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Home for the Holidays

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The three women behind Austin Design House share their best pointers for giving your home a cozy and welcoming winter touch.  

By Lydia Gregovic, Photo courtesy of Austin Design House

Design aficionados Aimee Laughlin, Jess Pearce and Taylor Wilson are focused on changing the interior-decorating game, one pillow at a time. The close-knit trio—Laughlin and Wilson are a mother-daughter duo and Pearce is a family friend—launched their company, Austin Design House, in 2016 with the intention of making interior design accessible and affordable to all.

Specializing in wallpaper, textiles, pillows and design consulting, their online boutique may be the new kid on the block, but it’s already leaving its mark on the interior aesthetic of Austin homes. With the holiday season and family-and-friend festivities fast approaching, Austin Woman knew exactly who to turn to for the best quick-fix decorating tips in town.

Pointer 1: Create curb appeal.

“The first impression is the most important impression and, in terms of design, that means your front door. It doesn’t need to be over-the-top decorated, but it should be fresh, clean and inviting. Wreaths are a great option and should be selected based on your door color. With dark doors, for example, try to find something that contrasts a little bit, such as winter whites or even a wreath made of Christmas ornaments. Door color aside, to really spruce up your home, step away from traditional wreaths and try something more organic, such as boxwoods or magnolia plants.”  – Aimee Laughlin

Pointer 2: Keep it simple.

“A common mistake people make is taking out boxes and boxes of decorations around Christmas and putting everything out on top of what they already have. Instead, try to strip down a little bit. Taking away a few small items can both create room for seasonal décor and make it seem like it’s supposed to be there instead of covering up something else. Something we always like to do is swap out a few family photos in favor of holiday-themed shots, like pictures with Santa, to create that Christmas atmosphere.” – Jess Pearce

Pointer 3: Look beyond red and green.

“Instead of opting for the traditional red-and-green color scheme, try to select colors that complement the rest of your décor. Some great alternatives are neutrals, metallics and winter whites, all of which create a more sophisticated look while still giving your home a wintry feeling. Pops of classic red and green can add a festive aura, but keep in mind that with such bright tones, a little goes a long way. Something we like to suggest is using more neutral colors throughout the majority of the house, and then making one room, such as the family room, a bit more colorful.” – Aimee Laughlin

Pointer 4: Go all-natural.

“Always choose living plants or natural greenery over synthetic decorations. When considering holiday flowers, most people think of poinsettias, but there are actually a variety of different options beyond that. A personal favorite of ours are paper whites, which are white winter flowers that shoot up from bulbs, and which last through the entire holiday season. For the best effect, plant them in tall cylinder glasses and sprinkle a few sprigs of berries throughout. The final result is red, green and white—a new twist on conventional Christmas colors.” – Taylor Wilson

Pointer 5: Throw in a throw.

“As a business that was originally built around pillows, we love to use one or two as easy accents within a room, especially during the holidays. While you shouldn’t overdo it, accessories like pillows or throws can be relatively inexpensive ways to transform the feeling of a space. For a warm and wintry atmosphere, textured fabrics are key. Knits, velvets and faux fur are all great options for creating that cozy, fireside feeling that people crave during the holidays. Or if you’re feeling more cheerful, spruce up an area by placing a few brightly colored pillows around the room.” – Aimee Laughlin

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