This holiday season, conventional wisdom will tell you to deck the halls as usual. That’s all well and good, but you can do better. Really! Between preparing to host relatives and making sure your secret Santa doesn’t stink, it’s tempting to just default to interior styling that’s essentially already been laid out for you time and time again. You know the old standards. Think gaudy tinsel and Technicolor lights. Think putting more tchotchkes on your countertops than there are snowflakes outside. Even a natural scheme that bets heavy on elements like boughs, branches, and snow and ice motifs feels very much like a product of the last decade. The season is no excuse to turn your living room into a porcelain Santa Claus graveyard or to bring the whole Black Forest into your bedroom. Make this wintertime one for the books and buck the seasonal low-hanging fruit in your décor. It’s the best gift you can give yourself whether you’re looking to sell, impress guests, or just up your own interior decorating game. Read on for three tactics and tips to reboot your typical winter wonderland.

 

If the season has you running around more than Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph combined, we hear you. The first and best piece of advice we can give for those with packed holiday schedules is that one solitary–and tasteful–purchase can wow your permanent residents and potential buyers alike. Everyone coming through your door around the holidays likely feels as busy as you do, so one standout statement piece may be just the thing to help your home shine a little brighter in everyone’s memories. Change up your guests’ bedding with a new coverlet. Add some seasonally suitable throw pillows to your living areas and bedrooms. Ditch dated pieces like old table lamps that clutter your space in favor of modern updates. Finally, go bolder by adding a neutral cowhide over a rug you already own for some added texture that will pay dividends for your holiday X-factor.

If you’ve got some more time to spend on a winter interior update, first of all, we envy you. Second of all, consider other effective options involving your walls and ceilings. The most important thing to remember here is to not limit yourself with big, bold strokes from the beginning. You’ll thank yourself for sticking with neutral, easily changeable options. Tame gray and white paints are trending now, and they can make a big impact in a home in winter. While those choices might sound rather glum for the dead of winter, a difference as seemingly small as your gray’s temperature can be a game changer for the entire house. Choosing a warmer shade over a cooler one will lend that warmth in kind wherever it’s applied. Painting with warm neutral tones will allow you to make bolder color choices when picking out the aforementioned accent pieces, increasing their overall impact on the eyes. You can achieve another huge atmospheric shift for any room for relatively little cash using stick wood. Apply these adhesive wood-like panels to any wall or ceiling to create a lot of depth for not a lot of dough. Don’t count wallpaper out, either. It’s back in, and its reunion with our walls has been oh-so-sweet! Just peel, stick, remove, and replace. Sophisticated wallpapers are a cinch to install and remove, meaning you’ve got near-instant accent wall access. What are you waiting for?

Finally, let’s circle back to those boughs of holly. We don’t mean to say that you should dismiss all greenery out of hand, only that it’s worth a critical look for more unconventional applications. First of all, let’s acknowledge the elephant, or rather, the fir in the room. If you’ve got a Christmas tree in the house, don’t challenge it. Competing evergreen elements can quickly get busy and distracting. Rather, look for new venues in your home to showcase different types of plant matter your guests or buyers wouldn’t expect to see around the holidays. We suggest creating a centerpiece for your holiday table. A vessel as simple and accessible as a large white bowl is the perfect canvas upon which to paint a picture with fresh greenery. Pot several of your favorite indoor plants, then arrange them to your taste together in the bowl. Don’t forget to play with height levels, differing leaf and stem widths, and keep in mind spatial needs for any new growth. A live centerpiece is infinitely customizable and makes for the perfect distraction from the bare branches and dreary weather outside. In addition to a beautiful and ongoing winter project, you’ll also always have some gifts on hand for those you may have left off your list.

 

Truly, winter is what you make it. It’s a time when many take comfort in returning to what’s old and familiar, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. When it comes to decorating, though, we encourage homeowners to see this season as a challenge to do something new and exciting with their spaces. After all, someone had to be first to build the holiday traditions we know and love today. Take a risk, break from the pack, and brighten up your home in a thrilling new way. If you need an experienced eye to help you cut a path through the ins and outs of wintertime decorating, interior experts of the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders are always eager to help. Reach out today and connect with a professional to start creating your own cozy corner for the cold days to come.