6 Christmas Decorating Ideas {that won’t bust your budget}

There are many creative things you can do to get your home holiday-ready without spending a ton of money.  Here are six sensational ideas from my home to yours:

Whether you purchase a chalkboard or create one yourself using chalkboard paint {like I did here}, you can design a stunning, personal holiday message that has a good old-fashioned feel. And don’t forget to hang a fresh wreath. I made this one from Leyland cypress branches.

A fancy, red bow can make anything look festive, so tie one on!

Get your candles in line! You probably already have some lying around, anyway. Line them up on a window ledge or a long dining table. If they’re colorful or decorative, you don’t even have to light them because they’ll already look great just the way they are.

Candy canes are extremely cheap but they look super chic when grouped together in vases or mugs. I like traditional red and white, but these days you can find candy canes in a variety of fun colors to match your decor.

Embellish long curtains with tassels, ornaments or both. Sometimes it’s the small touches that make your home look sensational!

Each year I hang a wreath on just about every window and door in my house using ribbon that matches the colors of the room. I have a Tuscan-style kitchen, so these wreaths have bows made from brown, gold and copper ribbon. This is my favorite way to make our home look festive!

All photos and styling by Kelly Porter.

Super Chic Christmas Colors

Well, it’s that wonderful time of the year, and it seems like the holiday season got here pretty fast!  At least for me.  But that’s a good thing because I truly love Christmastime, and I had so much fun creating this year’s Christmas Color palettes.  As always, I included a mix of traditional and unconventional colors, which I think are all super chic choices for decorating and entertaining….starting with the retro-modern red and turquoise combo shown above {my living room}.  I hope these color ideas help to make your holiday planning a little more jolly!


Create a simple and chic display by arranging sprigs of holly, pine and boxwood in milk vases. I have a huge collection of milk vases and I love how versatile they are! I found all of them at local thrift stores!


For an antique look, mix yellow gold with rose gold and tones of parched ivory & natural wood.


Dare to be different {and whimsical} with a fiery orange ornament display that would make Heat Miser proud!


…Or keep it simple and easy with classic silver accessories — they’re always on trend during the holidays {and easy to find}.


Pinecones have a natural warmth, so display them all over your home in bowls and jars. These brown beauties look especially great in a frosty white setting. Let it snow!

All photos and styling by Kelly Porter.

Why You Should Choose Dark Blues

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Lately, so much attention has been given to light, warm blues (read: aqua and turquoise) in home design, that the use of dark blue has been somewhat ignored.  As much as I love Tiffany blue–which I’ve used in my home–I also have splashes of dark blue around the house.

My sons’ room – wall colors are Honorable Blue and Copper Harbor by sherwin-williams

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If you like bolder, richer colors, dark blue can be a great choice because it works so well with so many other colors, or used with white, it creates a very classic look.

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Even dark blue upholstery can be super gorgeous.  A dark blue sofa is very modern and makes a great focal piece in a mid-century styled space.

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Dark blue is calming and comforting, and it’s associated with dependability, honesty and inner peace.  All very good reasons to use it in your home.

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My dark blue paint picks (from sherwin-williams.com)

Kitchen Color: Dark Tones

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I’m not a fan of kitchens that are overwhelmingly white — white cabinets, walls, countertops, backsplashes, everything.  Some would say this is a ‘clean and classic’ look, but I say this type of decor appears sterile, and lacks the warmth that a kitchen should have (there’s a reason it’s called the ‘heart of the home’).  I like kitchens the way I like my coffee — earthy and dark.

You can still use a white element… say, marble countertops…and achieve a warm feel by mixing them up with darker cabinets.  Using a combination of dark and light cabinets will also work very well.

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Choose a mid to dark-tone stain, like espresso or be bold and paint your cabinets with a high-gloss black. If you still prefer lighter cabinets, go for a warm gray or off-white — as opposed to stark white:

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Your kitchen should feel comfortable and inviting, just like a restaurant.  Ambiance is the key!

Design Concept: A Dazzling Dressing Room

One of my many projects in the past year involved working with an Online Design client who lives in Brooklyn, NY.  Asha contacted me because she needed help turning a small bedroom into a vintage-glam dressing room filled with her favorite colors — fuchsia and red.  The initial color she selected (shown below) just wasn’t right so she halted everything  in hopes that I could get her back on track.

before – too red!

Aside from choosing paint colors, one of the biggest challenges for Asha was editing down the furniture she wanted in the space.  She already had a few beautiful pieces with dark wood finishes, including a vanity she found at an antiques store.  Asha also wanted shelves, and she was considering a sleeper-chair for the space.  But with the room being only about 7 feet wide (the longest wall is 11 feet), something just wouldn’t make the cut.

I began with the color scheme, I selected Razzle Dazzle by Benjamin Moore for the main wall color.  It’s a happy, bold shade of fuchsia.  I also suggested painting the closet a lighter, coordinating hue —  Pure Pink.

Then, because of the room’s small size, my concept included small, open shelves (which provided a pop of red) and a slipper chair–instead of a bulky sleeper-chair.  I also included a few fun, girly things such as the crystal beaded curtain and the damask stencil design.  This is a boudoir, after all.

When I last heard from Asha, she was very happy with the design and appreciated the editing process.  It can be hard to ‘leave out’ special items that you want to see in your space, but in small room, less is more.

NOTE:  Using bold hues in a small space can be tricky!  The color will get amped up because the walls are closer together and they will reflect the color more intensely.  But with the right color tones, the results can be strikingly beautiful.

desigin and computer renderings by Kelly Porter