Design Lesson

Holiday decor: A Dorothy Draper Christmas

Holiday decor: A Dorothy Draper Christmas

Holiday decor: A Dorothy Draper Christmas Author: Style At Home

Design Lesson

Holiday decor: A Dorothy Draper Christmas

Legendary decorator Dorothy Draper boldy declared in one of her tomes that “entertaining is fun!” We took her sentiment to heart and translated her signature interior stylings into a holiday soiree fit for the doyenne of design herself. With a mix of Dorothy’s go-to motifs, such as flowering chintzes, black and white stripes and a heaping dose of gold, here are some ways to bring a hit of Hollywood glamour to your own festive season.

Photograph from the archives of Dorothy Draper & Co.

Dorothy Draper's timeline

- Born on Nov. 22 in New York; née Tuckerman.

1912 - Marries Dr. George Draper, personal physician to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1923 - Starts her own firm, Architectural Clearing House, the very first interior design company in North America.

1930 - Receives her first major commission to decorate New York City’s The Carlyle hotel.

1939 - Her iconic decorating manual, Decorating Is Fun!, is published.

1941 - Her second book, Entertaining Is Fun!, is published.

1946 - Redesigns West Virginia’s historic Greenbrier resort, a 1778 National Historic Landmark.

1969 - Passes away on March 11.

2004 - Entertaining Is Fun! is reissued and becomes a bestseller; Decorating Is Fun! follows in 2007.

Today - Her protege, Carleton Varney, continues her legacy as CEO of Dorothy Draper & Co.

“Don’t forget fresh flowers and vases of greens. It’s the things like that that make for hospitality,” says Dorothy.

The Draper touch on the mantel

Think beyond classic red and white and go for bold instead when it comes to your Christmas stockings. Mixing and matching hits of chintz, sumptuous jewel-toned velvets and black and white ribbon really catches the eye. dorothy-draper-fanciful-desserts.jpg
“Every good hostess has a sense of showmanship.”

Fanciful desserts to complement the decor
Enthrall guests with fanciful desserts designed to complement the decor, from sculptural flowering cupcakes to a cake with a hand-painted chintz motif. dorothy-draper-holiday-cards.jpg
Draper-style holiday cards

For our own spin on Draper-style holiday cards, we cut out blooms from cheery floral-patterned wallcoverings, layered them with stripes and borrowed the classic scroll design from the covers of Dorothy’s cherished books, Decorating Is Fun! and Entertaining Is Fun! dorothy-draper-style-dining.jpg
“When it comes to setting the table for Christmas dinner, let your imagination run wild!” says Dorothy Draper.

Draper-style dining

Lay the foundation for a fabulous dining table with table linens that command attention – and what’s more eye-catching than a black and white stripe? An antique architectural piece displays a favourite motif of Dorothy’s: a dramatic swag. Gold antique Chiavari-style chairs are popular for entertaining because their small scale makes it possible to squeeze additional guests around the table. More is more! dorothy-draper-stemware.jpg
Antique China and stemware

Gilded antique china and stemware add retro sparkle and flair, alongside crystal-adorned lustres. dorothy-draper-bouquet.jpg
Bouquet of roses

A compote holding a bouquet of bright-hued roses that look like they leaped right off a floral fabric. dorothy-draper-christmas.jpg
“Nothing adds so much to the beauty and happiness of this world as colour,” says Dorothy Draper.

A Draper Christmas tree
Who said a Christmas tree has to be green? Dorothy was all about unexpected combinations and thinking outside the box. The result? A tree that emulates the look of a contemporary chintz by way of mixing bright festive faux flowers with jewel-toned Christmas tree ornaments on frosty white branches. Black and white striped wallpaper is the perfect graphic backdrop to offset the sumptuous flocked Christmas tree. dorothy-draper-wallpaper-present.jpg
Wallpaper gift wrapping

In a nod to Dorothy’s love affair with wallpaper, we layered swathes of colourful wallcoverings and solid papers with luxe satin ribbons to fashion custom gift wrapping paper.


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Design Lesson

Holiday decor: A Dorothy Draper Christmas