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Design Tips to Help Your Holiday Decorating

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, it can be difficult to know where to begin. You have your favorite pieces to display each year, but what if you want to try something new?

“It’s always helpful to start with a clean slate,” says Gretchen Bray, who has been designing our displays at Swedish Kontur for years. “Even when I decorate at home, I clear the deck and I clean the space.” It helps the creative process, she adds.

There are five elements of design that Gretchen always keeps in mind when decorating the shop and her own home, and we hope that they can help you bring the holiday season into yours.

1. Choose a dominant color and work from there

“There are many ways to approach a design,” Gretchen says, “But my preference is to start with a dominate color.”

This could be picking out a linen and building on its color scheme or choosing a piece of art too.

“I love the Ekelund linens,” she explains, “Because they can be used on horizontal surfaces or as a background to give warmth to the design.”

2. Texture is also important

You want the textures to complement each other and blend well, but they don’t necessarily need to be the same.

Gretchen recommends using natural textures like wood, wool, books and ceramics together.

“Sparkly pieces play off one another too. Think crystal, silver and glossy whites.”

Texture combinations can feel tricky at first, but those that work will come together quickly.

3. Size and repetition should be top of mind

“I use the ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ approach. Big, medium and small,” she explains. It’s helpful to have at least one of each.

The human eye likes repetition, too, especially in threes, fives, sevens or even nines.

“Repetition also happens when you have a dominant direction,” Gretchen advises, “Think either vertical or horizontal, or in terms of shapes like circles versus squares.”

Picking a lead color, too, is also a form of repetition.

4. Working with larger or smaller spaces

In larger spaces, Gretchen recommends choosing a large foundation piece and then finding others to harmonize with it. If there’s a piece you use every year, think about moving it around and finding a new item to complement it.

“A weaving or a rug used as a runner or background can help fill the gaps and tie everything together,” she says, adding, “Sometimes less really is more.”

Smaller spaces may be trickier, but the same theory applies. Find a special piece to anchor the design and fill in around it with appropriately sized complements while leaving space to balance it out.

5. Keep it cozy and have some fun

Especially as longer nights set in, it’s important to use light or greens to your advantage. It really helps to make your home feel festive and warm, Gretchen says.

“The first holiday decoration I put out in my home is our lit star, and it stays up through the winter,” she adds.

It also important to have some fun in your decorating too. Moving a tomte, Dala horse or another unique piece that hides in the greenery can be fun for people of all ages.

Use these tips to try something new, and your home décor will reflect the special parts of you and your celebration of the season.


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