House & Home

Chic vs. Kitsch: Make Your Hamptons Home Stylish for the Holidays

Home stager Allegra Dioguardi offers vital tips for decorating right.

It’s time to deck the halls with boughs of holly—literally. Decorating your East End home for the holidays is a fun and rewarding project, but it can be hard to figure out where to start. There’s plenty of options, from creating a chic winter wonderland in your living room to going for a more traditional look. But because the holidays are filled with sentimentality, it’s tempting to go overboard with overly garish, kitschy decor. Thankfully, there’s a middle ground.

Dan’s Best of the Best interior designer and home stager Allegra Dioguardi, founder and owner of Styled and Sold, recommends going organic. “I typically use natural elements,” Dioguardi says. “For instance, I will use real greenery. I use a selection of different greeneries so there’s lots of different textures. I like to use fruits, like a big bowl of pomegranates or something of that nature. I like fresh flowers—roses are beautiful during the holidays in a clear glass vase with cranberries in the water. They help keep the stems straight and they look really pretty. I sometimes use branches, I’ve even spray-painted branches white, silver or gold and put fairy lights on them.”

Dioguardi recommends greenery throughout the house. “I do my mantle with greenery and pinecones and fairy lights. I put holly behind my artwork, that’s an old English custom. It’s very festive. I also love huge white pillar candles and I love glass hurricane vases. A lot of glass with Christmas because I think of all the twinkling lights and candles. Sometimes I use the glass hurricanes to put Christmas balls or fruits because you can see through them and it’s colorful and contained.”

But what about decorations and items families have held onto over the years as keepsakes? “If something has sentimental value, I would absolutely recommend setting it up.” Dioguardi also looks to certain colors, especially navy blue, for East End homes.

When it comes to decorating a Christmas tree, Dioguardi believes in going for something a little more sentimental. “I’m kind of old fashioned,” she says. “I may not do a ‘chic’ Christmas tree because my ornaments are all collected. I don’t go out and buy one huge box of one color. Each ornament is significant to me—it’s from a place I visited or given to me as a gift or I gave it to my son as a gift or something of that nature. I don’t have two of the same ornament. That’s very old fashioned.”

For people looking to go a little more stylish with their trees on the East End, Dioguardi recommends a seaside motif to fit the area. Dioguardi’s client base mostly goes for a refined look, even when they have more traditional requests.

“It’s about lifestyle,” she says. “That’s why we all love the East End.”

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