooms to move around and relax without overwhelming them. Placing too much in one room will overcrowd your senses and increase your stress levels. On the other hand, sparsley placed furniture and decor in a room leaves it feeling distant and cold. Style vignettes around common gathering spaces like the fireplace or the dining room table to warm and welcoming environments where people want to spend time. Be mindful of what you include in these spaces because your accessories also make a statement and have a direct affect on your mood. Displaying a candle arrangement on your mantel is conducive to relaxation and warmth. Placing beautiful garlands and other holiday decorations across your table, and throwing warm and cozy textures over your chairs draw people into your space.
Don’t Be Afraid To Personalize Your Decor
One thing I cannot emphasize enough is adding a personal touch to your holiday environment. One year for Christmas, I decorated my tree with peacock feathers. My home felt so festive! I love being able to include a favorite element of each of my family members or an item that inspires each of them into our holiday decor to truly make it our own special space. Styling with decorative elements that each person identifies with will add an air of belonging and character to your home. It’s easy to get lost in the holiday design and forget that your home is a space that is an extension of you. No matter how beautifully your styling turns out, you don’t want your home feeling too unfamiliar, or “staged” and unwelcoming. Not only do personal touches in your home create a sense of belonging and comfort for you, it also does for your cherished family and friends who wish to enjoy the spirit of the season with you!