This time of year, all eyes are on holiday decor. Stunning interiors are made even more spectacular with the addition of seasonal greenery, lights and ribbons. Today, we take a look at a handful of Southern homes that will help you get into the holiday spirit (if you are not already there). From traditional trimmings to unexpected color use, these designs will delight holiday lovers. Take a look …

Unexpected color and texture

When creative minds come together, something special happens. Stylist and owner of A La Bonne Femme Mary Spotswood Underwood brought a touch of holiday cheer to the home of photographer Mary Craven and Burney Dawkins (which was expertly designed by interior designer Lindsay Rhodes Interiors). The result? A picture perfect setup.

First, Mary Spotswood set the table with Mary Craven’s collection of old and new pastel treasures — an unexpected color palette for Christmas. Behind the table, the bar is topped with seeded eucalyptus garland, and a seeded eucalyptus wreath trimmed with pale pink velvet ribbon hangs from the window above.

Seeded eucalyptus is found again on the mantle where it is enlivened with glittered pink “sugarplum” picks, with white linen stockings hanging below. The holiday cheer is carried outside to the front door with a second seeded eucalyptus wreath with a pale pink velvet ribbon and to the mailbox, which is trimmed with two types of eucalyptus, Fraser fir and pine.

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

An unexpected color palette set the tone for the holiday decor. Image: Mary Craven Photography

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

A mixture of new and old treasures was used to set the table. Image: Mary Craven Photography

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

White linen stockings were hung by the chimney with care! Image: Mary Craven Photography

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

The mailbox was trimmed with two types of eucalyptus, Fraser fir and pine. Image: Mary Craven Photography

RELATED: Easy Ideas for Holiday Table Settings

House of wreaths

Set in Nashville’s historic Germantown neighborhood, this home was decked with wreaths for the holiday season. Carl Denton Designs is behind the holiday design, and Carl explains how the layout of the home directed the holiday decor decisions. “This living room sits right off the entry of the home and is not visible when you enter the house. However, once you round the corner from the entry, this wall of wreaths is the first thing you see in the home. The house itself plays with contrast, and each room is well-designed for impact. Naturally, we wanted to continue that theme with the decor.” The home is owned by interior designer Jason Arnold, who gave Carl creative liberty. In addition to the many wreaths on the walls, a wreath was hung on the home’s exterior and another above the kitchen table. “We really wanted to ensure Jason had something that he and his guests could enjoy at dinner,” Carl says of the metal chandelier wrapped in greenery.

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

Wreaths filled the wall of the home’s central living space. Image: Jordan & Alaina Photography

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

The rest of the room remained untouched to allow the wreath wall to be the focal point. Image: Jordan & Alaina Photography

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

The homeowner’s light fixture was temporarily replaced by this festive piece. Image: Jordan & Alaina Photography

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

From inside to out, this home was perfectly decorated for the holidays. Image: Jordan & Alaina Photography

Simple and meaningful 

“Keeping your holiday simple allows for the long-term enjoyment of the season. Instead of creating dazzle in every space, we suggest keeping additions limited in a way that allows you to enjoy your selections, but also allows room for the rest of life to happen,” Natalie Officer of Natalie O Design says. “When not nestled among garland and lights, your special pieces have room to shine.”

Natalie urges homeowners to utilize items that showcase something specific about their own heritage and traditions, which will always be meaningful to them. “When you host, it is an immediate conversation starter. Pair it with innovative pieces to bring it to life in an unexpected way.”

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

Don’t feel the need to go overboard. Simple decor can still pack a punch. Image: Luke Metzinger

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

Natalie urges you to utilize pieces that are meaningful to you and are reflective of your culture and heritage. Image: Luke Metzinger

Modern design and a laid-back approach to holiday decor

Nestled among the towering, lush trees of Birmingham’s picturesque Mountain Brook Village, this modern family home embraces the celebratory elegance of holiday decor with an understated sense of ease and personal style. “It’s not about overdecorating,” says interior designer Fran Keenan of Fran Keenan Design in Homewood, AL. “It’s about adding that gentle, beautiful layer to how you live already.”

This laid-back approach to holiday decor mirrors the homeowners’ functional, comfortable and modern aesthetic. “They didn’t want anything too formal. They wanted a livable, kid-friendly space where they could easily host friends and family,” says Fran, who worked with Birmingham architect Marshall Anderson of Design Initiative from day one.

Even unadorned, this fresh garland and live wreaths lend a refined grandeur to this holiday entryway. Image: Brendan Pinola Photography

Even unadorned, the fresh garland and live wreaths lend a refined grandeur to this holiday entryway. Image: Brendon Pinola Photography

Celebrate the season with nontraditional decor that enhances your existing colors, textures and layout. Fran’s “dew drop tree” uses light and glass to create the perfect amount of holiday sparkle. “Leave your branches low on giftless trees, so the tree looks full and lush,” she offers. Image: Brendan Pinola Photography

Celebrate the season with nontraditional decor that enhances your existing colors, textures and layout. Fran’s “dew drop tree” uses light and glass to create the perfect amount of holiday sparkle. “Leave your branches low on giftless trees, so the tree looks full and lush,” she offers. Image: Brendon Pinola Photography

This magnificently large wreath provides a beautiful holiday accent to this light-filled room. Image: Brendan Pinola Photography

This magnificently large wreath provides a beautiful holiday accent to this light-filled room. Image: Brendon Pinola Photography

Greenery galore 

Nashville-based interior designer Marcelle Guilbeau showcases various ways to incorporate seasonal greenery into every room of your home. “Greet your guests with classic poinsettias at the front steps and evergreen garlands at the door,” she advises. Inside, classic winter greenery can help create a simple centerpiece, with two candlesticks and the easy addition of white juniper berries and magnolia leaves. “You can easily have a very elegant, homey dining table arrangement,” Marcelle assures us. Finally, she shows us that leftover greenery can be used in floral arrangements. “A spray of evergreen, some white juniper berries, a dried magnolia bud, placed in a jar with a simple gold ribbon tied around it makes a wonderful, aromatic surprise.”

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

“You can use red for drama, as I have here, or you can opt for white poinsettias and a white bow on the garlands, for a more subtle effect,” Marcelle tells us.

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

A simple centerpiece brings a festive note to this space. Image: Janin Otwell

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

Use any leftover greenery to create a seasonal arrangement. Image: Janin Otwell

Celebratory Elegance

Cindy McCord of Memphis-based Cindy McCord Interior Design, Inc. adds holiday decor that exudes a subdued elegance. Greenery, candles and gilded Christmas ornaments are thoughtfully places throughout the space. “It’s always fun to bring out your Christmas decorations,” says Cindy of how she mixes things up each year. “While you don’t want to purchase new things every year, it’s nice to change a few things to keep your decorations fresh-looking and current.” But she does have one favorite holiday flourish: decking her chandelier. “I love hanging beautiful glass Christmas tree balls from my chandelier! It’s so pretty when having dinner parties and just enjoying over the holidays.”

Deck the halls with celebratory elegance! With champagne-colored glass ornaments hanging from the chandelier, this holiday dining room simply sings. Image: Julie Wage Ross

Deck the halls with celebratory elegance! With champagne-colored glass ornaments hanging from the chandelier, this holiday dining room simply sings. Image: Julie Wage Ross

Greenery, white roses, candles, gilded accents and crystal come together to make a simply beautiful tablescape. Image: Julie Wage Ross

Greenery, white roses, candles, gilded accents and crystal come together to make a simply beautiful tablescape. Image: Julie Wage Ross

"It’s beautiful to hang a fresh wreath on your entry mirror or even powder rooms! Add a beautiful velvet ribbon and makes such a statement," says Cindy. Image: Julie Wage Ross

“It’s beautiful to hang a fresh wreath on your entry mirror or even powder rooms! Add a beautiful velvet ribbon and makes such a statement,” says Cindy. Image: Julie Wage Ross

We love this Christmas tree! Image: Julie Wage Ross

We love this Christmas tree! Image: Julie Wage Ross

Curated space

Megan Proby, founder of Nashville-based 12th Table shared four tips to creating the ultimate holiday shindig. First on her list is curating the space. “When you start planning your holiday feast, begin with the environment,” she instructs. “Create a space that feels inviting and thoughtful. While Christmas tends to be the season of warmth and excess — everything is garnished and frosted and decked — do what feels like you. I tend to err on the side of timeless colors and simple, powerful design, so I opted for a large tree dolled up with varying sizes of textured silver ornaments and perfectly bright white lights. The goal: Warm the space without overwhelming it.”

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

Set the stage with the essential Christmas backdrop: the tree. Image: Cassidy Carson

Holiday Decorations that Are Festive and Bright

The dining backdrop was set with lush green wreaths and ebony velvet ribbon. Image: Cassidy Carson

Transitional Christmas

Lisa Mallory of Lisa Mallory Interior Design in Memphis incorporated family treasures with updated ribbons, greenery and garlands in this home. “In the formal living room, gold and silver decorations were chosen to fit the more formal style. My favorite part of this look is the mix between the traditional family decorations, modern accessories and artwork. That blend makes for a perfect holiday feel for the client’s lovely home,” Lisa explains. “Editing accessories is important because sometimes rooms can get cluttered by the extra decor if you’re not careful. The style of this client’s home is more transitional, so I wanted to match the decorations with the updated look. I think it is fabulous and am so excited!”

RELATED: 40 Under $50 — Your Ultimate Guide to Affordable Holiday Gifting

Courtney Fussell and Karen Klawinski of Lisa Mallory Interior Design bring holiday cheer!

Courtney Fussell and Karen Klawinski of Lisa Mallory Interior Design bring holiday cheer!

Gold and silver set the tone.

Gold and silver set the tone.

Happy holidays and happy decorating! 

*****

After your decorations are hung, hit the kitchen to try out these holiday recipes.