purple macarons in white vases

Photo: Carlos Rodriguez, courtesy of Anagrama

Linda O’Keeffe
Author of Brilliant: White in Design

"This time of year, everyone is thinking about entertaining. A white background makes you appreciate every detail. Bring it to the table by using linen tablecloths and napkins. People do lots of home cooking during this season and white dishes showcase the food you’re serving. You can get them very inexpensively. You can mix all periods, shapes and materials of white—earthenware or porcelain, a simple shape from IKEA or an over-the-top piece from Sevres, your grandmother’s Wedgwood vase mixed with a Crate and Barrel piece—it works beautifully well."
faux mercury vase

Photo: Sabra Krock

Grace Bonney
Author of Design*Sponge at Home

"I really love doing DIY mercury glass because I feel that shininess, especially on votives and vases, feels very special for the holidays. For a centerpiece: Get inexpensive, clear glass containers from thrift stores or flea markets and apply faux silver-leaf (found at any craft store) to the inside of the vessel using spray fixative. It looks so similar to mercury glass and it costs a tenth of the price of the real thing. Pile fruit or beautiful ornaments in them for an eye-catching display."
lime wreath

Photo: Matthew Mead

Matthew Mead
Author of Holiday with Matthew Mead

"I love holiday wreaths on the front door or use as a centerpiece on the table. To decorate them, I gather lots of things from outside or from the grocery store: You can use limes and evergreens or green apples and boxwood, or even buy tangerines and kumquats."

Photo: John Myers

Matthew Robbins
Author of Matthew Robbins' Inspired Weddings: Designing Your Big Day with Favorite Objects and Family Treasures

"To really pack a punch on a holiday table, I definitely like to go in the direction of using large quantities of inexpensive items. Buy two big bags of green pears that aren’t ripe yet and dust them with some edible non-toxic gold dust from a cake-decorating shop. Then use the pears to create the base of your centerpiece – whether they are overflowing from baskets or mounded on low dishes. Then begin to fill in around them with votive candles and little bundles of fresh herbs. You can swap in things like vases of narcissus or white tulips for parties. You can even use small pears as place cards on everyone’s plate to continue the theme."

black and pink christmas decorations

Photo: James Merrell

David Stark
Author of David Stark Design

"One of my favorite tips for holiday decorating that people don’t often think about is to use the presents you’re going to be giving as décor elements up until the time when they are opened. Instead of wrapping them and sticking them in a closet, I suggest wrapping them early in a palette that works for your home and putting them out in little vignettes."