Ever think of having a blue Christmas? Or an ivory one? Maybe even gold. Design gurus Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar rewrite the rules of holiday decorating at their Connecticut home.
1. Get choosy with colors. The first step to preparing for the holidays? Picking a palette that speaks to you-not just Yuletide tradition. "Christmas colors clash with most interiors," says designer, blogger, party host extraordinaire, and editorial director for Rue La La, Eddie Ross, who suggests enhancing your rooms' existing hues instead of defaulting to red and green.
2. Stock the bar; don't tend it. Ross and Kochar remain perpetually ready to cocktail party, thanks to this fully loaded 1960s brass cart, which encourages guests to help themselves. "Splurge on the good stuff, and it's special without fussing," says Ross.
Plus: 101 Holiday Decorating Ideas »
3. Don't rearrange the furniture to accommodate a tree. "I don't want some Rockefeller Center-size fir to impose on my day-to-day," declares Ross, who nevertheless made a grand gesture by placing multiple mini-trees throughout the house.
4. Set a joyous tone. Literally. Ross looped a cluster of jingle bells around the front door's knob to "remind people of a Christmas sleigh when they come and go."
5. Less is more. For the living room's tree, Ross and Kochar limited themselves to basic glass ornaments in a handful of shades: blue, green, and gold.
6. Don't overlook the obvious. Bare windows offer the ultimate blank canvas; the couple took advantage of it with wreaths of juniper and blue spruce, mounted using adhesive hooks.
Plus: 21 Easy, Homemade Christmas Ornaments »
7. Poinsettias aren't the only Christmas flowers. An eye-opening alternative? White amaryllis tinged with green.
8. Create continuity with judicious pops of color. One bowl of ornaments and another of wrapped candies, plus hardcover books and a soft throw, repeat the tree's blues and greens.
9. Turn a wreath on its head. Ross turned a classical bust into something completely quirky by adding a wreath formed from a gold garland on its head.
10. Work what you've got. Ross started with the accessories that always sit on his holiday mantel: a 1940s clock in the center and the matched pair of hurricanes at either end.
11. Embrace asymmetrical symmetry. Ross added objects that mimic each other, sort of, on the ledge. A candlestick holding a textured gold ball is roughly the same height as a standing reindeer, though their shapes differ.
12. Throw a major curveball. Next, Ross introduced items to the mantel-a framed portrait and loving cup-that don't even pretend to parallel each other. The purpose: Infusing the whole scene with energy.
13. Fill in the blanks. The designer tucked gold garland throughout the arrangement. For a final stroke of genius, he draped glass beads from elk antlers hung on high. "The silver and gold strands help the mixed metals seem intentional," Ross says.
14. Houseguests deserve (a little bit of) attention. In the bedroom, Ross and Kochar stacked a few seasonal books (including Charles Dickens's Christmas Stories) on the nightstand and dangled a wee wreath of preserved boxwood from the bedside lamp. "It's warm and welcoming," Ross explains, "not overwhelming."
15. A sweet way to make a good impression. "It takes minimal effort to press cookie dough in a mold," Ross says. He nabbed these German springerle molds at flea markets. You can order similar ones from mycookiemold.com.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.