What's new in decorating for the holidays

Deborah Wheeler 315-4432 | @WaltonSunDeb | dwheeler@waltonsun.com

Folks up and down the coast are busily decorating their homes for the holidays.

Thinking of decorating frenzy, the Sun wondered what are the popular looks for this season.

We reached out to some decorator friends to ask.

Ann Melancon, owner of Level 2 Design Inc. said colors seen in nature are always in fashion for Christmas decorating.

"We should use what Mother Nature provides," she said.

Of Mother Nature's colors, the pairing of green and brown is the most popular, she said.

"You can try layering different shades of green on staircase garland, and brown ornaments such as pine cones, acorns, etc. on a green tree. Neutrals are also popular," she said.

Russ Barley of Emerald Coast Flowers & Gifts agreed that nature is in.

"Birds, nests, snowflakes … last year was owls," he said. "Snowmen are popular. Angels are always favorites. And the colors red, green, white, silver, gold. People have moved away from fuchsia and lime green. You'll see more woodsy type things this season."

Interior Designer Susan Lovelace said lots of sparkle is in -- rustic elements mixed with the sparkle, white lights, and nativity.

"I am seeing natural greenery embellished with gold and silver," she said. "Spray-painted pine cones in gold and silver, dipped in sparkles."

For an understated look, though, Melancon suggests white and parchment pair well together. And to reflect the area, add turquoise or seafoam green as an accent color to the white and parchment in keeping with coastal style.

A boldly colored and patterned tree skirt pairs well with minimal tree décor, she said. Use simple white lights and a simple mesh garland made from deco mesh (the ribbon that florist's use).

Melancon said themed trees are trending.

Such as, if you are a Francophile, Eiffel Tower, fleur de lis, channel logo and French flag ornaments.

Since it's an election year, patriotic trees in red, white and blue are popular, she said.

And it's always popular in the South to theme a tree to your favorite college football team.

Mixing trendy with traditional is just fine in 2016, she said. You can also combine silver and gold ornaments.

"I've been seeing the memory tree also," she said. "If done right, it's beautiful. Snapshots of vacations, your children or special events decoratively framed and made into ornaments. Memorabilia, souvenirs and small crafts your kids made through the years are included. Photos of the dearly departed can be included. Some people include their pet's pictures as well."

Lovelace said ultimately the holiday is about more than just its decorations.

"All in all though, focus on great music and food, and lots of time with friends and family. That's what it is all about."