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Today, event planner and designer Amos Gott shares ideas for decorating your holiday home with a modern approach. Since we often seem to find ourselves running short on time to decorate during this busy season, we asked Amos to offer suggestions for the key areas of the home that, when decorated, make the most impact. We think you’ll love what he dreamed up!


Festive tunes like “Deck the Halls” always get you in the holiday spirit this time of year. But does the actual act of decorating your halls make you instantly say, “Bah, humbug”? Well it doesn’t have to! Today, I’ve got some tips for decorating your front door, mantel and dining room to help you get through the decorating decisions now, so that you can move ahead effortlessly through the holiday season—or at least convince everyone that it’s effortless.

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Reindeer from T. J. Maxx Homegoods. Votives from AshBlue.

First, pick your color scheme. I typically move away from the traditional reds and and greens in favor of more unique color combinations, like metallics combined with just about any color (such a great way to personalize your decor for the holidays). But this year, I’m finding I’m really drawn to red. As you’ll see in the following photos, shiny red decorations, when combined with glossy white, offer up a modern interpretation of holiday decor that anyone can embrace.

Here’s how to apply this idea outside. Everybody sees the exterior of your home, so it makes sense to add some interest to your entry.You don’t have to put lights in every tree like Gaylord Opryland Hotel (although it is certainly worth a visit to see them!), but make the exterior of your home your own.

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Here, I took a magnolia wreath and painted it high gloss red. You definitely can’t miss seeing this one from the street! And in urns on each side of the door I added greenery cut from the yard along with large pinecones I also painted the high gloss red. Then I mixed in some red berries for additional color and texture.

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Close-up of the lacquer-red leaves

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The entry from another angle. Here, you can see the urns that flank the front door. More on how to make those next.

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Assembling is easy. Simply take a few large pinecones (I found mine in the backyard) that you’ve spray painted red, like the wreath, and place in the urn and tuck greenery and berries around the pinecones until the container feels full.

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Now for the inside…

Your mantel is one of the focal points of your home and is often the centerpiece of your living space (sans the television). So it’s definitely an area that needs attention. There are many different styles and directions from which you can choose. For this house, because the wall above the mantel is bare, I chose to go a more contemporary route and bring some height and drama by using red glass finials and silver mercury glass candlesticks topped with red candles.

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The mercury glass candlesticks are from T. J. Maxx Homegoods.

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Add some fresh cedar across the top of the mantel, and then nestle in round shiny and matte-finished ornaments to enhance the shape and texture of the vignette.

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Continue the theme on your mantel by accenting the hearth, or you could also create this same look on an entry or side table.

Next, on to the dining room.

Entertaining is as much a part of the holiday season as turkey is at Thanksgiving—it’s practically a necessity. Whether you’re hosting a seated meal with close family and friends on Christmas Eve or a drop-by cocktail buffet for the neighbors, here are two ways to transform your dining room into the centerpiece (pun intended) of your home:

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For your dinner party, continue the color scheme of gloss red and white, along with metallic silver. It’s always fun to incorporate new finds into what you already have in your cabinets. Red goblets from T. J. Maxx Homegoods mixed with your crystal wine glasses pair up well with red chargers and salad plates from Homegoods and your own china dinner plates. (For our table here, the Match dinner plates and crystal wine stems are from AshBlue.)

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A simple centerpiece of red berries with white tulips and mini calla lilies in a striking mercury glass vase can create drama on your table. Add a little fun and whimsy with silver and white penguins from Z Gallerie. And finish off the table with red metallic votive cups in different geometric patterns from Target.

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On your side board continue the whimsy with a blend of contemporary and traditional elements. Deep red reindeer share center stage with these unique candelabra boasting red pillar candles.

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Incorporate cedar as a base, before layering on sprigs of red berries, red glass votives and the reindeer and candelabra.

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For your buffet table, you can use the same elements, but rearrange them to keep things interesting and conversational.

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Since you aren’t eating across the table, the elements in the center of your table can have more height.

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Festive votives from Target

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This fun tray from Target is perfect for holding the festive red goblets.

So many ideas and so many options to decorate your home for the holidays! Just remember to pick your color scheme first – ideally one you can build upon from year to year. Determine what you have and what you need or want to keep your shopping time to a minimum. But more than anything, focus your decorations on areas that will make you happy, such as driving into your driveway and seeing your front door decorated, and focal points inside, like your mantel and Christmas tree. While it’s nice to bring smiles to other people’s faces, the smile that should be the brightest is yours.

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Amos Gott

Thank you Amos! Amos designs and produces events and weddings throughout the Southeast. For more information, visit his website:

Thanks also to Ashley Hylbert for the wonderful photographs!

Additional thanks to French King Fine Properties and the Heim family for providing the lovely backdrop for our shoot. For more information on this Nashville home, which is currently for sale, visit the French King Website:

Many thanks to AshBlueGraceful Tables and Z Gallerie, as well, for providing our some of today’s fabulous entertaining accessories.



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