Lifestyle blogger Monika Hibbs gives her home a fresh look for Christmas. Image by: Tracey Ayton
For lifestyle blogger Monika Hibbs, Christmas is all about sentiment and style. Here are 12 ways she pulls off a fresh look filled with meaning to commemorate a family milestone.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without family and tradition, sure, but in Monika Hibbs’s home, Christmas also wouldn’t be complete without her signature styling. Based just outside of Fort Langley, B.C., the blogger, who has quickly become a master of holiday decor, switches up her style almost every year. But regardless of the theme, these aspects always remain: A classic look and neutral scheme, metallic touches, a hint of whimsy and sheer covetability. Seasonal styling is a talent Monika has honed since she was a little girl. “Even when I was young, I loved adorning the tree and wrapping gifts,” she says. “Plus, my mom always let me be in charge of floral arrangements and tablescapes.”
Now that Monika has her own family (including hubby Troy, three-year-old Liam and 11- month-old Lillya), she shares the tasks with her children. “Liam’s really into it,” says Monika. “He decorates cookies, hangs ornaments and arranges the manger.” Though Lillya is too young to get involved, her arrival just two weeks before last Christmas inspired the entire feminine theme, executed with dusty rose-hued accents like tea light holders, wrapping paper and delicate raw silk ribbon.
Holiday decorating with the kids isn’t the only tradition the Hibbses have – they enjoy hot chocolate by their outdoor fireplace in the evenings and always make time for charity. But a highlight is taking the Bright Nights Christmas Train through Stanley Park with Troy’s family. “There’s around 60 of us – we fill the whole train,” says Monika, noting that the park is lit with millions of lights – perhaps the perfect place for this family-oriented champion of Christmas who also happens to have a penchant for sparkle.
1 Lifestyle blogger and unofficial queen of fresh and elegant holiday decor Monika Hibbs has three main tips for trimming a tree: Start with a colour scheme (“You don’t have to use every ornament in your box – save the ones that don’t suit your theme for another year,” she advises); instead of buying one-off ornaments, go for groups of three for visual impact; and organize them by category (like glass balls or felted figures) before hanging them to ensure balanced distribution.
2 “There’s something special about a fire this time of year,” says Monika. The one here in her family room is not the only staple flame of the season – tea lights are strewn on surfaces throughout the house, and the outdoor fireplace plays host to many a morning coffee or evening cocoa. “I love a fire’s warmth and random crackles, which add to the magic of the holidays.”
3 Style meets sentiment in chic pieces that commemorate family milestones, such as the decorative houses arranged on Monika’s fireplace mantel. “Each one represents a huge moment for us, from the purchase of our first home to the construction of this one,” she says. “And I write a note on the bottom of each so I never forget.”
4 Monika doesn’t switch out much of her everyday decor come Christmastime. In fact, furniture placement, artwork and accents mostly stay the same, save for a few toss cushions that get traded for more festive ones.
5 When it comes to garlands, Monika goes all out: She orders a massive length of fresh cedar (last year it was 75 feet!) to string along her banister, mantel, exterior trim and garage. She starts by measuring everything she wants to adorn and then adds an extra foot of cedar for every four feet to accommodate swag. Here, the garland is garnished with eucalyptus, cypress, pine cones and raw silk bows with cascading tails for a fresh, feminine look.
6 “You don’t need to cook an entire sit-down dinner for each of the season’s many parties,” says Monika, who prefers to prep for a holiday drop-in with comfort foods like homemade apple pie. “It’s elegant but cozy,” she explains.
7 Roses may be unconventional Christmas flowers, but they’re perfectly suited to Monika’s pretty-in-pink theme. “Originally, I wanted this piece to be a garland that wrapped around the whole range hood,” says Monika. “But it didn’t look right, so I downsized the idea. It’s perfect proof that sometimes less is more.”
8 A simple wreath hung with thick ribbon serves as another example of less is more and offers a wink of holiday spirit in an otherwise unadorned area.
9 Sparkling rosé served in pink champagne coupes underscores the holiday colour scheme, while whimsical details like frozen-rose ice cubes and sugared cranberries are easy and inexpensive ways to add serious wow factor.
10 No matter her holiday scheme, Monika tends to stick to neutrals when picking gift wrap. “I usually choose paper with subtle patterns, such as snowflakes or polka dots,” she says. “But I always wrap the kids’ presents in something more playful.”
11 Born six weeks after the Hibbses moved into this house and two weeks before Christmas, baby Lillya was the main source of inspiration for the home’s festive decor last year, marked by the powder pink and dusty rose accents with feminine touches. Monika purchased the “Hello Lovely” ornament in honour of Lillya’s birth to serve as a beautiful reminder of when they welcomed her into the world.
12 From the Fort Langley, B.C., shopping bag to the plaid scarf and blanket to the warm winter boots and even the skull mount, there’s always a hint of Canadiana in Monika’s winter decor.
Find helpful budget-friendly makeover ideas.
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2015 decorating and design trends
Gold and warm metallics have graced the homes of Canadians and the runways of the world for the past several seasons and they’re not going anywhere in 2015. “Investing in warm metal has surpassed fashion accessories,” says Meredith. “Brass, gold and the endless variations of warm metal are everywhere from furniture, hardware, bathroom fixtures and lighting.” As for Meredith’s favourite part of this look? “Your finishes don’t all have to match – mix in some gold or brass with your nickel or iron. Invest in what you love and trust that the rest will work.”
Deep rich, saturated colour is making a much-anticipated return in sumptuous olive and hunter green, gorgeous garnet and ruby red, and bold sapphire and cobalt. “These rich colours are popular for 2015 in luxurious velvet, silk and linen textiles, but are also finding their way to walls in both matte and high gloss lacquer finishes for dramatic and moody interiors,” says Meredith.
If you’ve hesitated to decorate with patterns in the past, 2015 is the year to take the plunge. “The more pattern the better has been my motto for some time now, and thanks to fashion pairings and runway trends, its popularity in home decor is on the rise as well,” says Meredith. “Mixing scale and proportion and layering patterns together in unexpected ways is a great way to inject whimsy into a room and achieve a more lived-in feel.”
“At Meredith Heron Design, we are obsessed with all things sheen, as you can see in this client’s library,” says Meredith. “Lacquer isn’t just for the cabinetry, though – we opted for a high gloss finish on this millwork and it’s a true show stopper against the matte walls.” She also advises that if you are going to go the way of the lacquer trend, it’s best to seek out a professional, as it requires many coats and sanding in between.
Meredith is a strong believer that more is always more, and in 2015, we’re seeing fellow designers and retailers agree. Family-friendly, inviting spaces that are layered and tell a story are in great demand, particularly a style Meredith calls ‘The Strong Feminine’. “This style looks to bold curves, classical lines, Hollywood glam, tufted everything, rich magentas or pink of any kind, and always more gold,” says Meredith. “You’ll see it everywhere from trim and brush fringe on pillows to furniture, and from wallpaper to exquisite area rugs.”
Buying guide: Daybeds
A daybed is a wonderfully versatile piece of furniture to have in your home. Both functional and aesthetically pleasing it can help shape your space, making it more inviting and comfortable. Available for a myriad of price points and made in a variety of styles, a daybed will be a welcome addition to any room of your home. The following five tips will help you choose the best daybed for your space or show you how to make better use of the one you have.
1 The all-purpose daybed
One of the best features of a daybed is its incredible versatility. Placed in a living room, it's the perfect lounging chair for entertaining or cozy evenings and will then make a comfortable sleeping option for overnight guests. It also works wonders in a guest room or lobby area. A daybed is also the ideal piece to accessorize: add a few decorative pillows and a throw by day, and a colourful duvet cover for a good night's sleep.
Photo courtesy of West Elm.
4 Small space perfect
3 Creating spaces
One of the challenges of a large space can be figuring out how to arrange your furniture. A daybed is an easy piece to place and can help solve that issue. Showcase your daybed in the center of your room to act as a divider and create a more intimate feel. A daybed that feels light and open is ideal for that purpose.
Photo courtesy of Crate and Barrel.