Calm and Bright in Green and White

Discover the joy of a simple, serene decorating scheme, and find some peace in this hectic season.


This New York home seems far away from the maddening crowds thanks to the quiet decorating touches that take their cues from nature.

All are welcomed into this serene home that's warmed by light and quieted by a one-color-plus-neutral palette. Luscious greens as soft as moss fill the house with gentle color. From the deepest jewel tones to the palest sage, green gracefully weaves its way from room to room.

At the center of the living room, a tall fir brushes the ceiling. Green Christmas balls in satin and reflective finishes graduate in size from small to large, following the shape of the tree. Hundreds of glass icicles and yard after yard of gold package cord add sparkle to the tree while keeping the look simple and sophisticated.

The oversized stockings are cut from natural Irish linen to give them texture and a rich tone. The embellishments are frothy vintage laces; they add an heirloom charm to the room.

A plain wreath of mixed greens and a quartet of myrtle topiaries are in perfect harmony with the earthy elegance of the home.

The pleated garland adds a touch of color. To make the garland, accordion-pleat 3-inch-wide wire ribbon at 3-inch intervals. Leave several inches at each end unpleated. Using an upholstery needle and fine string, pierce through the center of each pleat and thread it onto the string.

When the garland is long enough, make a hanging loop in each end of the string. Trim the ends of the ribbon at a 45-degree angle.

Cozy spots abound, especially the bedroom where sunshine streams through the windows. Quilts add layers of warmth, and pots of moss, pinecones, and greens can remain after Christmas passes to keep the room fresh and inviting.

Evergreens and holly tucked in a firebox and a string of little mittens cut from cotton quilt batting (they're held on the twine with miniature clothespins from the crafts store) add inviting winter touches to the room.

Moss Pots

The moss pots are white-washed terra cotta. To create the look, wipe unpainted terra-cotta pots with clear water to clean. When they're dry, dilute white acrylic paint with water until it's the consistency of milk, and brush it on the pots. While the paint is still wet, wipe away some of the paint with a clean, dry rag.

The moss is a good year-round touch of nature that simply becomes seasonally perfect in the winter. Simply fill the pots with dirt and top them with fresh moss purchases from the florist.

When a color is calm, texture becomes more important. For example, add glittering glass and shiny Christmas ball ornaments to play off the natural tones and create small, intriguing scenes that catch the eye all through the house.

Look for the opportunity to present common items in unexpected ways to create interest in a room. Windows with deep sills offer the perfect opportunity.

The window here perfectly frames a vignette of embossed bowls stacked and brimming with ball ornaments. A swag of holly tucked in the corner and an array of candles complete the scene.

A Humble Table

Guests are put at ease when the table is set with casual style and inviting elements. Wood crates filled with grass serve as both a centerpiece and accents around the room. Grow your own grass by sowing seeds in a plastic-lined crate several weeks before the festivities. If you're running a bit behind schedule, simply purchase already growing grass from a florist.

To decorate each place setting, tie a plaid napkin with ribbon, tuck in a sprig of holly, and place the napkin across the open space on the salad plate. For safety, you can substitute artificial holly berries for real ones or simply use silk holly.

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