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Feather Your Nest

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Spruce up for the Holidays

In winter, our rooms should feel cozy, especially for those of us in northern climates with the long, dark nights.  Make your home interesting and look and smell delicious.

Whether you are a traditional "Currier-and-Ives" fan, or into modern scaled down simplicity, or family friendly shabby chic, there are lots of creative ways to rev up your decor!

With a little advance planning and help from the family, decorating for the holidays can be fun.  Here are some ways to feather YOUR nest.

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Cozy Accents

One of the easiest ways to bring a feeling of comfort is by layering accessories.  Top beds, sofas or chairs with a throw.  For glamor and a glitzy holiday feel, try metallic embroidered or beaded throws.  Chenille and velvet bring a sense of richness and warmth.

Toss cushions are a close second, and are always visually inviting.  They are available in so many fabrics that are winter cozy. They run the gamut from micro fiber, basket weaves, faux suede, leather looks, fun furs, to beaded and tasseled crushed velvet.  Just pick your style and pile them on.

To make your living areas engrossing, put decorating, gardening and travel books on your tables, chairs and stools.  Turn the dining room table into a library space, layered with a tablecloth and an antique quilt.  Leave some of the books invitingly open to invite browsing.

Keep favorite multi-player games like Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, etc. handy.  Store playing pieces in pretty fabric or leather covered boxes and make them part of your decor.

Build a "scent wardrobe" of candles and oils to banish those less-than-pleasant smells that arise in our sealed-up homes.  Put away your light florals, go for heavier, warm fragrances like vanilla, mulled cider, and other spicy scents.

More Than Just the Tree

Use simple decorating - take wide ribbon and gift wrap throw pillows like a present.  Or take ready-made scarves and accent with greenery and berries to make great indoor wreaths. Just wrap them loosely around a coat hanger opened to a circular shape.  Or lay these on your mantle, television hutch, or top of a bookshelf draped around your family photos and other knickknacks.

String metallic or jewel look ornaments on a garland with invisible fishing line and drape it over a curtain rod.  Or try feathered bird ornaments on the garland.  For children's rooms or recreation rooms, try using Santa's Toyland or angels or elves type ornaments for the curtain rod garland.

Add swags of lace or dramatic velvet in the same tone as your blinds and shades for a new take on Victoriana.

Setting the Table

Garlands and Centerpieces

Dress up your dining room chairs - and protect them at the same time from those holiday spills.  Attach gold or jewel toned tassels to the four corners of a Christmas hand towel and drape it over the seat.  

Hang ornaments from the light fixture or chandelier.  Try placing inexpensive decorative candle rings around the base of the chandelier bulbs.

Make a festive centerpiece with a crystal bowl filled with fresh cranberries.  Add one aspirin per bag of cranberries and fill with water.  Then add fresh flowers and evergreen boughs.  

For place cards, use old holiday greeting cards and/or photos of your guests in small gilded frames.

Garlands and Wreaths

Windows really are the focal point of every decorating scheme.  So draw attention to a beautiful view or the elegant window shape itself. Line up your holiday treasures on the sill.  At night, reflect those window vignettes as well as your artwork with mirrors on opposite walls.  This creates a masterpiece effect all of its own.

Replace tiebacks with garlands and tassels.  Use them as fringe on the bottom of window shades, or twisted through the bottom rail of a window blind.  Use ribbons stapled with ornaments at various heights and hang from the top of the window as well.

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