For starters, Soto encourages you to look at the items you have on hand. "I think a lot of times, people think they have to get rid of everything they have out and put only holiday items up, and that's just not the case," Soto says. "If you're not a DIY person, you can just incorporate little things like a tablecloth or runner, cloth napkins, paper items. Find a few pieces that have a pattern on them, and then layer that with your existing dinnerware. It always looks great and gives you a great layered look on your table rather than just having plates out with a centerpiece."
The crafty folks among us can do even more. "If you are a DIYer, you can do simple things like using metallic ribbons or metallic paper to wrap your vases to make your entire tabletop look amazing."
Once you decide how to decorate, you need to determine where to focus your efforts, and Soto has advice on that, too. "It all kind of depends on the party you're throwing. If most of the people are in the living room and you're doing appetizers, then obviously you want to focus on that room. But, if you're having a sit-down dinner, you want to focus on both the living room and the dining room because guests will be in both." And, regardless of what kind of party you're having, Soto recommends putting a bit of effort into decorating the guest bathroom. "That's one place that everyone's going to see, and it's nice to have a few decorative towels or a nice scented candle in there to make people feel like that space is also in the holiday spirit."
One place you shouldn't spend time decorating? The kitchen. "I know everybody just loves to hang out in the kitchen, but you're doing so much cooking and there are so many things on the countertops anyway that it's tough to add much decoration without it looking too crazy and cluttered."
Major trends this year include plaids and metallics -- especially "white, matte gold," says Soto. If you're going to make just a few small holiday decor purchases, consider buying items incorporating these trends that you can use throughout the year. Think plaid pillows and a cozy chenille throw for the couch, a gold serving tray, or a metallic runner for an elaborate table setting.
Are there some small purchases that pack a big punch? "A fun, cozy chenille throw layered with a few pillows. It doesn't have to be a patterned pillow with Frosty the Snowman or anything -- if you just want to layer some plaids with your existing color scheme, that looks great. I also love gold and metallics are coming out this year, so you can use a gold serving tray -- not just at Christmastime, but the entire year depending on the color palette of your house. If you're having an elaborate table setting, a metallic runner would look really elegant for your party.
And don't be afraid of trends -- just make them work with your existing decor. "Plaids are really big, and metallics -- especially that white, matte gold -- are big this season. For the most part, I think anyone, no matter what your style -- ultramodern, contemporary, traditional, transitional -- you can incorporate metallics and even use mixed metals in decoration.
Find out how to keep your holiday decor stain-free at ShelterPop.