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Deck your halls without breaking the bank with these expert tips


This has been a year of many new trends in home decorating. Even if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon with gray paint, shiplap accent walls and Scandinavian-inspired minimalism, this year’s holiday decorating trends are easy to pull off effortlessly and on a budget. In fact, some of them might already be your favorites.

We chatted with three local home-decor professionals to get their best tips and tricks for decking the halls in style. Meet our experts:

Tammy Hamilton is the owner of The Design Studio, which she opened in 2002. She and her team of design professionals help Keller-area homeowners and businesses with their remodeling needs.

Jennifer Manley is an interior decorator with Decorating Den. She has been providing in-home consultations to the North Tarrant area for five years.

Farrha Hyman is the principal-lead designer at MOD Interiors in Colleyville. She’s been decorating since 2003 and specializes in residential and corporate organizing and designs across Dallas-Fort Worth.

What’s hot

This year’s holiday trends are a variation on a home-decor theme that has been growing all year and is easy to complement.

“We are seeing metals as a home-decor trend in general, and this is continuing into the holidays,” says Manley. Look for gold and silver pieces to incorporate into your holiday decor for an effortlessly glamorous touch. Manley adds, “Brushed golds add a touch of elegance.”

“We find that monochromatic is really big this year — mostly whites, golds and silvers,” says Hamilton. “Adding simple classic touches of greenery really make a statement.”

Hyman says she’s been seeing a similar variation with “deep purples with a rose-gold accent for a dash of sparkle.” She recommends decorating with one color, but using several shades of that color for a layered, multitoned effect.

Timeless trends

“Some things never go out of style,” says Hyman, “like the classic fresh garland and wreath or the red, green and gold color combination.”

Hamilton says angels and nativity scenes are always popular and “bring touches of the nostalgic feel of the holidays.”

Manley says, “We are seeing collections like nutcrackers and villages placed in nontraditional spaces, which can give them a refreshed appearance.”

Tall items, like Santa collections and nutcrackers, look great above kitchen cabinets.

Get creative

Hamilton suggests ways to be playful with your decor by thinking outside the box.

“If you’re decorating in a kitchen, add teacups or handmade dough ornaments with gingerbread men. In the game room, add playing cards with rustic elements or poker chips,” she suggests. “Make it fun and use your imagination!”

Sometimes it can be a challenge to get decor to stay exactly where you want it. Manly suggests an unusual item to help: “Museum putty is very useful to hang or anchor pieces without ruining the pieces’ finish.”

Tricks of the trade

Manley says that one of her favorite decorating suggestions year-round is “the bigger, the better.” In both everyday home decor and holiday decorating, a few larger spectacular pieces should be the focal point instead of cluttering up the area with too many smaller ones.

In her own home, it’s all about the tree. Manley uses large ornaments and garland to fill the tree and match the scale of the room.

Hamilton also puts the focus on the tree. “The more lights on a tree, the better. Wrap from the inside out for each section.”

She also recommends adding filler first to make the tree look fuller and to use nontraditional materials like taffeta or silk, which are available in the wedding department of fabric stores.

“The best advice I can give is always buy wired ribbon,” says Hamilton. “No matter how bad the bow is, it can be made to look good if the ribbon is wired. Although wired ribbon is slightly more expensive, it will last for many years.”

Even if you are decorating with classic red and green, Hyman says “adding metallic to your holiday decor — whether it’s silver, gold or bronze — will add sparkle and a layered depth to any color scheme.”

For thrifty decorators

For readers looking for a few shortcuts to save on decorations, Manley suggests choosing a few items that can be used year-round with seasonal updates. “Hurricane vases that can be filled or decorated around can transition from fall decor to Christmas decor. For example, fill them with corn and a candle for the fall and cranberries and a candle for Christmas.”

Hyman says her secret is to set up the Christmas tree in a corner and only decorate what you can see. “You will have less of the tree to decorate” and the result will be a fuller look. She adds, “Use inexpensive extra-large ball ornaments to fill in the holes in your tree first and then add the smaller and more decorative ornaments.”

Hamilton recommends organization and planning ahead. “Go with a design plan and a set vision of what you need so you don’t buy unneeded items,” she says. “Buy items at the end of the season for the next year. You can get some great deals, and most stores start marking items down close to Christmas.”

And, of course, anything homemade is perfect because it creates memories and that sense of nostalgia that will be passed down to future generations.

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