Solutions: Add new twists to ornaments for fresh look

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

The holidays may be right around the corner, but there’s still time to enhance your seasonal decor with some guidance from someone who knows how to make a statement. Alice Waterous, owner of Waterous Floral Consultant in Grand Haven, installs Christmas decor galore for the likes of Meadow Brook Hall and Ford Field.

For your own festive focal points, she offers tips for mantels and more.

Waterous often adds new embellishments to existing ornaments for a fresh look, like she did with one homeowner’s mantel. “This was a combination of new items, such as the large pebble-textured green orbs used with the client’s assortment of champagne and silver ornaments, plus a few deep-gold glass ornaments from the client’s box of treasures,” she says.

Her client wanted something a little more daring than the champagne and gold used in the past. “By adding the bright lime green textured ornaments and a wreath, they still have a color combination that is neutral enough to go with existing furnishings,” she says. “Everyone thought everything was new!”

Lime green is a staple since it works well with a wide range of colors and adds a bright happy hue to most holiday decor, says Waterous.

Suspended ornaments let you showcase more unique varieties while adding an unexpected element to the overall design.

For narrow mantles, she suggests some techniques to secure the decor.

If you use soft-textured garland that tumbles to the floor and puddles on each end, tension helps keep it in place. Or, she says you might try Command hooks to keep the garland base in place, or cover the surface with rubber shelf liner to avoid an avalanche.

Waterous likes to keep lighting low key. “The lights are rather loosely added either halfway through the installation or near the end of the process,” she says. “This saves time and keeps the lighting subtle. It’s also easy to remove the lights for storage when the holiday festivities are over.”

In another home, Waterous decorates a silver-and-blue themed tree to coordinate with their business logo. The same concept would work for a favorite sports team or any other color combination that might appeal to you.

For a seasonal arrangement in a wooden container, Waterous secured the pieces with a wreath ring covered in moss. “It helps facilitate the construction, so it’s mechanic, but also decorative,” she says. Because nothing is glued, the container and the materials can be reused in different ways the next time around.

In her own home, Waterous plays up her pottery collection with greenery and berries, giving her special pieces a seasonal twist.

Lastly, she says a Christmas tree doesn’t have to be purely decorative in order to look polished. Once you establish a color scheme, it’s easy to add other keepsakes that are meaningful to you. “It might be the funkiest looking snowman I’ve ever seen, but the holidays are all about family, celebrations and memories,” she says.

For information, call Alice Waterous at 616-446-5099.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at