Live Christmas trees smell wonderful at first. But then you’re sweeping up needles and crawling under the thing to water it each day. Darin Bahl, owner of the Tampa event design firm Tailored Twig, says it’s easy to bring live materials into your decorating without dragging a tree through the house.
“You can add organic material to artificial trees, sconces and garlands,” Bahl says. “Rattan wood is pliable, so you can manipulate it. It looks like cork and has a cool forested vibe. Pampas grass is angelic, flowy and airy and makes a big impact. It also dries very nicely so you can use it all season. When live items are added to the mix, the mind plays tricks, and it feels like everything is fresh.”
Overall, Bahl encourages people to take advantage of the season. If your creative juices are a bit dried up, Bahl says Tailored Twig offers holiday floral arrangement classes and that he and his team are always open to answering holiday decorating questions. “[The holidays] are an opportunity to be creative and crafty.”
Nothing says “Welcome to my home” quite like a beautifully decorated table — one that sets the stage for the evening and encourages guests to sit down and enjoy a wonderful meal. Kristin Rose, creative director and co-founder of Kate Ryan Event Rentals, says not to be afraid to edit when it comes to setting your table. “Look at what you’ve [included], and don’t be afraid to add items, but also don’t be afraid to take things away,” she advises.
One way she creates visual interest and height is by placing decorations on top of decorative cake stands. When you’re ready to serve dinner, you can remove the decoration and use the stands to hold food.
Thanks to her rental company, Rose has access to linens and glasses of every imaginable color. She likes to use glasses to add a pop of color but suggests sticking to two to three hues for cohesiveness. Find ways to tie everything back together, like pairing gold rims on glasses with gold place settings, Rose says. “Consistency is key when it comes to good design,” she adds. “You want your guests to feel not only special but also comfortable.”
Decorating outside can be just as challenging as decorating inside. Tampa Lights owner Andrew Proses says that LED lights are the way to go for your holiday installation.
“They are much better than traditional lights, use less power and don’t get as hot,” he says. “They are more expensive in the beginning, but you’ll save money on your electric bill, and LED lights last up to 10 years compared to two to three years for traditional ones.”
Proses says that when he is planning a new installation, he determines how many lights are needed by measuring the area of the house that is to be lit up; for trees, one strand of mini lights generally covers 5 feet of an oak or large palm tree. If you’re looking to get your lights perfectly spaced around the house or tree, Proses suggests using zip ties, plastic clips or a staple gun. In general, he cautions homeowners to be safe.
“Make sure you have a GFI-protected outlet and aren’t plugging too many things into it. Don’t leave plugs or extension cords where they might end up in standing water, and if you’re getting up on a ladder, always have someone to hold it for you.”
Proses says if you don’t feel comfortable executing the project yourself, call a professional.
“Often what is supposed to be fun becomes stressful,” he says. “A professional service can give you the perfect look.”