Every industry is having a disruption that brings about relevant and exciting changes. In interiors, it’s the ushering of a new slew of online design services. You are in control of how much help you want and know up front how much it’s going to cost you. Not to mention, you’ll have access to very talented designers that live thousands of miles away. Havenly is one of them. To find out more about how this type of service can help with holiday-related design conundrums, we sat down with Shelby Girard, Head of Design at Havenly.

Can Havenly be used for smaller design projects?
Yes! Havenly is a great resource for home design projects both large and small. While we’re best-known for our ability to transform any room in your home into a dream space, our designers also love to help customers refresh smaller areas in the home to change the overall look of the space, like a desk, coffee table, bar cart, bookshelf or even a gallery wall! Updating these key pieces with new accessories or seasonal décor can help breathe fresh life into a space, without requiring a huge investment of time and/or money. We actually have a page of curated design packages for these types of projects on the Havenly site, and it shows a variety of smaller projects that can be incorporated into the home, along with direct links to purchase the suggested items.

For those of us who may want to get some ideas, what are the ways that you help your clients during the holidays?
We’re continuously updating the Gift Guide section on our site, outlining gift suggestions for every personality in your life, which you can purchase directly through our site to make the experience as easy and convenient as possible.

We also outline easy trends and updates on the Havenly blog that can be incorporated into the home for the holidays and beyond. This year, some of my favorite trends have been incorporating modern plaid into the space – via throw blankets, pillows or even an area rug – for a cozy and festive twist, or swapping out your artwork in favor of something really unexpected – a wreath, for example – which adds a really fun and festive touch to your space.

Finally, if you’re looking for an easy gift to give this holiday season, a Havenly gift card is a great option that’s sure to impress.

If you wanted help to decorate for a party, how would that process go?
Nailing down all the necessary details can be quite stressful! We can help with entertaining packages that might include dinnerware, glassware, tabletop accessories, and even things like lighting and art that really help make your space guest-ready. If you’re a planner and have a couple of weeks before the party, going through the Havenly Mini package is the perfect way to get a custom look for your party from the designer of your choice. If you’re in a rush, we also have designer-curated packages and tips ready to go in the Entertaining section of our blog.

What are some big mistakes that we make when decorating for the holidays?
The biggest mistake we make when decorating for the holidays is overthinking it. The season is meant to be fun and celebratory, and there isn’t a “wrong” way to bring that to life with décor. The only surefire misstep you can make is not getting started!

That being said, a rule I like to live by in general is to play off of what you already have so that your home doesn’t feel like it’s not “you” around the holidays. Bring in unexpected colors other than red and green, or stick to all neutrals and metallic for a more versatile, modern look.

One mistake I see often is sticking to the same traditional holiday décor used season after season. Mixing in a new color scheme or rearranging your décor in different areas of the home is a great way to make sure the holidays feel fresh and invigorating year after year.

How do you suggest making a sad guest bedroom more comfortable for overnight guests?

  1. Have a desk in the room for guests to work, should they have any pressing tasks during their stay. Fill the drawers with pens, pencils, and notepads (make sure to include the wifi information).
  2. Install blackout curtains, just in case your guests feel like sleeping in—they’re on vacation, after all!
  3. Fill the closet with hangers and extra bedding like wool throws, in the likelihood that your guests need extra warmth during their stay.
  4. Fresh, soft sheets are always a good idea. I always opt for all white, crisp sheets for a guest room as it invokes that hotel feeling and adds a touch of luxury to their stay.
  5. Dress the bedside table with fresh flowers, candles (include matches, just in case), and your favorite books for guests to enjoy during their stay. Add a personal touch by including a framed photo of your family to make the space feel more like home.

What is a last minute way, around an hour before guests arrive, that you can make your home look nicer and more festive for the holidays?
Incorporating a few easy, seasonal elements is the easiest way to make your home look holiday-ready on short notice:

  1. Adding some fun touches to your living room, like plaid throws and festive pillows, make a space feel warm and inviting.
  2. You can also easily add a few accessories to your mantle, like candles, garland or even beautiful glass ornaments, to bring some holiday cheer to the space.
  3. In your entry way, try hanging stockings off your console table.
  4. Add subtle touches of gold, red or emerald to the tabletop.
  5. Also, keeping your floral arrangements updated with seasonal varieties in holiday tones like deep reds, rust oranges, greens and whites always adds a touch of festivity to any space.

Decorating is more than just the visual, how about music? What what type of music is appropriate?
I think the right music can be just as important as the right lighting to accompany an occasion. You’ll need to think of the audience and curate a playlist accordingly.

For a group of friends over for brunch, something upbeat and current typically bodes well (or something a bit more obscure depending on your crowd), whereas for a night with family or mixed age group, I tend to stick with oldies or soul, which typically goes over well in any crowd.

For a holiday party, go for a mix of catchy classics and current hits – just be sure to keep the songs lively so the energy doesn’t die, at least until you’re ready for the party to end.

Let’s start thinking about decorating beyond the holidays…When’s the best time to start a design project – now or come January?
There’s never a bad time to start a design project! However, you’ll want to be sure to start any design project at a time that you’re sure you can see it through from start to finish. January is a great time to start a home decorating project, as it’s a symbolic way to welcome the New Year and “fresh slate” that it offers. But, like I said, there’s never really a bad time to begin a project, so if you find that maybe spring or summer work better for you, or you’re welcoming a baby in the fall or moving into a new home, Havenly is here to help at anytime to bring your dream spaces to life!