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12 Christmas Decorating Ideas Designers Swear By

Pros reveal how they get into the holiday spirit — without going over the top.

When it comes to Christmas decorations, it's easy to be a little overzealous. But if anyone knows how to keep things classy during the holiday season, it's the designers we chatted with here."Let your décor dictate your holiday palette," designer Tobi Fairley reminds us. "No matter how gorgeous your holiday items are, if they are competing with your room instead of complementing it, the effect will be lost."Read on for more expert advice on how to keep your home festive and elegant at the same time.

Keep it simple

"I keep decorating for the holidays simple. I fill the house with potted paperwhites and potted white amaryllis. I scatter votives all around. I also put wreaths on the doors made out of evergreen and bay leaves, and drape the banisters and mantles with swags of the same."

- Mark D. Sikes

Focus on the table

"Decorate the dining room table. Rather than the traditional red and green, try something new like a fabric in malachite and hot pink peonies. Layer in black and white for a graphic pop. The plates [here] are antique


- Grant Gibson

Go natural

"Use fresh evergreen boughs, garlands, and wreaths combined with in-season citrus like lemons, tangerines, and oranges. It will give your home a beautiful natural look, and it smells heavenly!"

- Tobi Fairley

Create a living runner

"There's nothing prettier than pairing fresh greens — whether boxwood or pine — with mercury candle votives and white lights.Try interspersing the trio across your mantle or as a runner come to life along your dining room table: it's a holiday look you'll never get tired of!"

- Susanna Salk

Stage a holiday 'shelfie'

"Use your bookshelves as an opportunity to inject a bit of holiday flair. Mix in bowls of ornaments, tabletop trees and other holiday accents into your bookshelves for the ultimate holiday "shelfie,"as shown here in my Instagram."

- Nicole Gibbons

Go for the gold

"For holiday decorating, I love incorporating natural elements, lights (candles or simple Christmas lights) and a little gold (be it in the ribbons, ornaments or objects). Magnolia leaves are always a favorite of mine, especially in wreaths strewn with beautiful gold ribbon. These make for an elegant statement on any door and you can add some great glass pieces or ornaments to really make it gleam."

- Sara Story Design

Make it magical

"Years ago in Taos I picked up a big vintage brass and leather sleigh bell horse harness that I hang on my front door wrapped in evergreens and lights. I do the same on staircase, wrapping evergreens and leather straps in those tiny strings of lights that you never have to plug in. The light's so much more magical when it floats."

- Windsor Smith

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