Celebrate with Style

The Country Club Plaza is one of the most magical places on earth during the holiday season. So when my friends Melanie and David told me they were celebrating their empty nest status by moving from their house in the ‘burbs to a high-rise condo overlooking the Plaza, I knew we had to make their first Christmas in their chic new home as glamorous as the storybook setting outside their window.
Melanie’s decorating style is understated and elegant, a perfect marriage of timeless design and cosmopolitan sophistication. So to help her create a holiday look that sparkled like the Plaza lights, I decided to add just a few powerful pops in strategic places, weaving them seamlessly into her existing décor.
To give your home a bit of glitz and glam this season, try some of the tricks we used to make Melanie’s home shine for the holidays:

Select a Killer Color Combo
Before you begin your holiday makeover, first pick a palette that will serve as your decorating muse. By selecting accents from a set color scheme, you’ll ensure that all your displays blend well with one another.
Just about every hue is “in” this holiday season, so have fun choosing colors that you love. At Nell Hill’s, ice blue holiday accents are our biggest sellers right now. To make this frosty shade a bit more glamorous, combine it with white, silver and crystal, and you’ll have a Christmas palette so beautiful, it will send chills up your spine.
If you’re a sentimental soul, you might opt for traditional holiday colors. Red and green, a Christmas mainstay that had fallen out of favor for a while, are back en vogue again. And so is sparkling, glimmering, shimmering gold.
Melanie and I decided to push the boundaries of convention and go with a very unusual color combination for her first Christmas in the new condo: coral and celadon. Melanie’s home features earthy hues like gooseberry green, molasses brown, sweet corn gold and Garrity cream, so I knew these whispery fresh colors would harmonize with her décor, yet stand out enough to get noticed.
We also wanted to make her holiday look a bit unusual, so instead of pulling in traditional Christmas icons such as pine trees, reindeer and snowflakes, we used fresh flowers and winter greens to set a luxurious and festive mood throughout her home. We created a few beautiful bouquets with hydrangeas, Belles of Ireland, pine boughs and coral rose buds then positioned them in a few high-impact spots.
For instance, Melanie keeps a darling garden statue on the vanity in her powder room, so we filled the vase affixed to the figurine’s back with flowers and pine sprigs, giving it a fresh feel for the holidays. To brighten up her kitchen island, we placed a candelabrum on either end and filled the candle holders with flowers. We created a bouquet in an antique urn for her dining table centerpiece. And we hung a big evergreen wreath over the mirror above her bar, suspending it with celadon and coral ribbons.
No matter what colors you select to help you herald the season, remember to use them consistently but judiciously. Your holiday hues should accent–not overpower–your home’s color palette.  
Make it Sparkle
If you want a glamorous look for the holidays, you’ve simply got to add a little bling. But don’t go overboard–you don’t want it to look like Christmas in Las Vegas. Just bring in enough silver, gold and glass to make your spaces shimmer.
Your dining room is one of the easiest and most visible spots to make sparkle. Start by making your table regal with highly polished silver serving pieces, gold or silver trimmed china and crystal stemware. Use framed mirrors or silver trays for chargers to reflect the light. And hang prisms from the chandelier.
On Melanie’s table, we built each place setting on black trays then layered them with gold-rimmed china, gold filigree stemware and satin-edged napkins. To add flash to her chandelier, we suspended glass ornaments from coral-colored satin ribbons.
Don’t forget to make the other displays in your home glisten. Spark up your mantel with mercury glass candlesticks or jars. Brighten your buffet by grouping together a trio of glass apothecary jars or tall cylinder vases filled with nuts, beans and pinecones you’ve misted with silver and gold spray paint. Make your foyer shine by placing a garden urn on an entry table, then filling the urn with branches you’ve painted silver or dusted with glitter. Place a cluster of glitter-crusted tree figurines atop a bookcase to brighten up this hard-to-decorate spot.
Once you’re done with your holiday makeover, be sure to show it off. Invite your family and friends over for a spectacular holiday celebration.

words by Mary Carrol Garrity and Micki Chestnut
photos by Bob Greenspan