DesignersÂ Daniel Keeley and Christopher Todd inspired us with their holiday decor at a Little Rock home we featured in our December issue, prompting us to ask if they’d share a few other tricks of the trade. They obliged with some tips and plenty of good ideas!
As someone who started his design career
in the fresh floral industry (Christopher Todd) and someone who specializes in designing exterior spaces (Daniel Keeley), we canât help but bring natural and outdoor elements into our interior decorating schemes, and that is exactly what weâve been doing ever since we began decorating homes for the holidays together almost a decade ago!Â In fact the holiday season is a natural time to bring in the outdoors.Â After all, what other seasonâs tradition involves cutting down a real tree and placing it in your living room?!Â To help you decorate âoutside the boxâ so to speak, here are some of our favorite tips:
One of the easiest ways to bring the outdoors in is to use organic materials.Â Fresh evergreen trees, wreaths and garland are obvious choices and are an essential base to holiday decorating, but consider also items such as fresh pine cones, dried or fresh vines, limbs from exotic deciduous trees (e.g. coffee and Manzanita) freshly cut flowers and seasonal produce.Â Â Many of these items may be gathered right from your own garden and can be used to embellish basic greeneryâ¦whether it is real or artificial.Â Bird feathers, such as pheasant and peacock, are another elegant way to tame a bit of organic, outdoor wilderness for your holiday dÃ©cor.
Shelter from the Storm
Another great method for bringing the outdoors in is to give some of your decorative garden elements (such as statuary or planters) a break from the weather by bringing them in for the holidays.Â For example, why not create a dramatic and whimsical focal point by placing a garden statue indoors and dressing it up with a stylish scarf made from greenery and a big, festive bow?Â Or elevate your ordinary Christmas tree to a new status by placing the whole thing in an oversized garden urn!Â Even smaller garden containers can be grouped together and potted with fresh evergreens or flowering bulbs such as amaryllis and paper whites for a beautiful al fresco-inspired display.
First Frost Fantasy
As the holiday song proclaims, people often dream of the perfect white Christmasâ¦with freshly fallen snow glistening on the tree tops.Â We like to call this idyllic fantasy âFirst Frostâ, and itâs actually a great trick for bringing not just the feeling of the outdoors but the feeling of being outdoors in for the holidays.Â By recreating the illusion of fresh snow, you can conjure up a plein-air fantasy atmosphere where the flakes just stopped falling!Â All you have to do is generously dust artificial snow on tablescapes and other decorations and let it pile up in drifts as it would naturally.Â If youâre afraid of avalanches, grab a can of spray adhesive to add âpermafrostâ sparkle to anything from branches and pine cones to ornaments and artificial plants and flowers.Â When it comes to your first frost fantasy just remember one thing:Â get the good stuff.Â All artificial snows are not created equal, and we are not talking about shredded plastic bags here!Â We prefer âFresh Fallen Snowâ from Department 56; it is beautifully iridescent and very realistic.
One perhaps-not-so-obvious way of bringing the outdoors in is actually to turn your holiday decorating scheme inside out.Â Give your homeâs entry and outdoor living spaces the same level of attention as the indoor spaces by adorning them with all the festive flourishes of the season.Â And remember to establish a consistent theme inside as well as outside, as this will further help to blur the lines between and connect the two. Especially where exterior spaces are visible from your homeâs interior, treating both areas as decorating equals will bring the natural dÃ©cor of your garden and the surrounding landscape right on in for the holidays!
PS- Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a year-long subscription to At Home in Arkansas magazine! Click here for details, and to see our month-long Holiday Guest Blogger Series schedule.
In case you missed it:
P. Allen Smith’s favorite holiday recipes, especially for At Home
A trio of seasonal project ideas from designer Eddie Ross
Designer Andrea Brook’s tabletop holiday trees in 4 easy steps