07 November 2010

Modern merriment: Holiday decor that blends trend and tradition

The holidays are full of traditions, from big family gatherings down to the simple pleasures like hot cocoa. When it seems like the whole world is in a festive mood, it's easy to get excited about checking off items on your traditional holiday to-do list, especially when it comes to decorating your home.

First, consider the overall decor you want to display. By combining modern design and classic traditions of holiday decorating, your home can become memorable - inside and out.

An important, but perhaps underestimated, element of holiday decorating is lights. Everyone knows they're necessary, but not many people think outside of the box when it comes to creating a unique display. More options exist today than ever before, from brilliant white or single colors to an array of jewel tones and all shapes and sizes that can customize your decor.

In these energy-conscious times, LED lights should contend for your attention. If their reputation for casting a cold glow has kept you at bay, it's time to think again. Now, LED lights have the warmer tone that so many people seek while still offering longer life and lower energy expenditures than traditional bulbs. Since you can find them in almost all variations offered by traditional bulbs, your decorating options are wide open.

In addition, consider these new spins on holiday decorating:

* Pop art: If you're feeling bold, make your holiday decorations all about of-the-moment color and modern details. Start with an artificial white tree, which you can find at home improvement retailers like Lowe's, complete with integrated lights that you don't need to re-string every year. The snowy white branches are the perfect backdrop to make brightly colored glass bulbs and baubles really stand out. Go for colors like fuchsia, apple green, lemon yellow and turquoise. For an extra "wow" factor, add even more lights - use multicolored strands that will play on the hues of your ornaments. Make your own tree skirt from brightly colored felt, and glue on small mirrors or silver-tone charms for extra sparkle.

* Rustic: Think rich woods, earth tones and, of course, splashes of brick red for this upscale-yet-casual look. Stringing your tree with white and gold lights will give it a warm glow; play on that ambience with raffia garland and ornaments made of natural materials. Hang cable-knit socks on the mantle for another touch of cozy luxury. The key to this look is that it is glowing, rather than shiny. Try wrapping gifts in brown kraft paper and adding pops of color with ribbon in colors that match your decor.

* Winter garden: We all love to see plants growing in the middle of winter, and this theme is all about the beauty of living flora. It's a simple palette, but one that will impart an elegant look: creamy white, red, touches of brown and green, green, green. While your tree is a traditional spruce or fir, look for opportunities to incorporate other plant textures, like spongy moss or magnolia leaves that are shiny dark green on the top and velvety brown on the bottom. Poinsettias are a perfect complement to this look, but this year, they're going high-tech. At Lowe's, poinsettias will feature a Microsoft Tag on the label; smart phone users can scan it and instantly learn more about the plant they're buying and how to care for it, the same tag will also be on the live, freshly cut Christmas trees.

Getting started with your holiday decorating projects is as simple as going to your local home improvement store to stock up on what you need. To plan ahead, go to www.lowes.com to browse their holiday decor items before you shop. Then it's time to get the whole family involved with making your home look holiday-perfect - just another tradition that makes this such a fun time of year.