Simple ways to make your home unforgettable this holiday season
When you think of holidays, the first thing that usually comes to mind is home and family. Starting with Thanksgiving and then continuing through to New Year, now is the time to give your home a fresh look. Highland Park Today talked to store owners around town to see what’s going on this season. They’ve provided a treasure trove of ideas, big and small, to ensure the holidays at your home are festive and bright.
Accessories add warmth and visual interest
“The easiest way to add a holiday atmosphere, in any season, is with candles,” Diana Schaps, who is co-owner of Citywoods (651 Central Avenue, Highland Park) with her daughter Samantha.
Walk into Citywoods, a contemporary, American fine crafts shop and gallery, and among the collections featuring real wood, handmade jewelry and blown glass, you’ll also find a wide variety of candles. Their newest one, the Sweet Balsam candle, brings the outdoors in and creates that cozy, woodsy, feeling.
Their new line of photographs printed on aluminum are another way to create that one-of-a-kind look this season.
“Our photographs printed on aluminum add a modern, urban influence to a room,” said Diana. “We have been showing photography since 1988, when my husband and I first established Citywoods. This year, our newest collection is printed on wood, fresco, plexiglass, and recycled aluminum, which adds a fresh, new dimension.”
Simple updates renew and refresh
Table Compliments (482 Central Ave, Highland Park) focuses on using tableware in new and creative ways. Owner Judy Sider said that aside from the fact that people are embracing warmer shades of gray, the biggest trend she sees is a move towards renewing and refreshing what you have with well thought-out accessories.
“You don’t have to start at the beginning,” Judy said. “Little things that you add to your table or home go a long way. This lets you change the table setting without reinventing it.”
She recommends that customers show her a photo of their dining room and kitchen or bring in a sample showplace piece, like a plate, into the store. She and her staff will then provide personal table design, finding the right table linens and accessories that will work with what you have. And, she does it all at no charge.
Another trend that Table Compliments fully embraces is the move to easy-care table linens.
“I’ve found a few lines of easy-care tablecloths and they are taking off,” added Judy. “They are both beautiful and practical, so you won’t have to take linens to the dry cleaner. Easy care is our priority.”
Table Compliments features a line of polyester tablecloths that look like linen but are machine washable and best of all, are at a budget-friendly price. Another new line of linens is actually made out of vinyl and features great patterns that will spruce up any room.
Luxurious touches make the holidays special
Style Shack (1839 Second Street, Highland Park) is the go-to destination to make your home ready for the holidays and all the family gatherings that are sure to ensue.
Style Shack offers an exclusive, one-on-one appointment with their talented design specialists to ensure your home looks extra special for the holidays. They tailor each client’s wishes through photos or a home visit to enhance any room in the house. Style Shack especially loves the challenge of taking an “un-loved” bookcase and turning it into a spectacular showpiece.
Owner Dawn Pye said, “We can help you elevate any room in your house with our wide range of magnificent home accents. Let us delight you with our one-of-a kind sculptures, original artwork and global treasures; also luxurious lifestyle books that make a perfect statement on any coffee table.”
This season, the Style Shack recommends going for the gold. They offer beautiful metallic table settings accenting gold table ware, serving pieces and glowing candles. You’ll also find a divine candle and home fragrance line called Antique Farmacista that highlights an exclusive, Black Label Holiday Scent. Even one scented candle can make a space feel very welcoming.
Warm, luxurious blankets made from fur, cashmere or silky alpaca wool are another way to make guests feel cozy and welcomed. Snuggling up with a gorgeous throw will elevate the luxurious feel of any room in the home. Stack them up in large baskets and grab one when the family is sitting around the fire. Stacking textiles in large baskets makes a living space feel cozy. Grab one (or a bunch) when the family is sitting around the fire enjoying the holidays together.
Attention to detail counts
According to Yasmin Mekki of Kenzy Gifts & Décor (1849 Green Bay Rd, Highland Park, 847-780-4177), adding a few trends to your holiday décor is the perfect way to set the mood.
“This year, we are seeing a lot of attention to detail. Add some flowers and small details to everything, to your table setting and buffet table. For example, add small signs that say ‘Thankful’ with little pumpkins and fall leaves, and you’ve totally created a look perfect for Thanksgiving.”
She also said that Hanukkah tables are looking even better than ever. Kenzy Gifts & Décor now has even more offerings with Judaica details.
For those who celebrate Christmas, plaid is the way to set the stage. Intersperse plaid table settings or a bit of plaid home décor – or even add in a ginger bread cookie platter with a touch of plaid. Another fun way to add details to any holiday table are pieces from the Nora Fleming collection. Nora is an Illinois native who designs a variety of entertaining pieces, like platters and serving boards, with interchangeable figurines that you can swap out for every holiday and occasion throughout the year.
Yasmin and her team work one-on-one with their customers to make sure their holidays are a success, from finding the right pieces to update an old china pattern to handpicking the perfect gifts.
Bring the outside in with nature-inspired hues
Summer Classics Home (1850 Second Street, Highland Park, 847-926-3069) is known for its stylish outdoor living. Not surprisingly, Bruce Erickson, owner of Summer Classics HOME of Highland Park, is an expert at bringing the best of the outdoors in, especially for the holidays.
“A big color is blue,” said Bruce. “Based on color trend reports, this seems to be nationwide.”
To bring some of the sky inside your home this holiday season, he recommends using blue accents through upholstery, accessories, mirrors, candles and Asian vases. Summer Classics Home now carries the Gabby line of indoor items, which he describes as “exceptional furnishings with an attention to detail and eclectic approach to design with focus on chic, contrasting materials.”
Gabby Creative Director Chris Hutchens says mixing in personal collections, art and artifacts is that extra layer that makes everyone’s home uniquely their own – especially for the holidays. “We look for items to enhance the pieces we design at Gabby,” he says. Some of his favorite finds are garden urns that look amazing indoors and on tabletops. “They always have my heart,” Chris says. “We love large tabletop accent pieces.”
Lighting makes all the difference
As you begin to prepare your home for the holidays to entertaining friends and family, it’s important to remember that lighting is the jewelry of any home. Showcase your dining room or great room with a beautiful crystal chandelier or warm up a family room with a classic table lamp. Check out the wide selection of outdoor and landscape lighting options at Idlewood Electric (114 Skokie Valley Road Highland Park, 847-831-3600) to ensure your home shines bright this holiday season.
Accessorizing your home for the holidays is also key, noted Rachel Lansing Sotoloff at Idlewood Electric. Design a foyer with an oversized mirror paired with an entry table and a bold statement lamp. Plus, it’s easier than ever to control all of your lights, both indoors and outdoors, from your smartphone or tablet using Lutron’s Caseta Wireless app.
A cozy home is a welcoming home
This holiday season is all about the classics and a winter white season with some silvers and golds, according to Sara Rosenbaum, owner at Blanketful (1292 Old Skokie Road, Highland Park, 224-636-9890). It’s also about creating a stylishly cozy home – and blankets is a great way to make that happen. The right blanket adds that little extra splash of comfort to make your guests feel embraced.
Blanketful offers a gallery of handpicked beautiful and sophisticated adult blankets, which are customized by the size and design of the material. Sourced and created right in Highland Park, the blankets can be finished off with customized embroidery.
“Whether you’re decorating a bedroom, den, office or family room, Banketful will help you elevate your decor,” said Sara. “Adding a blanket is that final touch you need in your home for this holiday season.
Jennifer Alten is a Chicagoland-based writer and marketing communications strategist who specializes in getting businesses of all sizes noticed. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.