Winter Wonderland: Decorating for All Seasons

We asked local designers for easy ways to help you transition your decor through the most festive time of the year.

design by alisha gwen interior design | photo by martha rial


When autumn winds down and thoughts turn to the winter holidays, we take down the ceramic pumpkins, ghostly Halloween adornments and Thanksgiving pilgrims.

For many, it’s time for the yuletide, and with it comes the flood of Christmas-themed décor: ornamented trees and countless figurines, wall hangings and tea towels with pictures of Santa Claus, Rudolph and elves. Then New Year’s Day arrives, and those items are sent to the attic. But with more than two months of winter — sans jingle bells, mistletoe and other holiday symbols — still to come, how does a homeowner reflect the season in décor as they await spring?


“I think [people are] spending more time in their home during the wintertime. You kind of get a little stir crazy, and you have to get inspiration inside instead of outside,” says Lauren Levant, a Shadyside-based interior designer. “I think, during the winter months, it’s more important for most clients to think about how they can bolster their spirits in the darker days.”

Shiny colors that reflect winter, such as a sparkling white reminiscent of snow or metallic colors like silver and gold, can do the trick, says Levant. Other palettes that fit well with this time of year include colors of blue, gray, green and burgundy.

Choosing one or two hues to focus on is one way to keep the design sophisticated, Levant says.


“I think that the most elegant approach — and the one that tends to be less tiresome if you’re trying to stretch the décor over time … is to try to stay in a more monochromatic palette,” she says. “If you’re trying to keep it timeless, pick a direction and stick with it.”

Some people may have three separate decorating schemes for this time of year: fall décor, holiday décor, and then holiday-less winter décor, with playful accents like snowmen (but without Santa hats), polar bear figurines, canvas art with snowy scenes, frosted pinecones and the like.



But you may be able to come up with one basic decorating scheme that will last throughout fall and winter, says Lauren Piasecki, who owns Black Cherry Design in Lawrenceville with partner Stan Adamik. The key is to focus on the season rather than any one particular holiday.

“Going from fall to winter, one of the most important things would probably be using natural materials,” says Piasecki, who also runs a brick-and-mortar lifestyle boutique at their studio that sells high-end furniture, lighting and upholstery.

design and photos by lauren levant interior


She recommends making homemade decorations using items such as branches and pinecones, fresh evergreens, and dried oranges, lemons and cloves. Another suggestion is to leave the wood plain in the fall, then spray paint it white for winter. Or, accent the natural materials with oranges and yellows for the fall, make it red and green around Christmastime, then white for the rest of winter.

“Maybe instead of thinking of the holidays, it’s thinking more about what it looks like outside and bringing it inside,” Piasecki says. “Natural material looks nicer. … Use as many natural materials as you can.”

If you don’t want to forage outside for material, consider natural suppliers. Piasecki recommends The Magnolia Company, where you can buy fresh and dried magnolia wreaths, garlands and other nature-based decorations online, or Roxanne’s Dried Flowers in the Strip District.



You could also decorate on two levels: one to last through the late fall and winter season, and one with accents focusing on holidays. One option would be starting with a timeless silvery foundation then adding more whimsical holiday decor as you see fit. Or, you could make a nature display with evergreens and pine cones, then add a collection of Santa Claus figurines in December, Piasecki says.

“Then, you just put away the holiday-specific stuff. That will help you transition through seasons without speaking to one specific holiday,” she says. 

design and photos by lauren levant interior


Categories: HOME + Design