Holiday Infusion

Angela Mangan, owner of Blue Dahlia Designs, sheds light on her years of prepping and perfecting your home for the holiday season while keeping your family’s needs at the forefront.

Edited by Moe Godat

Portrait Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton

Interior photography courtesy of Blue Dahlia Designs


Creating Spaces Ever since receiving a degree in interior design, I have been helping people enjoy their homes by designing spaces they love that works for their family. Though I have always loved working with clients and helping them create their vision of home, my dream has always been to own my own home décor store. I love interacting with my customers and helping them create a home that they love.

Pockets of Joy Holidays are a great chance to switch up your home décor to help celebrate the season. Whether it's creating little pockets of joy throughout your home with your seasonal décor or it’s creating a cozier atmosphere in the rooms where you will spend quality time with your family and friends, decorating for the holidays can be a great way to celebrate. As the seasons change, I love to bring that feeling into my home, even if it is just changing a few things.

Just a Touch During the holidays, I like to add a touch of the season in most of my rooms, but it can seem daunting to decorate your entire home. Focus on the rooms where you will be spending time with family or entertaining guests. That can be your foyer, which will bring joy when they first walk in, your living room where you can create a cozy atmosphere or even your dining room if you are planning on hosting dinner parties.

Keep it Simple One of the easiest ways to redecorate your home for the holidays is by finding pieces that will blend with your everyday décor. Swap out the florals in your vase for ones that reflect the season or add evergreen swags to the top of your bookcases. Add garland to your dining table or your mantel to dress it up while keeping your décor pieces the same. Switching candles out to holiday scents and colors can easily change the feel of your home as well.

Decorate to Entertain When decorating entertaining spaces, always keep in mind what type of entertaining will occur in that space. Make sure you consider the natural flow of the room so that you don’t fill a space or a natural aisle way with décor that would stop that flow. If you’re hosting a dinner party, create a table centerpiece that is slightly shorter so guests can easily look over it or make the centerpiece easily removeable when the meal is to be served. Make sure the spaces where your guest will be using are decorated and functional. Some spaces that can often be overlooked are the foyer and the powder room.

Holiday Essentials Some of my favorite essential entertaining items are scented candles, garlands or florals, which can easily be placed around the room. I also believe in the functionality of the items I use for entertaining such as marble or granite cheese boards that will retain a cooler temperature throughout the event, trays with handles that can easily be moved and even using decorative decanters on the bar can create a luxe feel.

Love Your Decor While traditional Christmas colors are often the color palette many people choose to stick to, we always advise decorating your home with items you love. If that means decorating for the holidays with bright pastels, warm metallics or cooler winter colors, that is absolutely fine! To keep your decorations from feeling too busy, make sure to feature one to three main colors and bring in other textures and finishes to accent it.

Moving Moody We’re seeing a more moody/romantic palette this season filled with warmer colors such as chocolate, berry, caramel, mushroom and oatmeal. Darker woods are being paired with these along with nature inspired patterns. Earthenware jugs and smokey glassware have also been trending right now and fit well with this look. Finish it off with deep metallics to add some contrast.

Nailing the Transition When decorating for the holidays, most people think of decorating the rooms they spend the most time in, but oftentimes transition spaces are overlooked. If you have a large stair landing, especially if it is in the front entry of your house, you can easily decorate your staircase and create a small vignette on your landing. Think about adding LED flameless candles to the edge of your stairs to bring ambience to this space. Another way you can add a touch of décor is by decorating your furniture pieces. Add a small accent wreath or bow to the backs of your upholstered dining chairs, put a frosted evergreen swag on the top of your bookcase and add garland, florals and fairy lights to your floor mirror for a spectacular display.