Do-It-Yourself Design Solutions

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Dress Up the Holidays

Newport designer Brittany Stiles offers festive, do-it-yourself design solutions.- By Somer Flaherty

Brittany Stiles always knew she would do something in a creative field, but it wasn’t until she took her first interior design course in college that she realized it would be her career. Now at the helm of her own design company, named Brittany Stiles, she has been creating home interiors throughout Southern California, and each season transforms clients’ abodes into dreamy holiday landscapes.

NBM: What holiday color combinations do you recommend?
BS: Don’t be afraid to branch off from the standard red and green—try different color combinations, and don’t forget about whites and neutrals that always make for a sophisticated aesthetic.

NBM: What are your tips for holiday lighting design?
BS: Create groupings of candles in a variety of sizes on a mantle or down the center of your dining table, and light them in the winter evenings. Groupings of any kind always make a statement, and candles provide the perfect holiday ambiance.

NBM: How can you achieve classy holiday decor?
BS: Be festive, but not “theme-y.” If you want to achieve a classy holiday look, I recommend staying away from Santa Claus-themed objects—unless you are decorating for young children.

NBM: Your holiday tabletop designs are beautiful—what’s your method?
BS: It’s easy to get off track when you add too many different elements to table design, so just remember to keep things simple. I recommend a festive floral arrangement in the center, a coordinating table runner or cloth, and then add a touch of whimsy with a sprig of holly berries or a glass ornament attached to the napkin or party favor.

NBM: What tips do you have for decorating the traditional holiday tree?
BS: Collect ornaments from your travels or special life moments. I love when a tree tells a story.

NBM: What else can be added to the home during the season to make it warm and full of holiday cheer?
BS: Add familiar holiday smells to your home by cooking wassail on the stove or lighting holiday-scented candles. Lighting a fire in the fireplace, even in the warm climate of Newport Beach, will always add to the magic of the holiday season, and don’t forget to turn up the holiday tunes!

NBM: What is the biggest challenge of decorating your own home?
BS: Finding time to decorate right after Thanksgiving so that I have sufficient time to enjoy all of the work that goes into decorating for the holidays. Some years I get so busy that before I know it, it’s Dec. 15, and I have not done a thing! I get a little bummed out when I realize I only have 10 days to enjoy a festively decorated holiday home.

Festive Decorating

Shop for simple pieces to spruce up your home for the holidays

There are few spaces in a home more appealing than an inviting living room. Beyond merely welcoming guests and providing a place to both rest and entertain, these spaces can be ripe with design. Make a sophisticated living room more fun than formal with the use of furniture and accessories to complement the space. Creative floor treatments can add personality and make an otherwise ordinary floor come to life.  NBM

Yule plate, available at Crate & Barrel, South Coast Plaza (714-825-0060;

Wool Stewart Pillow, available at Room & Board in Costa Mesa (714-549-5995;

Palacio candle cups by Wildwood, available at Between the Sheets, South Coast Plaza (714-557-9999;

Winter Wonderland trees, available at Restoration Hardware, Fashion Island (949-760-9232;


Up in Lights ornament by Christopher Radko, available at Bloomingdale’s, Fashion Island (949-729-6600;

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