Festive for the Holidays

Pull out all the stops! You'll find plenty of bright colors and regional twists inside this Charleston home.
Sara Anderson

Isn't it fun to peek at Christmastime? To peek in the windows of jewelry stores, under the tree at presents, and, like kids tiptoeing around the corner to sneak up on Santa, into other people's homes to catch a glimpse of how they fill their rooms with merriment and cheer.

Finding Design Inspiration
Inside this Charleston, South Carolina, home, a lively pink-and-green color scheme takes traditional decorating up a notch. Butterfly ornaments flutter on the branches of the tree, and magnolia wreaths with roses add Southern flair.

And yes, you can use what you already have to inspire new looks. Ornament collections, a tea set, favorite papers, bows, and ribbons can all put a decorating plan in motion. When designer Annie Selke, owner of Pine Cone Hill furniture and bedding company, spruced up Harry and Cathy Gregorie's home for the holidays, she started with a plate. Cathy's butterfly-patterned china--with its pinks, reds, yellows, and greens--dictated the color scheme. Native greenery and fresh flowers filled in the rest. Giving your home lots of holiday wonder doesn't get any easier than that.

Go All Out With Color
With five kids in the family--four girls, one boy--bright hues were a big hit on the tree. Annie repeated the colors on the gift wrap, choosing lime green gingham; metallic pink; chartreuse; and red-, pink-, and white-striped papers. For an extra flourish, she attached paper butterflies to the tree using florist wire.

Play Off Your Patterns
Look no farther than your china cabinet for great decorating ideas. Repeat florals and colors found in the tablecloths, napkins, and serving pieces around your home. Keep your table set for the full effect. Cathy's colorful china also inspired the centerpiece design. To make something similar, tuck magnolia leaves and pink and red roses into water-soaked florist foam. Embellish with metallic berry sprigs, Spanish moss, dried fruits, and candles.

Small glass bud vases make a big impact when grouped together. Place them on coffee tables or stacked books, or line them up on a mantel. Fill bowls and glass containers with jewel-toned garlands and extra-sparkly ornaments.

"Festive for the Holidays" is from the December 2006 issue of Southern Living.