Decorating & Design - Window Treatments

5 ideas for holiday windows

Five ways to add festive cheer to your windows this holiday season.

Like a toddler who demands more than his fair share of attention, the mantel is a holiday scene stealer. But not this year. With Christmas around the corner, I'm determined to introduce a new contender for holiday favourite: the window. My living room is blessed with two large windows that face the street. Putting decorating efforts there will not only improve interior views but also provide festive cheer to the neighbourhood. Here are some holiday decor ideas I'm considering, which I hope will inspire you as well.

Welcome wreath
Wreaths aren't only for the front door -- they work beautifully in windows. To fill a window 36 inches wide, opt for a 24- to 30-inch wreath. Start with a permanent wreath as the base (an excellent investment), and add fresh greens like noble fir, eucalyptus, white pine, or magnolia leaves, which were used to make the dining room wreath in the photograph below. In my kitchen window, I like to hang a rosemary or bay leaf wreath. Fresh greens dry naturally and remain lightly fragrant throughout the season. Word of caution: Remember that dry materials are very flammable.

Tailored topiary
Forgo the traditional "horizontal" garland and create a "vertical" display of holiday topiaries or potted plants. The tailored presence of a topiary is especially suited to formal rooms. A single tropical orchid is ideal for a more modern or global look. Whether using an orchid or topiary, set it in the centre of the ledge, allowing the tip to rest slightly below the window's centre line, then frame it with greenery draped above the window and cascading down each side.

Glowing candles
Enhance holiday lighting schemes by placing tall hurricane lamps in windows. Or if the windowsill is sufficiently deep, fill a tray with a variety of candles to create a glowing display. Battery-operated candles provide a welcome glow without fear of fire. If you do opt to use real candles, be sure to take extra care: avoid placing them near draperies and furniture, and never leave lit candles unattended.

Kissing ball
Mistletoe makes an ideal accent. Cover a floral foam or Styrofoam sphere (nine to 12 inches in diameter) with mistletoe or other greens. Using wired ribbon, make a loop for hanging and attach it to the ball with a T-pin pushed into the foam. Suspend from the top of the window. Choose red, silver or gold ribbon for traditional schemes, and white, blue or green for contemporary looks.

Hanging icicles
In living or dining room windows, suspend strands of pearl beads, rock crystal or holiday lights from top to bottom within the frame. This sparkling display is easy and impressive.

TIP If you're building a new house or remodelling, make allowances now for future holiday electrical requirements by placing plugs where required.

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