Photo and design by Jaclyn Harper

You’ve decked the halls, trimmed the tree and hung the stockings with care, but there’s one space you’re probably overlooking when it comes to holiday decorating — the kitchen. “The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s where we spend the most time entertaining,” says Jaclyn Harper, Owner and Principal Stylist for Harper Designs. While it’s important to keep the space functional — so you can still carve up a ham or decorate sugar cookies — there are little tweaks you can make to give your kitchen a festive look.

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1. Choose decor that’s pretty *and* practical

Photo and design by Jaclyn Harper

“Opt for things that make your kitchen feel holiday-esque, but are practical for you,” advises Harper. “It’s still your kitchen and you’re going to need to use it on a daily basis.” She recommends layering cutting boards against a backsplash or propping up a mirror or piece of art to add visual interest. “It also creates a bit of a backdrop for a holiday vignette,” notes Harper. “In the kitchen, I like to choose three or five curated items, so you still have countertop space that you can work with.”

2. Elevate your tablescape

Photo and design by Jaclyn Harper

“I like to keep my flatware and dishes on display so that there’s no hustle and bustle when guests arrive,” says Harper. In the photo above, the Burlington, Ontario-based stylist used a classic white dinner plate, but paired it with an acrylic marble-looking salad plate to achieve a more layered look.

To bring the sophistication up a notch, she chose a medieval-inspired flatware set by Gourmet Settings. “The Avalon collection, which is shown here, adds a little bit of sparkle to your tablescape, but it’s stainless steel and extremely durable, so you can just throw it in the dishwasher after Christmas brunch.” The three-pronged forks and textured, firescale stems contrast beautifully against the more traditional table setting. “It’s a real conversation-starter for your next party or family dinner.”

3. Go with bigger (but fewer) statements

Photo and design by Jaclyn Harper

“Instead of decorating your dining table or kitchen island with a lots of little items in the center, use one big statement that can be easily removed,” suggests Harper. “It will make your holiday events a little less chaotic!” Here she chose a galvanized metal vase filled with greenery that can quickly be transferred to a foyer or bedroom when counter space is at a premium. “It won’t make your kitchen look cluttered because it’s just one large piece.”

4. Incorporate greenery

Photo and design by Jaclyn Harper

“A lot of people think they have to go crazy with sparkles and ornaments and all sorts of decorations, when really, just adding a few sprigs of greenery into your everyday elements can make the space feel festive,” notes Harper. If you’re fortunate enough to have a lush backyard, you can forage for free. If not, Christmas tree lots often sell scraps and stumps for next to nothing. “It’s a really cost-effective way to decorate your home for the holidays.”

5. Think beyond red and green

Photo and design by Jaclyn Harper

“When it comes to holiday color palettes, I love incorporating rich plums and dark cherry hues, as opposed to the traditional red and green,” says Harper. “I’ve noticed a lot of people are also opting for navy and green Christmas decor, and rose gold is another big trend this year.” In the kitchen, Harper injects color by tying a bright bow around a bottle of champagne or adding in wintery artwork.

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