Tour the designer and Target Home Style Expert’s holiday living room, and find out her top tips for great holiday decorations.

Emily Henderson Christmas Hacks
Sara Ligorria-Tramp

We’re always looking for smarter ways to decorate, especially for the holidays. Who better to ask than a designer? L.A.-based interior designer and Target Home Style Expert Emily Henderson just finished decorating her home for the holidays, and not only shared photos of her home with us but also clued us in on her tips for better holiday decor this season. Plus, we’ve sourced some of her home decor so you can shop it for yourself.

We only recommend things we love. If you buy something through our site, we might earn a commission.

Pick Your Palette

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

“My number one hack will always and forever be a decided color palette,” says Henderson. “Nothing will make your decor feel more put together than that. Choose three to four colors—make sure a couple of those are neutral—and you are set. This year I went classic with red and white with hints of blue and black.”

In her living room, each of these colors is easy to spy—along with green, but Henderson only brought that in through living greenery.

Personalize the Tree

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Her next hack is all about the center of the show: your Christmas tree. “I have come to realize that your tree should be personal. I know I’m late to the game on this front,” says Henderson. “But use your tree as a scrapbook of your family’s year. Find ornaments that correspond to the things you did and the places you visited. It honestly has been the biggest game-changer this year and makes the tree that much more beautiful in our eyes.”

Need ideas? If your family loves a road trip, try a cute vintage car ornament.

Car Christmas Ornament, $3

Find the Right Balance

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Henderson also shares her tips for bringing in kitschy decor while still keeping it cool. “Christmas and kitschy decor tend to go hand in hand. While I don’t think you should throw out everything kitschy, I do think you should mix in modern decor pieces too. This will help make you homey still feel homey but still cool,” she says.

A cool-yet-kitsch twist? White ceramic versions of classic Christmas decor, like these ceramic decorative trees.

Choose Your Moments

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

“I know it’s tempting to drip every single inch of your home in holiday cheer, but it can feel too much fast. This year, aside from our tree and some throw pillows, I did a little ‘holiday moment’ in each corner. It feels festive instead of holiday overload,” says Henderson.

This vignette gets a holiday upgrade with a garland frame over the console table and a mini ceramic holiday village on top of it. 

Ceramic Village, $30

Go for Cozy

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

“I think the ‘cozy factor’ of a space is extremely important for the holidays,” says Henderson. “So throw down extra throw blankets, add pillows—I’m not averse to the ‘Christmas pillow’—and never forget a good ol’ sheepskin rug to add on top of your main rug.”

Balance out the cozy vibes by brightening up a corner with a mini, pre-lit Christmas tree.

Pre-Lit Artificial Christmas Tree Potted Balsam, $75

Layer On Seasonal Textures

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

“Target has a ton of really great options that I love and use year after year,” says Henderson. “The faux fur blanket on one of my side chairs is the softest thing ever and their seasonal pillows are happy without being too heavy-handed. Doing all of this creates an inviting space that your family will want to be in all month long.”

Read the Current Issue Here!

Get one year of Sunset—and all kinds of bonuses—for just $24.95. Subscribe now!