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Amy Pottenger!

amy pottenger interior designer

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Holiday Decor, According to Your Life Season


That Albert Hadley quote (he was also a designer) is one of my favorites. Maybe it’s a strange point of view for a designer, but I agree there is so much more to life than decorating. I truly believe that your home should be a compliment to your life, a support system, something that enriches your days.

Design, for me, is not an ongoing life-long exhaustive process of perfectionism and keeping up with the latest trends so you can impress people. If that’s your jam, no judgement from me- but it’s not how I operate. Don’t get me wrong, I love designing an impressive room as much as the next designer, but that is not my only end goal. By catering to the lifestyle of the people that live in the home, incorporating function first, then the aesthetics, the rooms I design have no choice but to reflect the fantastic people who live in the home and in turn, the decor/design is unique and beautiful.

So why I am I chatting philosophy on a holiday decor post? Because the best thing about your home is the people that live there, so let’s decorate for the holiday according to your style and your life season and get on with living.

If you holiday decorate according to your style and life season, you just hit the easy button! Don’t feel like you have to go all instagram influencer and make every room in your house 100% holiday. Be you and decorate in a way that speaks to YOU and your life right now!! If you have a house full of kids and pets and feel like doing one more thing is going to break you, then add small/strategic touches in your main rooms and leave it at that. This could be mantel decor that you make seasonal (so it can be up all winter), a Christmas tree if you celebrate, and a winter candle or diffuser scent. If you want a little more spread out some evergreen garlands with white lights over kitchen windows or your stair railing and enjoy those touches all winter long.

Don’t forget- you’ve got style. If you love neutrals, don’t feel like you have to go all traditional bright red and green if that feels like someone else’s vibe. If you are an all-out maximalist, then do it up with your holiday decorations too! If you like things simple + streamlined, you can reflect that in your holiday decor. As in the rest of your home design- be you. The beauty in this is the flow you create with what’s already in your home.

If you’re in a different life season and feel up to adding more effort + more decor throughout your home, you can still make it easy on yourself by doing it in a way that will last longer by using our seasonal design formula instead of getting 1-holiday specific. Or, embrace layering– another favorite tip is to use seasonal decor like evergreen garlands and add whatever holiday bling you love on top of it with the lights (ribbons, ornaments, etc) and when January hits remove the extra and leave the evergreen + lights until spring.

A word about Christmas tree decorating + perfectionism, speaking from experience– I love a luxuriously styled tree, I really do. But I also love my kids’ homemade ornaments and treasure them even more now as those former toddlers have somehow grown into a teen and pre-teen. If you feel torn between your styled tree and including the kids ornaments/letting them help decorate too, here are some ideas:

(1) Two trees. I’ve done this before and it works great as the kids get their own tree and it’s really fun for them! You could do another large tree in a playroom or lower level space, or let them have small trees in their rooms. In our house when the kids were little, I got two small trees from Target for their rooms and let them go to town and do their own thing and they both loved it.

(2) If multiple trees sounds like too much work, ditch the perfectionism and put their ornaments on your styled tree and embrace the eclectic awesomeness that is your family. I’ve used “non-styled” if you want to call it that- decorations on my tree for years, intermixed with the fancy ribbon, strategically placed lights and color coordinated ornaments. And it turned out just fine. You can do it.

(3) Let the family help decorate the tree but you pre-select and put out what decorations to use. (and yes, include the ones your kids made too!) This can be a happy medium and turns decorating from one more chore YOU have to do into a family experience the kids will always remember. Sure, the toddler will put 7 ornaments on the same branch and they’ll fight over who puts the star on top. But you’re cherishing your days and making memories here and before you know it they’ll be in college. Take a deep breath, release the control and actually have fun with your people. Remember, get on with living? (thanks Albert Hadley) And yes, you can always come back later when no one is around and re-arrange, just a little. I’d be a big liar if I said I didn’t do that… 🙂

Life is full enough without stressing over holiday decorating. Not worth the stress. I hope you feel free to choose your own adventure according to your personal style + lifestyle right now and no matter what, enjoy the season- knowing that like seasons, this too will change. Happy decorating!

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