Decorating Debate: Is The Best Holiday Style Maximalist Or Minimalist?
When it comes to the holidays, some debates never die. Which is the superior pie? When should you open your first gift? And finally, one of the top debates among homeowners: What’s the most inviting seasonal style?
For some, lots of lively decor is the only option. While for others, a pared-back and peaceful approach is the right way to go. Click through our gallery and slide the arrow to find out which holiday decorating style speaks to you.
A front walk and porch decked out in fresh greenery and red ribbon makes a seriously festive first impression. Prefer a simpler look? Take your cue from designer Ingrid Oomen and ornament a couple sculptural branches, instead.
A riot of color gives designer Jennifer Worts’s living room a lively, party-ready spirit, while Sophie Burke demonstrates the power of natural accents and a light decorative hand in this west coast space.
Who wouldn’t want to gather around this roaring hearth in designer Grace Castaneda’s home? Plenty of greenery creates a lush, decidedly Christmassy feel. For a sparer look, follow stylist Lynda Felton’s lead and opt for just a few miniature plants and clean white stockings.
Designer Philip Mitchell’s Christmas tree is eminently eye-catching thanks to loads of glossy, colorful baubles, but we’re also fans of the modern, Scandi-cool vibe of a minimally decorated fir.
Candy-colored decorations in charming vintage shapes make for a Christmas tree that kids, family members and party guests will love. For a quieter look, turn to nature’s beauty by filling clear ornaments with small sprigs of pine.
For many, tearing open brightly colored, wildly patterned packages is half the fun on Christmas morning. Others are charmed by the rustic look of kraft paper and simple, handwritten tags.
A garland made of fragrant winter greenery will never go out of style — and we say the fuller the better! A delicate twig “garland,” however, can look just as pretty when adorned with a few shiny ornaments.
Loading up a ladder with every holiday greeting you receive is one of our favorite display ideas. But if a cleaner aesthetic is more your speed, affix just a few standout cards to thick ribbon hung on a wall.
Since it’s the hub of the home during the holidays, why not dress up your kitchen with garlands, mini trees and tartan touches like homeowner Pheona Wright? We also love the effect of hanging a single wreath from a thick, glossy ribbon.
Pint-sized firs are easy to pop just about anywhere in the home. Decorate real miniature trees with lights and ornaments for an unabashedly festive effect, or set out a few wooden cutouts if your tastes are more subdued.
Decorating the light fixture over a kitchen table with an array of ornaments will make every breakfast feel special. For a subtler spin that still feels festive, pack a couple vessels with freshly gathered pinecones and evergreen fronds.
H&H design editor Lauren Petroff’s bright, gift-studded wreath is perfect for hanging on a kids’ room door, while stylist Lynda Felton’s no-fuss design would be a natural fit in just about any room. (Learn how to DIY both here.)
Decanters topped with ornaments and metallic cocktail glasses create a lively home bar, while a matte black and gold setup is ideal for elegant affairs.
These two dining spaces prove that a stunning holiday table can take many forms, whether its draped with lace and fine china or accented with mod candles and clean-lined stemware.
Maximalists will love Brian Gluckstein’s opulent, party-perfect setting, while minimalists will be drawn to photographer and stylist Nikole Herriot’s rustic-chic arrangement.
Former H&H food editor Eric Vellend’s stout-spiked gingerbread cake, filled with eggnog-cream cheese icing and topped with sugar-dusted berries, is a show-stopping post-dinner treat. Though a simpler sticky toffee plum pudding, dripping with caramel, is sure to please, too.
Whether you go all-out with garlands and piles of packages, or keep it simple with a pot of flowers and classic point blanket, decorating a transitional space like a hall or landing is a surefire way to spread holiday cheer throughout your home.
Maximalist decorators will appreciate the scale of this wreath hung in designer Betty Theodoropoulos’ principal bathroom (not to mention its glossy turquoise ribbon), while minimalists can draw inspiration from Sophie Burke’s wispy twig-and-berry version.
Pop twinkle lights in bushes, trees and around your front door to create a glimmering holiday façade. Or, tuck a single strand of globe lights into a bare tree for an effect that’s low-key, but no less magical.