House & Home

Deck the Halls: How to Decorate Every Room in the House for the Holidays

Drag those boxes from the attic and scour the stores—it’s the most wonderful time for festive home décor! If you’re stuck for inspiration, don’t fret. Room by room, here’s your guide to “decking the halls” for the holidays.


The entryway is your first chance to make a big impression. It should demonstrate the decorating theme that is carried through the house. Why not consider Benjamin Moore’s color  of the year, which is a classic, enticing,  festive… white?

“Yes, Benjamin Moore has actually picked Simply White as the color of the year,” says interior designer Allegra Dioguardi. “Some people say that’s a cop-out, but I personally like it. I love color too, but I think white is a perfect natural backdrop, even for the holidays. You can add things that sparkle a bit, gold especially.“The airiness of white works well with the vibe of the East End, an area that loves to swing between nautical and strikingly modern.

“The lifestyle out here is completely different from the rest of the world.” Dioguardi says, “The coastal environment, it’s what people are here for. Year after year my clients ask for coastal elements in their holiday décor.”

For a fun blend of traditional holiday and nautical themes, let glass fishing floats take the place of ornaments around the house. Garlands using shells or nautical flags add whimsical touches, and lanterns cast beautiful light.

Living Room

Achieving natural sophistication can be a difficult balancing act when it comes to holiday decorating. The key is simplicity. Too many pine boughs will make your home feel less festive and more Jumanji. Instead, choose specific areas to feature. Place one swag on a flat surface, and a single strand of garland along the doorframe. Dioguardi says this is especially important in modern homes. “For modern homes, I still use natural elements, but I keep it very clean,” she says. “Décor is so specific to each house.”

“I personally love woodland elements. I like to use natural materials,” says Dioguardi. “I use nuts and fruits and cranberries. I go outside and trim greenery. I don’t believe in using fake greens. I use burlap and things that are not so tinselly.”

Mantelpieces are perfect for bountiful displays. “On my mantelpiece, I fill with natural greenery and pinecones, gold ornaments, white lights. I also do bowls with nuts and fruits, tangerines, clementines and cranberries.”

Metallics are a holiday staple—it’s easy to incorporate a bit of sparkle into your décor. Try featuring some of your old gold and silver ornaments on the coffee table, and place metallic features on the mantel, surrounded by snowy white.

Dining Room

Food is the center of holiday tradition, so let the dining room be the center of your holiday display. Natural materials should be considered not just for their beauty, but also for their significance: cranberries and chestnuts can be displayed in glass candleholders to bring reminders of old holiday traditions. Pears, pomegranates and oranges bring colors and good cheer when displayed, and they were given as gifts in days past. Dioguardi likes a simple table display: “I place cranberries in a vase with water, white flowers and greenery. The cranberries float to the top and keep the flowers in place, so it makes a lovely centerpiece.” Place them along a simple table runner with bits of pine boughs and candles for a warm holiday glow.


You’ll likely be spending a large portion of your holidays preparing food in the kitchen, so you shouldn’t neglect the space when decorating. Like in the dining room, food can serve as beautiful festive décor. Having beautiful edible fruit around is also a great way to stay healthy in the month-long flood of sugar.

Speaking of sugar, gingerbread is a fun feature for your table or countertop. Gingerbread houses can be safely eaten for up to four weeks after they are made, although the frosting is usually less friendly after the first week. Store items in an airtight container when not on display to keep them from drying out. It’s a great way to have your gingerbread, and eat it too. But the most important thing to remember, Dioguardi says, is this: “The holidays are sentimental times. I still use ornaments from when I was young.

Dioguardi continues, “If I had grandkids I would have them stringing cranberries and popcorn on the tree. That’s what the holidays are about for me. Not trends. It’s important to stay with tradition.”

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