This just might be the earliest I’ve ever pulled out my Christmas decor, but I decided to embrace slow seasonal decorating this year. It’s a concept I’ve actually really enjoyed thus far, as opposed to tackling it all at once. I needed to setup my living room a bit early for photos this year (thanks to our shop), and I thought it would be ideal to decorate & share our main spaces and the exterior in my own time, sharing them as they’re completed. The first room I crossed off my holiday decorating list was of course, our formal living room. If you’re feeling festive early this year or could use some holiday inspiration, click through for the tour! I had a lot of fun styling this space for the holiday season ahead.
*Serena & Lily generously gifted me some of their new holiday textiles. It was fun to use updated pillows & throws in the space- I was happy they fit into my seasonal palette!
Let’s start with the fireplace… as soon as I spotted that textural pinecone wreath, I knew I had to have it! The size perfectly layers over my round mirror, and it feels like it was made to hang in that exact spot. For holiday decorating especially, I really enjoy layering.
In keeping with tradition, I carefully hung the stockings I made a few years ago. If you’re interested, you can find the DIY here… they’re really easy! It’s basically a slipcover that can be used with any standard stocking, which easily allows you to mix up the aesthetic.
For the color palette this year, I was pretty set on blue. You know how much I love our blue mohair sofa, and I really wanted to play up those middle blue hues. Plus, my favorite tartan throw was a traditional must. Between the wreath, the throw, and our existing sofa– it felt like a safe and beautiful bet this year. I went with a warmer palette last year, so going cool was a nice way to mix things up.
I already shared my trick for using ribbon to emphasize and enhance a holiday color palette, so as you can probably guess- I went crazy with ribbon & bows this year. Check out my favorites in this blog post, if you missed them!
I also repeated a similar styling treatment on our beloved built-ins this year, by flipping the books for a more neutral installation for the holiday season. It’s makes the room feel warmer and reads as a textural neutral, allowing other elements to shine- like greenery, ribbon, the fireplace, and our tree.
Of course I’ve already received plenty of confused and angry messages about the flipped books. Ha! It happens every year. This topic actually prompted a Design Discussion post last year, if you’d like to read more about that. Apparently, people have strong feelings about shelf styling. “But how will you find a book?! This makes no sense, Sarah!” To answer that question honestly- I won’t be pulling any books from this shelf for the next month and a half. We have plenty of other book storage in our house, and if I’m being transparent- the books I’m actually reading tend to accumulate on my bedside table upstairs. I enjoy styling our living room built-in for the sake of mixing it up during the holidays- it has become a fun tradition I look forward to!
I kept our fireplace and mantle pretty simplistic this year… I only used one piece of garland and a few accessories, allowing the pinecone wreath to center the vignette. We’ve already had our fireplace going this season, and I’m reminded how thankful I am for this cozy spot! I love having a gas fire- with the click of a remote, I’m able to easily enjoy the most comfortable seat in the house. Over the weekend, I took a beat to relax and curl up with a good book for an hour or two, post decorating.
I also pulled out my vintage brass deer! This is another favorite holiday tradition and decor moment of mine… I thrifted this charming pair four years ago and they’ve kind of become a household symbol. Since moving to our current home, we see lots of deer every single day- it’s something Emmett & I love that remind us of home. These special brass holiday deer are actually really large- two to three feet tall! Photos don’t do them justice.
I stuffed our tree with my favorite ornaments, tied lots of ribbon, hung tassels, garland, and even found some vintage items to incorporate this year…
I found a lot of vintage French horns that felt really seasonal and festive for the shop, and ended up keeping some more myself. I wasn’t quite sure how I’d style them, but ended up tucking them into the tree. They sold out quickly, but I’ll be adding a few more I found to the shop this week- so keep your eyes peeled!
In regards to tree decor, I tend to gravitate toward the classics: glass icicles, wood beaded garland, and velvet ribbon… but this year’s favorite is a pair of Staffordshire dog ornaments. I actually found these at market last month for our shop. The sweetest father / daughter duo hand paint the dogs & ginger jar ornaments. They look absolutely lovely and special adorning our tree. I know these will be classics I’ll cherish for years to come!
Our tree is nestled into the corner of our living room, and thanks to all the glass ornaments- it beautifully refracts the light… it really dances around the room during the daytime. In the evening hours, you can’t beat the glow of twinkly lights during the holidays. It’s a happy, cozy moment!
Emmett and I both have pretty bad allergies, so we’ve never been able to have a real tree (sadly), but I did buy a new faux tree last year, and I’m still really happy with it! It’s a budget-friendly tree, if you’re on the hunt for a new one… and it’s pre-lit.
In regards to winter textiles, I opted for luxe winter whites, cozy wool & alpaca materials, and heavier throw blankets paired with plush pillows. I added new lumbars to our swivel chairs, and the tassel details work beautifully with my holiday decor this year.
One of my favorite throws, the Ashland alpaca throw (pictured above), lives on the arm of our chair year round, but I use it most often during the winter months. You’ll also notice my tartan throw draped across the arm of the opposing chair (below). That just feels like classic winter and Christmas to me!
As for the greenery, my favorite wispy pine needle garland sold out quickly. I thought I had stocked plenty for the shop, but now I know to really gear up next year! I’m sorry if you wanted some and missed out this time around. It will be back next holiday season! I always use it to line our built-in countertop. It creates such a nice texture!
Hues of blue, toile patterns (isn’t this wrapping paper amazing?), and deep saturated terra cotta colored ribbon was my inspiration this year, if you hadn’t already noticed. It feels very bright and cheerful in our living room, and I’ve been enjoying my seasonal decor these past few days. I’m ready to continue decorating and move onto the next room.
I’ll also be decorating our entryway (how much depends on how my office renovation progresses), I would like to hang some garland in the kitchen, and I always enjoy putting a wreath on each exterior window. I’ll try to share those spaces as they’re finished. As for the outdoor vignettes and exterior- I’ve got to wait until the snow sticks before I photograph… it’s tradition! I feel like our house was made to be covered under a blanket of snow. It looks its best during the winter and holiday season! I also wanted to ask if you’d be interested in an evening holiday tour again this year? If so, I’ll add that to my to-do list as well.
I hope you enjoyed the holiday living room tour! It was fun to stick with blue hues in that room this year. If you’re curious to see what it looked like last Christmas, click here. Here’s to a festive week ahead as we gear up for Thanksgiving next week. I’m looking forward to all the seasonal traditions! Have you pulled out your holiday decor yet? When do you typically begin decorating?
SallyNovember 15, 2021 at 3:23 am
This is just lovely, Sarah – so elegant, but cosy and welcoming as well (some people’s interpretation of elegant can turn out to be too formal and distancing). I continue to positively covet your brass deer! 😍
SarahNovember 15, 2021 at 8:05 pm
Thank you so much, Sally! Those brass deer are so special. I really enjoy bringing them out for the holidays each year. I hope you’re having a lovely November!
PeggiNovember 15, 2021 at 4:53 am
Good morning! Festive, seasonal and lovely! The different blue tones really shine with the greenery and warmer elements. All of the ornaments in your shop are fab, and I’m especially into the small tassels and crystals on the tree! That pinecone wreath is amazing! I still keep thinking about trying a diy version; I just need a super-busy weekend when I have tons of important tasks to avoid.🤣 We haven’t had a tree in years, but we do have the ugliest fireplace in existence, so I like to dress the mantle. This year I trimmed a bothersome Oregon grape which looks exactly like holly! I added my new smoky blue hurricanes, but I was a little stumped because they need some elevation… I am going to set them on a small stack of books with the spines facing the wall! Haha. I will think of you every time I look at them.😉 The only other holiday decorating we do is adding twinkle lights around the house. We haven’t pulled those out yet. This week is about nailing down the final Thanksgiving menu details! Cheers to all the holiday happenings!🎄💜
SarahNovember 15, 2021 at 8:04 pm
Thank you, Peggi! I was in a “sure, why not add ALL the things to the tree” mood this year. Objects, tassels, vintage french horns, dogs, anything goes! Emmett was laughing at me because I had birds clipped on, dogs, there were some reindeer in there for a minute, and he was like… is this a zoo or a Christmas tree? LOL! I ending up scaling it back a bit, and I’ll use the other animals on our tiny tree, but he had me cracking up. The pinecone wreaths are actually really fun to make! During one of my 3-D classes in art school, I made hanging wreaths and pomander balls out of pine cones. I just used styrofoam balls, dowels, and hot glue. They turned out so gorgeous, and you can insert cinnamon sticks or star anise to make them smell amazing. I love your mantle this year and your grape idea is genius! A stack of books is always the answer to add height. I’ve also turned my attention to our Thanksgiving menu now. Bring on the delicious food and gorgeous tablescape. Speaking of- I can’t wait to see photos of yours!! xo
Leslie WoodNovember 15, 2021 at 5:50 am
Beautiful! It really is complimentary to your existing decor, which I really like. Would love to see the evening holiday tour as well please.
SarahNovember 15, 2021 at 7:59 pm
Thank you, Leslie! I appreciate your kind words. I’ll definitely pull together a holiday evening tour as we get closer to Christmas :)
LaurenNovember 15, 2021 at 7:32 am
Good morning Sarah; it turned out absolutely lovely! My favorite moments are always the deer and the wreaths on the built-ins. Both bring a smile every time I see them. I imagine that’s what it does for you to live there and see it daily. The play on blue hues is gorgeous against the sofa, and absolutely classic paired with the toile gift paper and ginger jar ornaments. While I’m all about seeing your holiday nighttime tour, I know you’re in a particularly busy season. I’ll be here for it if you get around to it, but please don’t press your already tight schedule.
We typically purchase our tree on Black Friday and spend Saturday decorating as a family. By the end of the weekend the house is usually decorated. Hanging the stockings last is a holiday tradition I’ve kept since I was a kid. It always feels so special to know that the decorating is complete as we share that moment together as a family.
This year I’m anxious about decorating with Rocky. I’m thinking of elevating our tree on a table in front of our large windows in the front room. Our neighbor has our exact replica home, and she does this to accommodate her Christmas villages. We’ve long wanted to purchase a 15’ tree, simply for the outside view in front of the windows-maybe this year will reignite that desire. Any tips you have on navigating the first Christmas with baby Huey the dog are certainly appreciated! 🥴 Your living room turned out lovely and I can’t wait to see the rest of your decorating. Happy Monday Sarah!
SarahNovember 15, 2021 at 7:58 pm
Hi Lauren!! Thank you so much! The deer are my favorite- those two were such a fun find! I love a good nighttime tour- I feel like holiday decor looks its best when the twinkly lights are on and sparkling. I’ll be sure to share my annual evening tour once we’re a bit closer to Christmas. I’m honestly in Thanksgiving mode right now, and still have quite a bit to decorate. Ha! Your family tradition was my mine growing up! My parents always made us wait until Thanksgiving night to get the tree out, and the following weekend was the time to decorate. It was always so nostalgic! If we had a family (kids), I would definitely stick with that because the anticipation is so much fun! It’s a great tradition… and your stocking idea- that is SO sweet and special! I love that. Ahh, the joys of having a puppy during the holidays. Crosby’s first Christmas was actually pretty easy because we didn’t have a tree, but his second Christmas was a naughty one… he definitely snagged some ribbon and almost toppled it over a time or two. My best advice- secure the tree REALLY well, hang the breakables up a bit higher, and practice the “leave it” command. Lol! Although- I do love your idea of a tabletop tree. I’ve been seeing a lot of those beautifully done this year. Have an awesome week! xox
ColleenNovember 15, 2021 at 7:34 am
Your festive living room is stunning Sarah! I love every detail and love color combo. The pinecone wreath is lovely and adds a beautiful textural element to the space. Of course, the wispy pine garland is gorgeous as always and all pretty blue ribbon is fabulous. I never get tired of seeing this spectacular room as I love the warm cozy vibe that is always inviting me to stay awhile, especially when all decked out for the holidays. Your tree is super amazing and I always admire every pretty decoration. Honestly, you are much better off with a faux tree, the trouble of a real tree is a ton of work and mess. I finally convinced my husband in 2018 to go faux, thank heavens!
I wont be decorating for another couple of weeks as I am still enjoying fall but you are getting me in the festive spirit for sure. We just closed our pool this weekend😢 what a wonderfully long season we had thanks to beautiful weather. Amazing!
I would love to see a nighttime tour if you are up for it! YAY…..Thanks for the Christmas inspiration today and I look forward in receiving my order from your shop so I can get some holiday cheer happening here too😊 Have a super day!
SarahNovember 15, 2021 at 7:52 pm
Thank you, Colleen! Your garland should be to you tomorrow- let me know how you like it in person :) I wish you could teleport and have a coffee or cocktail fireside in the living room with me. It definitely feels cozy in here! I will say- I really enjoy not having a mess with the faux tree. It’s just so easy. We don’t worry about lights, we just stand it up, plug it in, and it’s ready to go. Ha! Convenient, for sure. We do like to go with our friends to chop down their annual Christmas tree in the forest (they give permits out here in Utah), and it’s a fun tradition to tag along and drink cider or cocoa… and no mess or work once we get back home. Haha! I feel super early to the holiday party, but I still have plenty of decorating left to do… I’ve only tackled the living room, and I’m hoping after Thanksgiving, I can get to the rest of the house. I know how much you enjoyed your pool this year! It will be back open before you know it next year. I’m glad you had a long summer season in your dreamy backyard. I’ll work on a nighttime tour closer to Christmas once everything is up and twinkling. Here’s to holiday cheer :) Have a great week! xo
Danna FNovember 15, 2021 at 7:41 am
Sarah, your holiday decor is beautiful. Love the blues you used this year. Those deer are my favorite! I think the turned books make your shelves warm and the holiday wreaths stand out.
So fun to pull out holiday decor that you haven’t seen in some time. I think I have my husband convinced that we need to try to get a little of ours out of storage so that I don’t have to spend money on a tree, decor, etc. I’m ready to enjoy it.
Have a great Monday!
SarahNovember 15, 2021 at 7:47 pm
Thank you so much, Danna! I love my brass deer- they just make me smile :) It’s always fun and nostalgic to pull out our favorite holiday decor. I love that you convinced your husband to get a bit of yours out of storage. I feel like that’s what makes home feel like home during the holidays- even if you’re not super settled. Might as well enjoy it… even if it takes a little more work! I hope you’re having a good November so far. Are your kids back in town for Thanksgiving next week? I hope you have some awesome family time! Here’s to a great week ahead! xox
Anne HNovember 15, 2021 at 12:53 pm
Ah, I know the holidays are RIGHT around the corner when I see those beautiful brass deer make an appearance on my feed! Adore them so much as well as the rest of your holiday decor. The cool blue is so, so pretty. Honestly, I love seasonal decor that is non-traditional in color, just like I like my holiday cookies! 😉 A cool wintery blue, gray and cream palette is so much more serene and sophisticated to me than primary red & green. I’m so glad to know that the pine needle garland will be back next year, too! Any chance you’ll be restocking any of the ornaments before this Christmas again? I put off my order too long and missed out snagging one of those gorgeous topaz and beaded ornaments, but totally understand if not. Boo, but thrilled orders are keeping you busy! And yes to alllllll the home tours, please. 😍
SarahNovember 15, 2021 at 7:42 pm
Yess!! The deer are out, the fireplace is crackling, and I’m just over here crossing my fingers for snow. Haha! I know it’s early, but I’m excited. Thanks for your sweet words, Anne! TBD on restocking ornaments- I’m going to do my best to bring back some more topaz ornaments in the next week or two. I’ll be share to share on IG if I’m able. Most of the other ornaments are gone until next year- as is the garland. Things went so FAST this year. I didn’t really know what to expect, so next year I’ll be more prepared. Emmett is boxing up your order right now as I’m typing this :) Thank you thank you for supporting our little shop and small business! We appreciate it so much and I can’t wait to hear how you like everything. I hope you’re having an awesome November so far! How are we almost to Thanksgiving?! xox
AshleeNovember 16, 2021 at 6:31 pm
I’m loving it Sarah! SLC local admirer here wondering what size SL wreath is shown? Love it. Also purchasing those adorable accents from your shop for my tree!!!
SarahNovember 18, 2021 at 9:48 am
Thank you, Ashlee! The wreath is the 18″ (the smallest size), and thank you so much for supporting our little shop :) I just love all of our holiday goodies this year. It has been fun to start decorating!
LaurenNovember 22, 2021 at 3:04 pm
Oh goodness me, this aesthetic and color palette is so so beautiful. It is such inspiration as we enter into the holiday season. I’m definitely with you on Team Flip the Books on your built-ins…hahaha. What you’ve created there is absolutely stunning! Thank you so much for sharing! xo
SarahNovember 29, 2021 at 8:20 pm
Thank you so much, Lauren! I love doing that each season- even though there are some library purists out there who hate for it. haha! It’s a fun neutral look for the holidays :) Have a happy holiday season! xo
PamelaNovember 23, 2021 at 5:33 am
I love the idea of slow decorating. Your living room looks so serene and lovely. And I am SO going to flip my books around for the holidays! Genius. I won’t be reading during this festive season anyway and it will allow my special Christmas ideas to be seen and enjoyed without the noise of all those different colored spines.
Suzanne KiernanNovember 27, 2021 at 12:00 pm
Your home looks so lovely. May I ask where you get your garland? It’s the most realistic I’ve seen. Thank you and Happy Holidays.
SarahNovember 29, 2021 at 8:17 pm
Thank you so much, Suzanne! The garland came from my shop, Tuesday Made. Unfortunately, it has sold out for the season though. I’m sorry! It will be returning next year though!
TracyDecember 7, 2022 at 6:35 pm
Oh wow, I love your bookshelves 😍. Where are your sconces over your shelves from? They are stunning!
SarahDecember 8, 2022 at 8:45 pm
Thank you so much, Tracy! You can find the sconces here (from my shop!): https://tuesdaymade.com/collections/picture-lights/products/holly-white-picture-light?variant=42324033339642