Inside a Festive Home That Makes Holiday Décor Look Surprisingly Chic

festive holiday decor

Photo: Jenna Peffley

It's that time of year again. Grab the ladder and head to the attic to drag down the dusty box marked "holiday." It's probably filled with broken ornaments, tangled lights, and gilded accents that we dutifully place around the home in their prescribed holiday spots. But what if this year, our holiday décor looked elevated and cool? 

For Sarah Sherman Samuel, getting the festive accents just right lie in two key pieces: "As soon as the holidays hit, I start decorating by adding a little extra sparkle to my space with metallic accents and twinkle lights." Plus, "bringing in fresh greenery (with or without sparkle) makes it feel more like the holidays," she says.

Meet the Expert

Sarah Sherman Sammuel is a mother, interior designer, and blogger who splits her time between Los Angeles, California and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

To make sure you get the most bang for your buck, focus your decorative efforts in the rooms that get the most foot traffic. Ahead, we chatted with Sarah to see how she's updating her living room, bar, and dining room with choice pieces from Bloomingdale's. We also scored some easy DIY tips that you can easily copy. We promise: You've never seen holiday cheer look this good.

Living Room

holiday decor
Photo: Jenna Peffley

Naturally, your living room will be the area that you entertain the most. For Samuel, her living space is the biggest room in the house, so when she has friends over, they typically end up congregating there. She says, "I wanted to bring warmth to the sofa by adding layers with a graphic blanket and a sheepskin throw." Her pro tip? "When in doubt, add a sheepskin rug. I love how it can transform a space, making it more inviting. You can throw it over the arm of a sofa, on the back of a chair, or layer it over the existing rugs on the floor."

Sheepskin Throw
Ugg Sheepskin Throw $145
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holiday decor
Photo: Jenna Peffley

"We created a nontraditional wreath-like wall hanging out of eucalyptus and wrapped in tiny copper lights to give it a warm holiday glow,” she says.  

holiday decor
Photo: Jenna Peffley

As for coffee table décor, Samuel likes to keep it simple by focusing on one thing: “Candles and more candles! They have a way of making a space feel cozy with their ambient glow and welcoming scents.”

candle
Byredo Bibliothèque Fragranced Candle $43
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Holiday decor
Photo: Jenna Peffley

Of course, no entertaining space is complete without music. Samuel's music-playing device of choice is a Crosley record player. "The sound quality of vinyl adds to the nostalgia that surrounds the holiday season," she notes. Her favorite tune: "‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby. Growing up in Michigan, we almost always had a white Christmas, and hearing that song takes me back to all the childhood memories." 

record crate
Crosley Radio Record Storage Crate $30
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Bar Cart

holiday decor
Photo: Jenna Peffley

The second most congregated area of a home during a party? The bar area, of course. Samuel’s consists of go-to basics like a decanter, wine glasses, and various spirits to appease any preference. Ease and accessibility are also important. “Since the kitchen isn’t nearby, having a stocked bar cart is essential. I like guests to feel as if they can make themselves at home, so ample seating and a loungey vibe are a must.”

holiday decor
Photo: Jenna Peffley

“Choose a decanter that matches your style," Samuel recommends. “I love the geometric silhouette of the glass on this one." This decanter also has a stopper and setting with gold accents and wood, making it extra special. 

Rabbit RBT Decanter $100
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Dining Table

holiday decor
Photo: Jenna Peffley

Like the wall garland in the living room, Samuels carried the same eucalyptus greens into her dining room, opting for a runner instead of bouquets. "I made a simple garland from my favorite greens, then sprinkled it with copper candle votives and holders for a no-fuss centerpiece," she adds.

Candlesticks
Anna New York Dual Candlesticks, Set of 2 $295
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Jenna Peffley

Whether you're catering or cooking a five-course meal, a cheese board is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. To display them, choose unique cheese boards that will add a decorative element to your tablescape. "The green of the cutting boards here is my favorite shade of green,” Samuel says. It picks up the color from the eucalyptus, creating an elegant, almost monochromatic look to the table. The geometric shapes of both the cutting boards and the votives create a modern look I love." 

Artesano Chopping Board
Villeroy & Boch Artesano Chopping Board $78 $59
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Now that your living spaces are ready for hosting, start prepping a guest list and doing some menu research!

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