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Holiday Decorating Tips From an Interior Designer

7 Tips For Decorating For the Holidays — Straight From an Interior Designer

Decorating for the holidays is one of life's simplest pleasures. Transforming your space into a festive wonderland is so much fun, but it can also be a little stressful and overwhelming — especially when you're tempted to buy literally every single thing (us). But there are ways to make it feel less like work and more like the fun activity you remember from your childhood.

POPSUGAR spoke with Megaan Pelaar, an interior designer and real estate agent, who stressed the importance of keeping things light. "The holiday season is all about sparking that joy in you," she said. "You spend a lot of time in your home, so helping it bring you happiness and warmth will help you have a better holiday season." We couldn't agree more. Keep reading for her tips and tricks on how to decorate with joy like an interior designer.

1. Shop Off-Season So You Can Look Like Money

As every Target shopper knows, the best time to buy holiday decor is the day after the holiday. But Pelaar urges people to think of their holiday shopping as more than that. "Shopping off-season and on sale items really is the key to finding great pieces," Pelaar urged. "HomeGoods, Michaels, and thrift stores have great finds throughout the year, and don't be afraid to look in aisles that aren't necessarily related to that holiday. Then I like to shop local vendors for boutique memorable items throughout the year, and local craft fairs are a fun way to find some collectable unique items, too!"

2. Get Crafty With Friends

Grab your best friends, even if they aren't the craftiest. Some of the best holiday decor is just begging to be made. "Every year, I host a craft evening with friends," she said. "We come to the event with a few of our favorite Pinterest ideas and work on a couple projects together. Usually, one of our projects is a total fail, but sometimes those items are some of my favorite. It's always fun and creates memorable pieces to use each year."

3. Tone Down the Themes

"I think being too theme-specific is overwhelming (like all white or all blue)," she said. "Instead, I like integrating a couple themes and pulling together memorable heirlooms as centerpieces. Consider tying together specific themes with complementing colors." For example, for Christmas, you can use a Winter wonderland for inspiration and use both white and blue items.

4. Build Vignettes

While there's a desire to pick one theme and just run with it throughout the whole house, consider thinking of your individual rooms as telling their own stories. "Focus on vignettes in each space," she continued. "There should be a congruent connection to each area, but I like each area to set a little story of its own. You'll likely have areas that have the primary decor where you entertain and spend the most amount of time. I think it's nice to draw people to each space with a little something, but having one or a couple main decor areas is perfect!"

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5. Find a Connection

Even though each room gets its own moment, you should still find small ways to piece them together, no matter how small or how sparkly. "Have connection thread throughout with the design (maybe it's the color of the lights or silver tinsel throughout)," she suggested. "Have fun, and tell a story. Change it up. Decor is meant to be fluid."

6. Find Some Childhood Joy

While some people might feel the urge to stick to specific and traditional holiday colors, Pelaar suggests to ultimately do what you want, as decorating should be fun. "This is the time to be creative!" she said. "Let your inner child come out and pick colors that bring you joy. This is what the holidays are all about — finding ways to bring your own personality out." If that means a tree with mostly purple accents, so be it.

7. Don't Forget the Outside

Try to keep your aesthetic vision connected between the outside and inside of your home. "They should, again, relate, and it's all about what you see from the inside out," Pelaar said. "How do they relate in the overall composition? Each space should be able to tell its own story." If you have large windows that show the inside of your home, those decorations should tie into the ones on your front porch, for example. Test it out by standing in your yard to see how it all comes together.

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