Interior design professor offers holiday design tips

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Georgia Southern University's interior design professor Patricia Walton, ASID, IDEC has come up with some tips to alieviate stress on hosts and hostesses this holiday season. She says a few simple basic deisgns can change the look of any home and hide almost any flaw.

"Interior design is more than just home décor," Walton said in a news release. "Subtle changes in lighting, balance, color and proportion can change the style and ambiance of any room."

Walton cautions against large projects, such as reupholstering or renovating, because time constraints can cause additional stress. She suggests rearranging furniture, replacing throw pillows with large versions in rich colors or painting a room to give the illusion of major change.

"It's a season of twinkling lights and candles. The atmosphere can be enhanced by installing electrical dimmers yourself. It's simple and inexpensive and will give you more control over lighting to set the mood," Walton said in a news release. "I promise, dim lights and several well-placed candles can hide a multitude of sins, even dust."

Walton recommends contrasts of colors, textures and heights to draw attention. She says lighting is a good way to set the mood, but be careful to make sure the space isn't too dim if children and elderly are present.

Walton also suggests the following tips:

  • Make it special for you: Pull out things that are important to you and your family, no matter how unusual. Arrange childhood toys or items you associate with Christmas in a group of two-to-three or more and they become a wonderful conversation starter.
  • Bring out the bling: Shiny and glittery are perfectly acceptable during the holidays. Pull out the silver and crystal and combine items of contrasting height to draw attention visually. Group sparkling red, green, gold or white items — perhaps candles or ornaments — together for emphasis and impact.
  • Lighting is essential: Use it to your advantage. Place up-lighting in greenery to create interest or use candles to accent some areas and hide others.
  • Think big: Don't waste time on every nook and cranny; focus on a few big pieces/displays to draw attention.
  • Go all-natural: Always use fresh flowers or take advantage of the beautiful free greenery outside. Holly, spruce, magnolia and fresh-cut pine serve as subtle, appropriate accents.
  • Scents set the mood: Cinnamon, nutmeg, apples and evergreen all invoke warm holiday feelings, but avoid scented candles and potpourri that can be overpowering or irritate those with allergies. Instead, bake a loaf of bread or cookies before the party (or warm up store-bought varieties in the oven), simmer spices on the stove or use fresh cut greenery in your décor. These provide subtle, yet comforting scents to set the mood.
  • Anything goes: Holiday parties don't have to be strictly poinsettias and Santa Claus, as long as they are enjoyable. Choose any theme or level of formality and let the style of your invitation be the guide for guests.
  • Don't be intimidated: Think your home isn't up to par for entertaining this season? Remember, it's the people, not the party's location that matters. Once guests are inside your home, they won't be worried about carpet stains or dust; they will be focused on laughing and creating memories with the people they love.

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