Holiday Decorating Tips for Your Mountain Home

Yule rules from home design pros
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A Holiday Haven in Vail, designed by Courtney St. John Studio | Photo by Brent Bingham

We surveyed interior designers and asked them for their favorite holiday decorating tips. Take notes, but don’t be afraid to add your own style to the holidays this year. 

“There really are no hard-and-fast rules to getting the perfect holiday décor. Choosing whatever resonates with you is really the way to go. The holidays can be so personal, so choose what you love to live with,” says interior designer Courtney St. John.

See the Colorado mountain home she decked out for the holidays

Jeremiah Young at Kibler & Kirch has a favorite trick: “I like to stuff the tree with a whole lot of other greens like magnolia and sprigs of blue spruce and other pines” he says. The supplemental branches give the tree a denser, healthier look, he notes, and it means you can go lighter with the ornaments.

See Young’s nature-inspired holiday home

Warm yellow lights are the tree’s final touches. “I’m a maniac about warm light,” Young says. “You’re going to sit there in the evening, so you want a soft glow, not cold white lights.”

For the table? Young favors a traditional, classic white linen, scallop-edged tablecloth–very elegant, but approachable with bows of plaid and velvet ribbon adorn the chairs, and an array of pillar candles marches down the center of the table. 

Candles are a must. “Is there anything more beautiful than a whole bunch of candles?” Young asks. Of course, he adds, they should be set at different heights, but never so high as to obscure the faces of fellow diners.

Here are 8 quick tips to remember when decorating for the holidays:

Multiple trees: Why stop at one?

Natural elements: Add an abandoned bird’s nest found in nature.

Bring on the bling: Don’t shy away from decorations made of crystal, gold and silver.

Family treasures: An heirloom Christmas village and or a tree decorated solely with ornaments made by the children when they were growing up adds a sentimental touch to your décor. 

Traditions: Don’t forget those time-honored traditions like leaving out Santa cookies and milk on Christmas Eve.

Faux Fir: If you like to start decorating early, use faux trees and garland, and then add fresh springs of cedar and pine so you still get that delicious holiday scent. Plus, if you invest in high-quality greens, you can use them forever.

Lights Fantastic: Traditional white Christmas lights are classic and allow the rest of the décor to shine. 

Sustainable décor: When taking down the holiday décor, mark where everything went. “That way it’s always easy to figure out where things might go next time,” Courtney St. John  says. Plus, reusing wreaths and garlands that you can return to every year can be a great way to become more sustainable during the holidays, she says.