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Jonathan Adler’s Top 6 Tips for Tasteful Holiday Décor

Not to be all Goldilocks, but holiday decorations can feel like a desperate battle to get things just right. Overdo the lawn ornaments and tinsel, and you wander into National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation territory. Too few festive touches—and not enough bonbons—and your home screams bah-humbug. It’s enough to make you swear off decking the halls altogether. That’s where Jonathan Adler, celebrity interior designer extraordinaire, comes in. Find out his holiday décor game plan, plus inspiration for ways you can get your home into the spirit.

The holidays mean plenty of dinner parties. How do you make the dinner table more festive?

Make the table chic, symmetrical, and graphic. Placecards let people know it’s a fancy soiree and instead of flowers, I like a bowl in the middle packed with something unexpected and seasonal, such as pinecones or holly. Most importantly, leave room for plates with oodles of food.

What’s your philosophy on tree decorating? Any rules of thumb?

Keep it minimal by picking two colors, but make it maximal by packing on the ornaments. And don’t under-light—there’s nothing sadder than a tree with too few lights.

We’re fireplace-less! How can we give our home that warmed-by-the-hearth feeling?

Candles add a much-needed twinkle. Pick ones that look as good as they smell and scatter them around the house. (Just don’t forget to blow them out or your holiday party will be memorable for all the wrong reasons.)

Let’s talk decorative pillows: is there a right or wrong way to deploy them?

I'm a big proponent of changing up your "pillowscape" seasonally: cotton in the summer, wool in the winter. Add some jet set glamour without getting off your duff with a chic needlepoint destination pillow.

What’s your favorite budget-conscious holiday decorating trick?

I like to take silver ornaments and put them in all the bowls in the house. It gives a little twinkle and is easy, breezy, and glamorous.

As far as holiday decorations in general, when is there too much of a good thing?

The holidays are about decadence and fun. When in doubt, go a little too far.

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