Midday Fix: Laura Dowling’s holiday decorating tips

Laura Dowling

To purchase a copy of the book:

A White House Christmas: Including Floral Design Tutorials


Focus on decorating a few key areas of your house to maximize your holiday budget: e.g., a focal point Christmas tree, front door wreath, fireplace mantel, window decorations, entryway arrangement, and dining table décor.

When decorating Christmas trees, wrap lights vertically for depth, place shiny ornaments deep inside close to the base to bounce the light, and add festive ribbon for color and impact.

Give old ornaments and decorations a new lease on life by adding gold paint or glitter. Visit the craft store this time of year for endless inspiration.

Use simple elements from nature (e.g., leaves, pine cones, branches, berries, etc.) to add festive, seasonal décor and raid the recycled bin for newspapers, cans, and containers that can be fashioned into a wide range of holiday décor (e.g., trees, wreaths, garlands and flower vessels).

Layer your décor with a variety of elements: architectural elements (e.g., door surrounds and panels made of long-lasting materials), evergreen pieces (e.g., wreaths, trees and garlands), and fresh flower bouquets as a finishing touch (e.g., bowls of scented paper white narcissus, amaryllis, and ilex berries).

Ideally, it’s good to start projects early in the season to ensure enough lead time for completion and to avoid holiday stress. But the benefit of waiting to mid-December is that holiday décor begins to go on sale and it’s possible to pick up great bargains.