Home Tour: A Small Home Gets Dressed for the Holidays

Using a light touch, a small house gets seasonal flair without overpowering the senses.


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2-story house
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Cheery Holiday Wreaths Welcome Guests

    Parked right on the street, the facade of this little house in Frederick, Maryland, features green wreaths in every window to show holiday cheer even when there's no front lawn for a waving Santa.

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Stylish Holiday Decor

    Step inside and the green theme continues. By keeping the holiday color scheme simple and consistent, homeowner Kara Norman was able to add lots of holiday elements without overwhelming the small rooms.

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Bonsai-Style Christmas Trees

    Putting a standard Christmas tree in the living room would have crowded the room almost to the point of being impassable. Two trees trimmed to almost bonsai style, however, kept plenty of fresh greenery and bright lights at eye level and the floor space open below. The pots are filled with sand to keep the trees stable, and the sand covered with fake snow and real moss.

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Holiday Tabletop

    No tree in the living room took away the standard spot for stashing presents. But the open space under the big round pedestal table in the corner provided a great alternative. The table was the perfect setting for a holiday vignette of greenery, twigs, and ornaments.

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Green Holiday Touches

    A sash of green satin turns a simple chair into a festive place to sit. By using the same color throughout the house, every item of green adds to the sense of holiday style--even a pretty pillow that isn't of a holiday theme.

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Silver Accents

    Already in use throughout the house, Kara's silver pieces provided just the right setting for holiday ornaments. Shiny ball ornaments of different sizes gathered in a silver bowl shimmer and twinkle--and safely contained, they're less likely to get accidentally bumped and broken.

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Festive Holiday Decor

    The clear acrylic side table allows for two-level holiday decorating. It's another place to stash gifts where they're in sight to be enjoyed before the wrapping paper is torn off. This blue-green paper adds another level of color to the room without a jarring shift.

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Filled Lamp Bases

    A couple of lamps with open glass bases offer another opportunity to use simple ball ornaments. All roughly the same size, the different surfaces--crackled shiny and smooth matte--add layers of visual interest. A few strands of glittering trim in different lengths draped over the edge of the lampshade mimic the look of icicles.

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White Poinsettia

    Even the standard-bearer poinsettia gets in the act. By choosing a white variety and including a few green leaves, the look stays consistent but nods to the traditional choice.

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Holiday Touches in the Kitchen

    In the kitchen, the greens get warmed with a tower of orange fruit--a seasonal and suitable complement to the theme. Kara's large round terrarium is filled with faux snow and a hill of ornaments to create a wintry holiday scheme. Bowls of paperwhites and pedestals topped with greenery bring a touch of garden freshness to the room.

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Holiday Dining Table

    The holiday table is dressed for entertaining with seasonally styled chair covers, napkin rings, and table decorations. Using more gold in this setting, green becomes the backup color so the look is warm, rich, and bright.

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Well-Dressed Chairs

    Slipped on the back of the chairs, gold-tone fabric is held in place by a length of trim. A smidge of blue in the trim ties the look to the drapes. And a single silver ball ornament rests safely against the fabric to highlight the holiday note.

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Do-It-Yourself Decorative Hurricane Lamps

    A touch of the twig motif from the living room comes to the tabletop on the hurricane lamp holders. To achieve the same look, buy inexpensive hurricanes at mass-market decorating stores. Wrap them in clear adhesive shelving paper, cut out tree shapes, and spray the exposed shapes with fake snow. After the spray dries, remove the rest of the wrap to leave the shimmery trees.

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Holiday Accents in the Bedroom

    Upstairs, the bedroom gets a touch of holiday decorating. The wreaths can readily be seen and enjoyed through the windows. Snippets of evergreen boughs (cuttings from the evergreens downstairs) and a poinsettia flower fill vases on the dresser.

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Bedroom Christmas Tree

    The big news in the bedroom is the full-size Christmas tree in the corner. Here, there's room to let it spread. Placing it in the corner where it shows through two windows makes the tree visible--if unexpected--from the street.

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Vintage Tree Skirt

    Another unexpected delight, the tree skirt is actually a vintage skirt with a Hawaiian theme. Kara bought it in a thrift store just because she liked the pattern. The black-and-white design is interesting without drawing attention when placed around the tree base.

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Subtle Seasonal Decorating

    In the den, a trio of wall vases is filled with more tree trimming--both evergreen boughs and twigs. Here, the lone pale red poinsettia finds a home on the ottoman. Here, too, the green-and-gold pillow continues the holiday color scheme, but the pattern isn't a holiday print.

    The effect throughout the house is a subtle nod to cheerful seasonal decorating without the jarring switch to holiday-only motifs and strong colors.

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