4 Easy Holiday Home Decorating Ideas From Style Maven Aerin Lauder and Design Pros

The winter holidays are approaching way too fast, and we’re all stretched in a million different directions. Yet, we’re yearning to celebrate the season in high style, especially after last year’s pandemic gloom. Here, a handful of designers and style pros offer some easy ideas to jump-start your holiday decorating.   


holiday decor fox group
Keep the color palette of your holiday decor consistent with your existing color scheme, our experts say. This interior by The Fox Group, a Salt Lake City-based residential design and construction firm, is a good example. Photo by Lindsay Salazar.

Design holiday decor around your existing color scheme for a rich, harmonious environment. Ali (who keeps her last name private), the influencer behind The Alluring Home on Instagram, celebrates Christmas and Chanukah with her family, and she keeps her decor consistent with her year-round palette of blue and white. She liberally mixes elements of both faiths among her chinoiserie porcelain. (She recruited a chinoiserie pot as a base for her Christmas tree.)  

“I use a lot of decor that suggests snow, along with pine cones, so it isn’t so much a religious feeling but more of a wintery feel,” she says.  

holiday decor aerin lauder tree
The Christman tree of Aerin Lauder, founder of New York City-based lifestyle brand AERIN and style and image director at Estée Lauder. Photo by Simon Upton.

For Aerin Lauder, founder of New York City-based lifestyle brand AERIN and style and image director at Estée Lauder, Christmas decor means adding cheerful touches of red to her main color palette of dark blues.   


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“Smell is the strongest trigger for memories,” says Michelle Feeney, founder of the London-based, eco-conscious fragrance brand Floral Street. “When you want to create new ones, scent is a beautiful way to do that.”  

This table is decorated for the holidays with candles from the eco-conscious fragrance company Floral Street. Photo courtesy of Floral Street.

Swathe your home in different fragrances to create different moods, she suggests. Warm, cozy smells like vanilla and amber radiate feelings of intimacy, while rich, spicy ingredients such as pepper and cloves boost your holiday ambiance.  

Light scented candles earlier in the day for a lasting, subtle aroma, or set out diffusers, which give off a gentle, continuous fragrance.  


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Alfred Beam, an interior designer at Walter E. Smithe furniture stores in Chicago, uses vintage mercury glass candleholders on his dining table for a tastefully glamorous ambiance. Small vessels and decorative objects made of mercury glass can also be incorporated throughout the house for a sophisticated shine.   

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Ali also favors mercury glass, but she also adds a touch of sparkle here and there, such this cake dome topped with crystals.  


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Multiples of anything set a stage of luxury and abundance. Beam fashions a table display by staggering a row of glass candle holders in various sizes, then interspersing them with floral picks to add fullness.   

“Instead of setting a floral centerpiece in the middle, I have an installation that runs the entire length of the table,” he says.  

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For Lauder, the key to setting a luxurious table is layering dishware—so, salad plates atop dinner plates. It adds dimension, she says. Mixing and matching patterns creates a lively, festive feeling. Lauder is also passionate about candles—the more the better, she says, and not just on the dining table. 

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A tradition in Beam’s family is to welcome the start of the Christmas season at the end of the Thanksgiving dinner. So, the main course is served on fall-themed dinnerware, and dessert is served on holiday plates. That’s the signal to start decorating the tree.    

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Pamela Dittmer McKuen is an award-winning Chicago-based freelance features journalist who specializes in home, design and travel. She has dual passions for dark chocolate and cats.