Expert Holiday Decor Tips by Kendall Ansell

Interior designer extraordinaire Kendall Ansell gives us the inside scoop on the hottest holiday decor trends and how to holiday-ify your home using things you already have

Make your living space shine with seasonal cheer without all of the generic red and green

Unless you have a passion for decorating, getting the house ready for Christmas can be unnecessarily frustrating. Luckily, interior designer extraordinaire, Kendall Ansell, is here to help. Founder and owner of the Vancouver-based design company Kendall Ansell Interiors, she has been helping clients create the home of their dreams for six years. Kendell is no stranger to holiday decorating and has expert advice on how to transition your everyday space to look chic, creative and Christmas-y.

We sat down with Kendall to get the inside scoop on the hottest holiday design trends and how to holiday-ify your home using things you have around the house.

Click through for our interview with Kendall Ansell…

Trends, tips and trees

BCL: What are some of the main holiday design trends you are seeing this season?
KA: The main thing that I’m noticing is monochromatic trees. A lot of people are decorating in all white or in all purple and they’re not really blending colours together.

Also, a lot of homemade items are popular this year. People are doing a lot of crafting and are making centerpieces for their table that have a more homemade look—not something that looks like it was bought at a big box store. I also feel like there’s more of a focus on input from kids for decorating, like snowflakes for the windows or homemade ornaments. And people are looking for more of the classic Christmas look, like glass wraths instead of wreaths made out of Lego.

BCL: How can you be creative with things you already have in the home?
KA: This is a topic that is very exciting to me! I work with a lot with people who have a very small space and it’s like, where are you going to put the eight-foot Christmas tree when you’re not using it for 11 months of the year?

Things like table centerpieces, clear candlesticks and clear vases that you can use all year-round are great to have. During the spring you can fill them up with fresh flowers like tulips, and then for Christmas you can fill them up with ornaments or glitter. This way, you’re not spending a lot of money and you don’t have to store any large items.

BCL: What is your recommendation for people who don’t have the space for a full-sized Christmas tree but still want to have a festive piece up during the holidays?
KA: For one, if you decide you want a tree, you have to make sure it comes apart in multiple pieces so you can store it in a smaller area. I think the biggest thing is to be realistic with your house—if you don’t have room for the eight-foot Christmas tree, get a smaller tree for now and when you move into a bigger space you can get a bigger tree. I think it’s about prioritizing and reorganizing if Christmas is a big part of your life.

You don’t have to have a tree… you can think outside the box and do something a little bit different. Things like garland are a great substitution. I have a big pre-lit garland that I’ve had for many years that I just put along the window. It scrunches up into the smallest ball ever when I’m finished with it and I have to re-fluff it every year (laughs).

For an alternative, the wine Christmas trees (where you make a little wine tower and turn the bottles upside down and make a ‘tree’ out of it) are very cute. I’ve seen that recently. I really like the wall Christmas trees as well. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an actual tree!

Make it work all year long

BCL: What are some staple decor items you recommend that will fit in the home from Christmas onwards?
KA: Other than the glass vases and candle holders, I’m a really big fan of ribbon. Just having a good gold or silver ribbon that you can wrap around something is great. You can put it inside vases or wrap it around garland, or if people are coming over for dinner, you can put around a cake stand. Anything that is clear, silver, gold or has any metal tones is a good staple item to have for the holidays.

BCL: What are some tips you have for people who want to switch up their decor for the holidays but want it to still fit in the home once the holidays are over?
KA: You can take a really simple item, like milk glasses, or the cake stands and vases I mentioned before, and make them work for whatever season it is. I think it’s about having things that are convertible, so that come fall or Christmas you can find some pine cones or something to put inside them. For example, I always buy white pumpkins for Halloween so I don’t have creepy orange colours in my house afterwards!

If you’re going to buy a bunch of Christmas ornaments and be changing them often, get some really good storage bins so they can all stay packed away. If you don’t want to be buying new things every year, it is good to look for neutral tones instead of going for something that is lime green. All of my work reflects the client’s individual style… I think that it’s important that you love your home decor and think it’s great. It’s all about what makes you happy and reflects you.