Decorate your way to a memorable holiday party


By Staten Island Advance


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Transforming a humdrum home or office into an environment worthy of staging a memorable holiday party requires planning, says Vancouver-based designer Joanne Craft.

“You need to determine your theme and preferred colors as step one in building a holiday environment,” says Ms. Craft, who’s charged with creating winter wonderlands at the Fairmont and Westin hotels and other British Columbia properties through the firm Ambius Vancouver.

“Pantone, the authorities on color, dubbed Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange hue as the color of 2012,” she continued. “This holiday season, we are following Pantone’s cue with a lot of vibrant colors that convey happiness and positivity. Rich jewel tones, fuchsia, electric blue, turquoise, apple green create positive happy synergy.”

In your rush to color, don’t forget white Ms. Craft said, proclaiming, “White goes with everything. White is seen as clean, pure, fresh, when paired with any color and it can bring a fresh new look to almost any color imaginable.”


In addition to jewel tones and electric hues, Ms. Craft expects a renaissance of dreamy pastels, including soft, robin egg blue, to color a serene holiday for many this year.

Among other hot trends for holiday 2012, Ms. Craft mentions crystals, chandeliers and battery-operated candles.

Make it Sparkle

“Chandeliers created from flowing crystals and rhinestones dripping off metal tree stands, branches and floral arrangements add elegance and a sense of arrival,” the designer said. “The reflective quality of the material brings depth and interest to any design.”

She also points to a “naturalistic trend” that has taken root of mixing permanent botanicals — botanically-accurate replica plants made with authentic, dried stems and flowers from natural plant materials — alongside live plants. According to Ms. Craft, hydrangea, yarrow, moss balls, bamboo and reindeer moss are among the permanent botanicals you can expect to see displayed this season.

“Nature-inspired holiday trends include recycling old ornaments by wrapping fabric around them and tying with ribbon, and using burlap ribbon, leaves, berries, and recycled paper,” she said, adding that the organic trend also favors celebrating nature with artificial birds, including owls, which she expects to be popular this season.

Go Mini


If you don’t have the space for or the time to decorate a large tree, don’t be afraid to go mini, Ms. Craft said.

“Replica tabletop Christmas trees can define the splendor of the season without harming the environment,” she said. “Pairing a mini tree with glass vases quarter-filled with ornaments and holiday spice fragrances is transformative.”

In creating a festive environment, Ms. Craft advises starting with the main focal point “feature,” beginning with the large decor piece first and then adding smaller accents around it to compliment/enhance the space, with a focus on less-traveled areas to add the most visual impact.

Key focal features to consider include:

  • Glass vases filled one-quarter with ornaments;
  • Packages/gift boxes stacked in a tower 5-feet tall;
  • Cascading ornaments suspended from the ceiling;
  • Dogwood branches lit with LED “brown cord” lights adorned with clearn, round ornament balls filled with orchids/floral stems;
  • Live potted Norfolk Island Pines, which can thrive for many years indoors;
  • Using ribbon instead of bows to cascade naturally over trees and other decor;
  • And, finally, don’t forget to engage the senses with fragrance and texture from the likes of eucalyptus and cinnamon sticks.

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