Solutions: Looking at holiday decor with a fresh eye

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Decking the halls can have a domino effect, especially when you’re forced to re-evaluate what you already have before adding more components to the equation. So, in addition to the requisite holiday embellishments, I’m hoping to make some other adjustments to my home environment before another year slips away.

For me, December seems to arrive in the blink of an eye while serving as a reminder of how little I accomplished on my lengthy to-do list for the home.

Lately I’ve been rethinking some areas like the fireplace mantel in the living room that only holds a few key pieces before and after the holiday season. Though there’s not much tweaking needed here, the addition of our old Christmas stockings read like clutter to me, but since my daughter adores them, they’ll stay.

Still, as I survey my surroundings, I see other items taking up space that would show better on a wall. Despite the fact that I have more art on display than the average person could stand, I can always replace an existing piece with something new and refreshing.

There’s a little room left on the walls for smaller objects, such as a pair of classic clocks that look like pocket watches. These pieces haven’t had a permanent home since I first fell for them a few years back when they were shown as holiday ornaments on a Christmas tree. I became even more enamored when I found out they were functional and had hooks to hang on a wall, so that’s my plan for now.

Another favorite is a melamine plate I couldn’t resist that features a French portrait of a woman. This item has been displayed on a family heirloom dresser in a hallway for far too long. Although it suits that setting, I think it would be more noticeable if propped on an easel or hung on the wall.

In turn, these seemingly small adjustments free up space for seasonal decor and more.

The same goes for some three-dimensional art I inherited from my sister that has yet to find the right spot due to its smaller scale. Ideally, I’d like to give these items pride of place because of their uniqueness and their sentimental value, so I’m determined to find a solution.

Then there are the mirrors that were purchased for my mom’s apartment when she lived nearby. Though I intend to keep them, I haven’t made enough of an effort to hang them. When I do, they can easily be adorned with holiday decor, such as garland.

There’s also a new addition to my collection of menus taken (with permission) from a restaurant chain that I frame and hang throughout my home that needs to find the right spot.

Lastly, I hope to have some minor repairs and maintenance done before the end of December. Though the holiday season can be hectic, it can also be a great motivator to fine-tune your decorating, tackle those nagging updates and finish those little fixes. Dealing with them now could mean fewer New Year’s resolutions come January.

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