Decorating for the Holiday Season & Beyond!

Decorating for the Holiday Season & Beyond!

By Rebecca Zoet, owner + designer of This New Old House


It’s the holiday season and the halls are decked at the HBA office of Greater Des Moines! I was thrilled to be asked to style their new mantle for the cover of the December BluePrint to showcase it for the season. And, I am even more excited to share a little sneak peek on the behind-the-scenes of the mantle decorating and give you décor tips for the holiday season and beyond!

One of my absolute favorite parts of my job as a designer is working with clients on a project and seeing the final vision come together. A lot of times when you see this picture perfect final reveal photo, it looks like the magic design wand was waved to make it all happen. In reality, there is a lot of planning, decisions, and details that go on behind-the-scenes to bring the final look together! I’ll be sharing some of my secrets with you here that you can apply to your own home projects!

#1 – Create a Vision –

When I am working on a design project, I have the final vision in mind before I even begin! For the HBA holiday mantle I knew I wanted a focal point on the fireplace with a message that was specific to the HBA, a welcoming seating area that guests would be drawn to relax and warm themselves by the fire, and pops of holiday including the mini-trees and high impact with the sea of white poinsettias! My style is traditional with a modern farmhouse vibe and my niche is mixing old with the new, so you will see these design themes elements reflected in the holiday mantle styling and final vision.

#2 – Start with a Basic All-Season Base –

When you are decorating for the holidays, you definitely want to add the holiday dazzle, but I recommend starting with a neutral all-season base you can build on for decorating year-long and add in the holiday pops. These will be your large pieces like furniture and rugs. In this mantle project, I partnered with The Elements at Prairie Trail on these beautiful and comfy Ansley Chesterfield Barrel Chairs and a textured neutral Anna Rug. I layered on some pillows with some fun leather and buckle details. These basic bases will carry you through all year long!

#3 – Choose your Color Palette –

My top color palette choice is always neutral and this holiday mantle project was no different. I really contemplated adding in some really small pops of red, but just couldn’t do it. I love the crisp classic look of monotone! When you are choosing your color palette for your holiday décor, think about how this color palette ties in with the rest of your home and décor for a cohesive feel throughout.

#4 – Set the tone for your Vibe –

Decorating is more than a look, it’s a feeling! When you walk into your home, you want that at home feeling for yourself and family as well as guests that come to visit. For the fireplace mantle, my vibe was COZY! I started this vibe with the focal point on the fireplace, a custom framed wood farmhouse sign by local artisan Helps Homestead with a message perfect for the HBA. With the cozy vibe, I knew I just did not want to do fireplace mantle décor, but add in an inviting hot cocoa station. To help me create this atmosphere, I called on my friend and talented food blogger with Picnic Life Foodie. She set the cozy stage with her super special homemade hot cocoa recipe and yummy treat of cranberry pistachio biscotti perfect for the holidays {find these recipes on her blog at}.

#5 – Add in Texture –

Adding texture, shapes, and layers to your project creates visual interest. My favorite texture item is greenery! For this project, we partnered with Harvey’s Greenhouse for the mantle garland custom created with a mixture of evergreen textures. And, rather than using one large tree in this display I opted for mini-trees flanking the sides of the fireplace. For these, I used actual real small evergreens from Harvey’s Greenhouse and placed in old farmhouse metal buckets. To add to the cozy vibe, I chose a custom fur ottoman and placed a contrasting texture of a natural wood stump tray both from The Elements by Prairie Trail for the hot cocoa station. And, topped it all off with an unexpected shape and subtle pop of a holiday star!

#6 – Layer the Details Deliberately –

The big picture of a design project is nothing without the supporting details to pull it all together. I compare the details in a design project to the accessories and jewelry for an outfit. They are the final wow!

· Magical light is always a detail I like to add in for the special sparkle in a project and candles are the easiest way to accomplish this in any project. I layered in hand spun wooden candle sticks by local artisan Helps Homestead and rust lanterns with hurricanes from The Elements by Prairie Trail for the light magic.

· Our hot cocoa station becomes a work of art in itself with right accessories to show it off. These dish details included Cuba Marone saucers and dinner plates, silver edge France plate, glass cream and sugar set, and plaid and stripe napkins for the perfect hot cocoa cheers!

· I added in vintage elements with the old sled, skates and cross country skis to complete the winter scene.

· And, the last detail for the high holiday impact is the white poinsettias from Harvey’s Greenhouse for the last WOW to put the holiday mantle vision over the top!

This New Old House would like to wish you all happy holiday home decorating and a magical season ahead filled with lots of special hot cocoa moments and memories!

See More Photos Of The Makeover Here!!!

*Photography by GrappSnaps