If there’s ever been a year to make holiday decorating and entertaining as simple and stress-free as possible, it’s this one. No matter what you celebrate, the holidays can still happen this year with a little bit of planning and preparation. Below, Tampa design and decorating pros share their top tips for pulling off a season to remember without leaving your house.
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
The most important tool in any holiday light installation is not bulbs or wire, says Zach Tyler, the Tampa franchise partner of the house detailing company Shack Shine. Instead, it’s a simple ladder leveler. “For anyone who’s [putting up lights], it’s a must-have,” he says. “Maintaining your safety while on a ladder is the primary concern.” In recent years, most of the customers who have come to Tyler for holiday light installations have gravitated toward modern-looking round bulbs in either a warm white or pure white hue. But because newer light systems allow each bulb to be placed on the strand individually, color sequences can be totally customized to create a red-and-white candy cane effect or an orange-andpurple look for Halloween, a popular trend in recent years. To illuminate trees and landscaping, Tyler recommends strands controlled via the Twinkly app, where you can create your own light patterns and animations in all kinds of different colors. “It’s been such a crazy year,” Tyler says. “This would be a good one to just get outside, enjoy the lights, spread a little bit of holiday cheer and be happy that it’s the giving season.”
Because we’re lucky enough to have bright sunshine and balmy temperatures year-round, Tampa residents are big on embracing interior holiday décor to create the wintry feeling inside no matter the weather outside. “This year, with the pandemic, people are opting to entertain at home in smaller groups and deck the halls even more,” explains Karen Post of Home Frosting, a Tampa-based home decorating, styling and luxury staging company. When working with clients to create their holiday décor, she prompts them to determine what their “story” will be, from a more traditional or religious celebration to a more sparkle and glam look. Then, choose your style and color theme. Are you more minimalist and simple or maximalist and over the top? Do you prefer traditional hues or trendier shades? Below, find inspiration from a few holiday decorating trends Post says Tampa has embraced the most over the last few years.
“This is rustic and down to earth. Combine textured fibers, foliage and bark, natural skins or faux looks.” Designer Karen Post combined the organic look with some glamorous gold to create the scene pictured at the top of this page exclusively for Tampa Magazines.
“Pure white or shades of a single- color palette are a timeless direction to take your décor design.
“Pick your favorite metal — like gold, brass, pewter, copper, silver or platinum — or mix them up,” Post says. “Metals shine, reflect and add sparkle to any holiday.”
Post suggests looking to the past for inspiration. “Retro shapes, spheres and starbursts are just a few classic elements that can lead your décor.”
GATHER AROUND THE OUTDOOR TABLE
With health and safety on everyone’s mind, your traditional holiday dinner may be shifted outdoors this year. The Tampa-based Table Manor specializes in creating open-air get-togethers and put together this fall-themed poolside picnic that would be perfect for bringing together a small group of family and friends.
Leah Karimdadian, who runs Table Manor alongside Nicolette Tiliakos, layered neutral-colored linen, rugs and place settings, helping to create a look that doesn’t necessarily align with any one particular holiday. She pulled in pops of color like burnt orange, forest green and mustard yellow with the vintage goblets, oversized cushions and decorative pumpkins, as well as the floral centerpiece and the grazing board. Karimdadian specifically incorporates elements of her table theme onto the board with greenery or pumpkin-y bites. “When I think of the holidays, I think of food and family,” Karimdadian says. “Especially during the holidays, I make it a point to add the grazing boards on there.”
Safety is top priority, and she recommends providing hand sanitizer and perhaps even a face mask at each guest’s place setting. “If people want to use the mask, great. If they don’t, they don’t. But at least they know that they have the option.” Also, have conversations with your guests ahead of time to plan seating arrangements everyone is comfortable with. It’s just as elegant to set up smaller, socially distanced tables with family units of three or four sitting together rather than one large dining table, says Karimdadian. Just maintain the same colors and motifs from table to table. “There are definitely ways to celebrate the holidays among family and stay safe doing so.”