Design writer and stylist Arlyn Hernandez lives in a classic 100-year-old apartment building, which has made her rethink how she approaches nearly everything. That includes organization and decorating for the holidays.
“There’s literally no storage,” Hernandez says. “I needed to create it, and a credenza was the best way.”
She designed a credenza that runs the length of the apartment by combining IKEA’s three-door and two-door Besta media units. The standard sleek white IKEA doors were too modern, but Hernandez liked the warmth of Semihandmade’s Desert Grey beaded doors designed by Sarah Sherman Samuel. “It’s a warm putty and it’s wonderful because gray can feel a little cold and sterile sometimes, but it has just the right amount of warmth,” she says.
Ordering was a breeze. She went to the Semihandmade site and ordered media fronts for the large Besta cabinet. “I took the existing doors off and I had to screw it in but everything was fine,” Hernandez says. The credenza holds everything from board games to books to small appliances, and the top is perfect for a holiday tablescape. We sat down with her to get her five easy tips for bringing the charm of the holidays to a small space.
“You see so many beautiful things on Instagram and you put so much pressure on yourself to go buy everything,” Hernandez says. “Don’t be afraid to start small and add over the years.” Invest in quality holiday decor and build your collection over time.
Deck the Halls
Hernandez uses a quality faux garland as the basis for her holiday decorations. To make it a bit more realistic, she tucks a few sprigs of round leaf eucalyptus to the garland. Garland works on credenzas and buffets, mantels, staircases, and across dining tables. “It doesn’t have to be everywhere,” Hernandez says. “A little goes a long way.”
Use Seasonal Fruit
“I would never underestimate the charm of seasonal fruit as decor,” Hernandez says. Next time you’re at the grocery store or farmers market, pick out some shiny red pomegranates, tangerines or kumquats with the greenery attached, walnuts or dried orange slices. They’ll all pop against deep green pine branches or faux garland.
Keep It Neutral and Natural
As much as Hernandez loves collected holiday ornaments and decorations, they can start to look a bit too colorful. ”Anything that’s the base of your decor, keep it neutral so it doesn’t look like a garage sale,”she says. Wood or jute decorations like bottle brush trees, snow globes, and little white ceramic houses with white lights will look classic and chic with greenery.
Don’t Forget the Windows
Apartment dwellers miss out on the joys of decorating the front lawn and outdoor trees but Hernandez goes all in on decorating indoors, including the windows. She uses a bit of ribbon to suspend wreaths from the curtain rod. “Wreaths over a window are so charming and beautiful,” says Hernandez. “It totally changes the space and turns it into a wonderland.”