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6 Ways to Incorporate a Hit of Nature into Your Holiday Decor

Interior designer Kendall Ansell shares her easy DIY ways to bring a little bit of nature into your holiday home look.

The season’s coolest ornaments might just be found in the woods, not the mall. With more and more designers turning to the great outdoors for holiday-decor inspiration (see Carrie McCarthy’s minimalist winter cabin, or Ami McKay’s beautifully natural mid-century home), this au natural look is creeping into homes across the West.

The good news: it’s easy to get the look. Just step outside. “We are so blessed here on the West coast to have nature right at our door step,” says Kendall Ansell, principal Kendall Ansell Interiors.“Next time you go out to the beach or for a walk in the woods, grab a bag or basket and fill it with driftwood, fallen twigs, branches and pinecones. Cut greens, from a fir, pine, and/or cedar, to create a beautiful organic festive look for the mantel, table, or door.” Now you’ve got everything you need to create an amazing, earthy holiday scene.

Here are Ansell’s favourite nature-inspired holiday décor ideas:

1. Rock the wreath look.

Grab some cedar or evergreen foliage (or mix and match!) and twigs, then, attach the sprigs by using floral wire in overlapping layers to a wire wreath form. To add a little more eye-catching element, add pinecones and red berries.

Homemade wreaths hang above the fire in designer Ami McKay's home.
Homemade wreaths hang above the fire in designer Ami McKay’s home. (Photo: Janis Nicolay.)

2. Give a pinecone a makeover.

Put those fallen pinecones to use to add holiday cheer to your home. Give cones a fresh new look with a little eco-friendly paint (we’re loving soft teals and wintery whites right now). For a more wintery natural look, spray paint them white to create a frosted look; to go a little glam, tie on a sparkly ribbon.

3. Go for garland.

For that woodsy mantel or banister look, you can craft garland by twisting together evergreen and cedar foliage and tying together with some thin metal wire. Ansell also recommends looting your kitchen cupboards for the stale popcorn and cranberries, which when strung together, produce an old-fashioned garland. For another festive look, why not thread together some pinecones?

Garland can go at the bottom of your banister, like Falken Reynolds has done here. It gives a holiday look, without compromising functionality. (Photo: Janis Nicolay.)
Garland can go at the bottom of your banister, like Falken Reynolds has done here. It gives a holiday look, without compromising functionality. (Photo: Janis Nicolay.)

4. Deck out your dining table.

Display pinecones, twigs or branches in huge glass bowls or hurricane lanterns or cast any one of nature’s bounty and candles on your table. Lacking table space? Try hanging a cluster of pinecones tied with some twine on the back of doors. Ansell recommends using tape-hooks to avoid damaging your doors—grab some at your dollar or hardware store.

5. Craft some prime place settings.

Turn an ordinary name tag into a piece of art. “A girlfriend of mine found chards of driftwood on the beach and took the smaller pieces, sliced a razor-thin line in the centre and created name card holders for her Christmas dinner table… they looked gorgeous.”

6. Put a ring on it.

Rather than store-bought napkin rings to bedeck each table setting this Christmas, simply use a piece or two of twine and add a sprig of rosemary in the middle for beautiful, organic look.

Pinecones don’t have to be relegated to trees: toss them in a bowl on or a platter for a natural touch to the table.

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