Simple Elegance

This holiday is all about decorating with nature in mind

If you're wondering what's trendy when it comes to holiday décor this season, you’ll appreciate the nod to what designers call “simple beauty.” With natural elements from the backyard, things you may find around the house, or a few items picked up from the craft store, you can cover your home with holiday spirit.

Jason Williams, a designer and sales associate for Conlin's Furniture, embraces this magical season by presenting an earthy color scheme energized with raw wood, metal, baskets, lanterns, lighting and awe-inspiring trees.

"This year's trend is minimalist-organic," Jason says. Neutral whites, grays and beiges come to life when highlighted with black. From matte to shiny to black velvet, this basic yet bold color pulls off an expressive and distinctive look.

"Add your own touches, be personal," he says. "Bring in metals like galvanized metal which is more of a matte. Brass and gold are back too, so use them!"

Metals supply a warm, textural feeling. The combination of metal ornaments, candle holders and lanterns are favored in this rustic yet refined look. Best of all, Jason says let what you have around the house dominate the palette.

"I like using wooden trays and baskets for accessorizing," Jason notes. "In the living room or family room, if you have a fireplace, group candleholders and lanterns on the mantel. Or, put them on end tables and coffee tables for a stunning look. Cluster in some loose ornaments."

Keep layering the joy and excitement by bringing in some twigs and interesting branches from your backyard. Pine cones also make a great decorative element.

Jason has pulled these sustainable pieces together for a vibrant tablescape. The centerpiece is composed of miniature trees grouped with metal accents. Green boughs emphasize the outdoor feel.

For the table setting, layer the linens. A table cloth and runner in luscious black, white and cream set the tone. Showcase your dinnerware by topping off white place settings with black chargers or vice versa.

"You can layer many items to give depth and interest to your table," Jason says. "Napkin rings can be anything you want to use, whether wood or metal. The same with place cards."

A side-table or any other flat surface affords a festive accompaniment to your tablescape by grouping with a vase for height, and adding twigs, boughs or clusters of ornaments at the base. Tie in the upper part of the room by decorating the top of a hutch.

By all means, accentuate that chandelier. Dangle various ornaments or wrap its arms with twigs, greenery or fabric, depending on the style. Light brings everything to life and warm lighting cheers on the beautiful richness from room to room.

"Use lots of warm lighting throughout instead of using white bulbs," says Jason.  An abundance of 'warm' LED mini-lights lend soft ambiance and deliver classic beauty.

Take advantage of each situation, as has been done here, by hanging two large twig wreaths, embellished with matte black ornaments and mini-lights, on the French doors. Remember to give your kitchen and even your bedroom a dash of holiday sparkle. These rooms deserve it just as much as those main living spaces.


"Trees are definitely the focus," Jason says. "This year it's minimalist, so we've gone with 'pencil' trees. A grouping of artificial flocked pencil trees in groups of three gives you a forest feel. Always do an odd amount like three or five and make sure the trees are clustered together. Begin with a tall tree, maybe seven-foot, then step down to a six-foot and then to a five-foot tree."

There's no need to top these trees. Instead, grace the branches with transparent or mercury glass baubles. "Personalize it," he says. "Dust some pine cones with spray craft snow for that woodsy look. For an additional wood element, use embroidery hoops fitting them with organic fabric like burlap or even red and black or beige and black plaids."

This sophisticated designer look can easily be accomplished with items you may have on hand, organic material from the great outdoors, and a bit of patience while grouping the trees and layering your greens, fabrics and dishware.

Make it simple. Make it fun. Your home for the holidays will surely dazzle with elegance.

Jason’s Design Tips


Carry the look from room to room.

Hang some decoration on the door hardware of the hutch.

Add some vintage with pottery bowls filled with greenery.

Look in those old storage areas and think of ways to reuse those items in a new way.

Think outside the box and make it your own — personalize it!

Instead of having the traditional tree stand visible beneath the trees, stand the trees in galvanized buckets. No tree skirts as you want the buckets to be seen.

Cut your own trees by getting a $5 tree permit.

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