If it were up to the design blogger, her home would always be decked out in Christmas decor.
If it were up to Emily Henderson, her home would always be decked out in Christmas decor.
“I would decorate for the holidays pretty much all year long if it were socially acceptable,” the TargetStyle expert says in a holiday decorating how-to video that premiered exclusively with PEOPLE.
“My goal is to make it feel really classic and warm, but in a really updated and simplified way,” Henderson says. “We’ve all seen the traditional red and green color palette, but it doesn’t have to be an explosion of these colors.”
She recommends adding minimal pops of red to give the space a “punch,” and mixing greenery with neutrals, woods and warmer tones. As part of her holiday makeover, Henderson chose a black and white base color palette to compliment her reds and greens, so she hung black and white plaid stockings from the mantle to pull together the colors of the space.
“To make the traditional feel more updated, use some restraint,” she says. “Not every surface needs to be dripping with decor. Just pick a few areas and keep it simple.”
Although Henderson has to exercise some restraint to wait until after Thanksgiving to fully decorate, she does begin to ease into the holiday decor in early November by changing out her textiles to faux furs and cable knits and adding festive pillows.
Of course, no holiday ornamentation would be complete without a tree and a wreath, and Henderson admits that one of her favorite items from the new collection is the oversized statement wreath that’s actually made of faux greens.
“[Fake greenery is] not a faux pas when done right,” the Design Star alum tells PEOPLE. “I like to say its a lifestyle choice. It’s like choosing quartz over marble. Faux greenery is just more affordable, easier to deal with and longer lasting. I like pairing it with neutrals, like whites and woods to make it feel sophisticated.” But, she allows, “If part of your holiday tradition is hanging real greenery (and then sweeping up the needles daily) then go for it.”
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As for decorating the tree, Henderson recommends sticking to a few different shapes of ornaments in limited colors to achieve a “refined” look. However, the mom of two admits that she is “nothing if not the mom who is obsessed with creating memories during the holidays.” Some of her favorite family traditions include decorating a gingerbread house (“which always looks like a disaster”), baking cinnamon rolls, and doing charity work.
“Sure, we like gifts — and since my kids are 3 and 5 they want gifts — but the holiday spirit is what I really just want to be filling our house,” she tells PEOPLE.
That’s why part of her holiday decor will be more kid-friendly. This year, she’ll have a second tree that’s decorated with her kids’ handmade ornaments.
“If you want to go the refined route then I’d say have two different trees, or have mini trees in their rooms,” Henderson says. “When it comes to any holidays, do whatever makes you and your family happy. Just because people like me can help curate the look, doesn’t mean its the rule. Hopefully with these tips you feel more empowered to get the look that you want!”
In her own home, Henderson has adopted the stylist’s trick of wrapping a few presents early to match your decorations and placing them around the house. This way, the presents can act as decor, but also it can help check something off your holiday to-do list.
“To give those gifts a stylish edge, stick to a consistent color palette,” she says. “Choose wrapping paper, bows and gift tags within the same color scheme to reduce the visual chaos. I love mixing craft paper in there and then just choose 3-4 colors and go for it. I love a good sprig of greenery with bakers twine, and I’ve never been mad at the classic grosgrain ribbon.”
Shop all the decor in Emily’s design on target.com.