Expert Holiday Decorating Tips & Entertaining Ideas

Discover expert advice from some of the nation's top floral designers.

The holiday season is in full swing, and we're here to offer you expert tips for entertaining your loved ones and decorating your home during this magical time of year.

Photo: Harwell Photography

The holiday season is in full swing, and we're here to offer you expert tips for entertaining your loved ones and decorating your home during this magical time of year. When it comes to holiday decorating, there are two types of people: the group who has their tree and decorations up the day after Thanksgiving and those who wait until the last minute before a gathering to deck the halls. Whichever type you fall into, we've gathered tips from some of the nation's top floral and event designers on how you can bring gorgeous holiday décor into your home for a chic seasonal style to enjoy with your family and friends.

Wedding reception with holiday christmas theme holiday entertaining and decorating tips

Photo by Kent Drake Photography; Design by HMR Designs

Take a look at expert advice for your holiday décor and entertaining from top wedding designers, below:

“The best way to make your Christmas décor stand out is to choose a theme. I chose ‘Mid-Century Modern’ and have never looked back. This suits my home and personal entertaining style well and has been a lot of fun to develop. In choosing what your ‘thing’ might be, look at your home style, music taste, and not to be cliché but think of a few of your favorite things. That should help you decide a theme that is perfect for you.” - Joe Mineo of Joe Mineo Creative

"To avoid holiday décor style anxiety, start with a classic base – one that you can go back to again and again as ‘your classic style.’ Then, each year you can add to it, or put a twist on it to make it fresh and exciting for you, your family, and your friends. For example, if your look is a classic evergreen, red berry, and white lights, you may go with red-and-black buffalo check, hurricanes filled with gorgeous pinecones, and loads of candlelight one year; and the following year you may choose to drop the earthy preppy vibe for sparkling metallics and crystal, without changing the base of the evergreen, red berries, and white lights. Fresh centerpiece elements on your dining table and focal areas for holiday entertaining can then reflect that year's decor, always making your home a conversation piece year after year! " - Natalie Walsh, Designer, HMR Designs

Wedding reception or holiday party holiday christmas wedding decorating tips and party advice

Photo by Collin Pierson Photography; Design by HMR Designs

“Make collecting for your Christmas décor a fun year-round pursuit. From specialty shops to yard sales, the perfect addition to your holiday treasures is out there waiting for you!” - Joe Mineo of Joe Mineo Creative

"Holiday nostalgia can be brought on by more than just traditional décor – try invoking through scent this season. Nothing replaces the smell of fresh pine. It's very inexpensive and a few sprigs of it go a long way. Avoid glittery ornaments and luxe detailing; keep it natural. I love bowls full of pomegranates, dark plums, or chestnuts." - Rishi Patel, CEO, HMR Designs

“My best tip for creating a really stunning tree is to add a variety of light styles. My tree is pre-lit with the traditional little white lights, which is a great foundation, but I also incorporate those big old-fashioned multicolored and bubble lights too. It makes the finished look extra fabulous.” - Joe Mineo of Joe Mineo Creative

Joe Mineo Creative christmas tree colorful classic meets mid century modern design ideas holiday decorating ideas

Photo by J. Altdorfer Photography; Design by Joe Mineo Creative

"Don’t over-decorate your garlands and trees. My rule of thumb is at least 50% of the natural greenery should show and the ribbon and ornaments should complement.” - Nick Watts, Designer, HMR Designs

“In my own holiday décor you will find some authentic extra-special items mixed in with lots of less-expensive replicas. My valuable family heirloom ornaments are surrounded by a ton of great discount-store finds that look like the real thing.” - Joe Mineo of Joe Mineo Creative

"Paint an array of household objects metallic colors, and you instantly have holiday decor! Objects – such as fruit, small plastic toys, twigs, leaves, mason jars, silk flowers, etc. – can be all one color (like gold, for example) or a mix of metallics: rose gold, platinum, silver, and bronze. - Bari Singh, Designer, HMR Designs

“If you are having a party, use the theme to design the activities, menu, music playlist, and drink list. At my last party, I asked guests to dress in authentic Mid-Mod holiday party attire. My guests looked amazing! You cannot believe how fabulous it was and how it takes a typical holiday party to the next level.” - Joe Mineo of Joe Mineo Creative

holiday inspired wedding reception holiday party ideas christmas holiday decorating and entertaining tips

Photo by Kent Drake Photography; Design by HMR Designs

For more inspiration, discover six steps to a holiday tablescape, see must-have tabletop items and holiday gifts, and preview the Winter 2022 issue of Inside Weddings, on newsstands now!