Nature-Inspired Holiday Decor

Observe: Plenty of trees, swags, and wreaths are on display in this historic home decked for the holidays, but you won't find a trace of Christmas red. Here's a look at how kicky greens and coastal accents let the holidays zing.

Creative Home Winter 2005


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dining room table with polka dot tablecloth
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Exuberant and Carefree

    The dining room's rebirth as a fun, fresh space began with coating the walls bright pear green. Cheeky palm tree-pattern fabric for century-old chairs came next, followed by a coordinating polka-dot tablecloth.

2/17
A Grand Entrance

    The curved stairway is a fittingly dramatic backdrop for a pair of trees. For a light look on a dark mahogany bench, mix latex paint with fabric medium, tape off 11-inch stripes on a piece of cotton duck, paint the stripes with a small roller, then make a slipcover with the painted fabric.

3/17
Star-Studded Garland

    Starfish, hypericum berries, and variegated Italian Pittosporum ornament fresh pine garland that's strung on the staircase.

4/17
Simply Christmas

    Cotton duck slipcovers on the traditional furniture are a clean, youthful foil for more expensive pillow fabrics. Undressed year-round, the bay window encircling the piano is especially beautiful at the holidays, when a trio of wreaths, adorned simply with yellow and cream ribbons, accentuates its graceful proportions.

5/17
Inside the Box

    The coffee table is an English papier-mache tray on a stand. A simple glass container filled with apples adds a splash of festive green color.

6/17
Botanicals at Their Best

    Scour antiques shops, estate sales, and auctions for antique gilt frames such as the one on the mantel. Quilted fabric on the wing chair echoes the palm tree motif in the dining room.

7/17
Christmas by the Sea

    A giant shell sits on the mantel year-round; at Christmas it's paired with green gourds and heather.

8/17
A Study in Contrasts

    Starfish, seashells, and sand are a striking contrast to the ornate platter that holds them.

9/17
Fresh Inspiration

    Berries and lemons fit the holiday color scheme of yellow, white, and lime green.

10/17
A Lucky Find

    The feathered topiaries on the dining room sideboard are from a local grocery store, proving that the perfect Christmas accessory could turn up in the most unusual place -- so keep your eyes peeled.

11/17
At Ease

    Canvas-slipcovered chairs at the dining room window go vibrant with green polka-dot pillows.

12/17
White and Bright

    Imitation snow and glass beads casually strewn on the beverage table maintain an elegant, festive feel.

13/17
Simple Trick

    Create an elegant centerpiece by arranging a few orchid stems in a clear glass vase that has pieces of coral at the bottom. This vase only looks expensive -- it was actually purchased from a discount store and then etched with a monogram.

14/17
The Little Things

    Seashells on napkin rings unify the holiday decor with the home's year-round nature theme.

15/17
Mark It Bold

    The large red monogram on the duvet is the only punch of deep color in an otherwise neutral scheme of cream, white, and greens in the master bedroom.

16/17
Nook for Wrapping

    A wicker table and chairs make a handy gift-wrapping station in the sweet sitting room that adjoins the master bedroom. Gracefully shaped built-in cabinets display more seashells.

17/17
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