Designer Style: Holiday Decorating Ideas

Simple and clean, layered and textured, over-the-top glam, or cool and eclectic. Decorating your home for the holidays is as personal as the style you employ year-round.

We asked a few designers to share how they are decorating for the season, which we hope will inspire your holiday home.

Susan Kroeger, Susan Kroeger for the Home

“Flowers play a significant role in our holiday decorating. In lieu of the standard poinsettia, I choose amaryllis, paper whites, orchids, pink Rubrum lilys, potted in a clear vessel and surrounded by greens mixed with delightful glittered leaves, matte gold ornaments, large pinecones and white branches. We also prefer a twist on the traditional red and green, substituting red with orange, coral and pink and ‘Christmas Green’ with apple, citron and verdant forest.”


“And don’t forget the treasured ‘Elf on the Shelf’ tradition (inspired by “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” children’s picture book and its pixie scout elf). We love to take it to new and fun extremes by creating a silly or mischievous elf that gets into all kinds of trouble. Use your imagination!”


Stephanie Wohlner

“We love to entertain during the holidays, and I always approach my table the same way I do a room—with lots of layers. Everything from flowers, the contrast of light and dark, various textures, old and new pieces. It’s all about the mix and the collection. I also create warmth through color. Green and brown bring the outside in, and I always love a touch of animal print.”


Shelley Johnstone

“I always have bowls of clementines during the holiday. I steer away from the traditional red and green and poinsettias and use a lot of greens and orange flowers. Add in a beautiful orange satin ribbon, white candles and lots of little white lights, and the result is magical.”

Mary Rosemeyer, Eclectic Design + Retail Boutique

“When it comes to holiday decor, we’re in the ‘more is more’ camp. We love to indulge in the opulence of the season. By layering faux fur or chunky cable knit throws, seasonally hued pillows, custom-designed greenery and floral, mixed-tone mercury glass and candlelight, you can make a home feel rich and warm. And you can never have too many candles. Their ambient glow is so comforting and indicative of the holiday spirit. And scent triggers warm memories of seasons past. One of our favorites is Vanilla Noir by Thompson Ferrier, a faintly sweet, spiced vanilla.”


Susan Ferris, Bacca Bella Designs

“When decorating a mantel or centerpiece, I try to combine sparkly, vibrant colored ornaments with a variety of natural elements like fresh evergreens, pheasant feathers, sugar pine cones and cinnamon sticks for added fragrance. It’s the juxtaposition of the glistening accessories with more rustic, natural elements that adds sophistication and depth to a room.

“For my boys, every year I choose an ornament that reflects their specific interests or personality. When they become adults and have homes of their own, they will have enough ornaments to decorate their own Christmas tree. It’s my way of passing on a family tradition.”


Mark Roberts, Mark David Designs

“Every year I add another Burkhart Santa Claus to my collection. Made by an Elgin-based artist, Kay Burkhart, these whimsically-themed Santas withstand the test of time and are perfect for use year after year, regardless of your style.”