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Courtney's Corner: Decorating your home for Christmas

Courtney Lake is a Bay Area based interior design and the voice behind the lifestyle blog, Courtney Out Loud. A graduate of Stanford University, he worked in high-tech marketing and events before launching his successful interior design...

Christmas in a box

Short on space but want to make a big statement for the holidays? Interior designer and lifestyle expert Courtney Lake shares his tips on how to decorate for Christmas with big style in a small space.

Christmas in a box

What would you say if I told you everything you need to decorate your home for the holidays could fit into one 30-gallon bin? By using what you already have in your home, selectively purchasing key holiday decor and using some designer "tricks," you can create a Christmas wonderland that will leave visitors requesting your design secrets.


Rethink the Christmas tree

Christmas in a box

Who doesn't love a large Christmas tree? Whether real or faux, a large Christmas tree is the quintessential holiday accessory. However, storing the average-sized Christmas tree can be a daunting and space-eating task. Think about purchasing a smaller tree that can be tucked in a corner or placed on top of furniture. We loved this tree because it came pre-lit and in a decorative urn stand, making additional lights and a tree skirt obsolete.


Flat pack "ornaments"

Christmas in a box

Christmas in a box

Our office loves draping beautiful baubles, beads and ornaments onto our clients' trees, but you can get just as much bang for your buck by shopping the faux floral section of your craft store. Can you believe that this tree doesn't have a single "ornament" on it? Using dried and faux florals on a tree helps create a more lush and fuller-looking tree. Even better is that when the holidays are done, all of these decorations can fit into one boot box!


Multifunctional decorations

Christmas in a box

Christmas in a box

Shop your house first to see which existing decorations could be used for the holidays. A ceramic bust got the holiday treatment with a simple Santa's hat, while miniature disco balls from a past party felt right at home among our other holiday decorations. Large glass sculptures that reminded us of ice were also incorporated and are the perfect anchor points to build vignettes around.


Quirky is good

Christmas in a box

Gold arrows and disco balls? Sure, why not? The archery arrows were spray painted gold and placed in a decorative vase with miniature disco balls. It's a fun and quirky statement that reflects personality, and each element can easily be used down the road for another occasion.


Year-round greenery

Succulents placed in votives make a great alternative to flowers or poinsettias for holiday decorating. For a more traditional look, paperwhite bulbs in miniature marble urns are a beautiful approach to holiday decorating. After Christmas, you can plant both outdoors and recycle the urns and votives for daily use.

Christmas in a box

Christmas in a box


Blankets and pillows

Christmas in a box

One of the easiest ways to switch up your decor for the holiday is by swapping out your soft furnishings. We like using sheepskin and faux fur throws during the holidays, as they provide a space with wonderful glam quality, as well as warmth and texture. For a more rustic approach, try using woolen blankets with subtle patterns like stripes. The added bonus is that all of these can be used year round!


Lights, lights & lights

Christmas in a box

If you looked into my holiday "decorating kit" you would see that I have boxes of clear string lights. They are my secret weapon for creating the perfect holiday setting. Placed in a wicker basket, they are a beautiful and simple accent to fill dead space. Or in this case, placed in a vintage light cover, they create glowing orbs that can be placed on a console or into a vignette for a perfect focal point. Ours was placed on top of a hurricane vase to create a "holiday lamp" that casts a beautiful warm glow during the evening.

So you see, big style can come in small packages! Happy holidays, and be sure when everything is done, you don't forget about Santa ...

Christmas in a box

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