Set the stage for holiday gatherings by sprucing up your home, beginning at the all-important entry.
(originally appeared in Inland Empire Magazine, December 2012)
Look at the front of your home. Does your front door need repainting? Do you want to change the color just for the holiday season? This is an easy project that can add pizzazz to your entry. Even if you don’t go all-out with lights, hang a wreath or use some festive garden flags. A few touches can set an inviting tone.
Evaluate the theme you want to create and incorporate it into your exterior decor. Evaluate your decorations from last year. Use cup hooks rather than nails for hangingexterior decorations. Nails loosen as wood shrinks and expands with the temperature. Cup hooks come in several colors and sizes that will hold a variety of weights, from heavy wreaths to small lighting. Keep the mechanics for the installation of decor inconspicuous. Look for an opportunity to add large hanging ornaments at your exterior entry, making sure not to allow them to hang so low that they hit people on the head.
Holiday Themes. Here are a few themes to consider, always building from the front door curb appeal throughout the entire house: vintage with silver charm, Santa Claus, nostalgia, drama, simple, winter landscape or wonderland, tradition and religious.
Build a holiday message board. Creating a holiday message board in your’ entry can be fun for family and guests. A flea market picture frame can be used for this. Paint the inside matte board with blackboard chalk paint and ready the frame for hanging. This board can carry a message for the season, party, grandkids, or whatever welcoming fills your heart and is event appropriate. I do not use this message board all the time. It rotates in and out as I create the look for the current season. Repaint it at will to match your event theme or occasion. The message board frame needs to be size appropriate to your entry space, don’t make it so large that it is out of scale with the rest of your entry.
Create a drama point in the entry. A twig festoon that may be anchored to the roof eaves creates a wonderful sense of drama. Remember, the goal is to create curb appeal, to make your home inviting from the street. A twig festoon is made by bundling an assortment of sticks, usually gathered at a center point with the ends radiating out in a “starburst” display. I like to use birch sticks for this. They are wispy, natural and usually have enough strength to hold the weight of ornaments. Paint, flock, or add additional winter greenery or lights. Large ornaments, lights, and vibrant color will also create a very dramatic entrance point. The sparkle from the lights woven into the sticks will provide enough light to give a glow to your entry. This twig festoon can carry harvest greens and foliage for the fall season and transition straight into the Christmas holidays. Remember to think in layers for the seasons.
Accessories. If sticks don’t appeal to you, flank your entry point with large iron urns. These urns should be from 26- to 30-inches tall and have a large enough mouth to accommodate planting or arrangements. Make sure that you add the drip lines from your sprinkler system if you want to use live foliage that will need water for survival.the seasons.
Lights, lights and more lights. All your lighting can be pre-designed and installed early in the season. As we transition from one season to another, the lighting can be changed with the mere flick of a switch. Layer lights, mixing sizes and colors. I keep my twinkle lights up year round and often turn that switch on when entertaining. It pays to take a bit of time measuring and planning so you will not blow circuits or fuses. Evaluate where your electrical sources will be and the length of power cords needed. Check the amount of wattage that the breaker can handle, a lesson I learned when I put up too many lights and I spent my holiday at the breaker box flipping switches. There are many different kinds of remotes available to create affordable lighting magic enhancing the ambiance of any decor.