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Real Estate

Decorate your digs for the holidays

Interior designer Betsy Helmuth gets started on her

Interior designer Betsy Helmuth gets started on her holiday crafting. Photo Credit: Betsy Helmuth

Decorating for the holidays is a great way to remind ourselves that they aren't just about spending money on gifts and arguing over turkey prices.

It also helps us cope with the impending snowy weather.

"The cold, winter season is more somber and can be dreary," noted Betsy Helmuth, owner of the Manhattan-based company Affordable Interior Design. "Decorating for the holidays helps my clients to embrace and celebrate this otherwise gloomy time of year."

If you don't have a ton of time and money to spend making your living room resemble Rockefeller Center, a quick and easy tip from Helmuth is to cover your coffee table books with wrapping paper and stack them like gifts.

"If you're feeling extra festive, top each book with a bow," she said.

For a change of pace, NYC-based interior designer Polina Gorokhovskaya, who owns Polina Studio Inc., said she likes to decorate with sunflowers for Thanksgiving.

"It is simple and I like the yellow color," she said. "I cut them short and use a small vase."

In December, she uses spare pine branches -- which Christmas tree vendors will sometimes give away for free -- and puts them in a vase with a ribbon and ornaments or just plain.

"The aroma fills the room and you can have it as big or as small as your apartment allows you," Gorokhovskaya said. Use metallic vases in gold or silver ($8-$55 at West Elm) for a multicultural holiday shimmer, she added.

If you're entertaining, don't shy away from your small space, advised Justin DiPiero, a designer with the NYC-based interior design company Homepolish. DiPiero, who now lives in Williamsburg, had to get creative last winter while hosting a holiday/housewarming party in a studio apartment he lived in at the time.

"Instead of buying expensive tablecloth decor, I had pineapples and I spray painted them gold and I used them as decor for the party," he recalled. "If you get edible paints and the fruit is still good, you can use them as a party trick."

Another tip is to make use of every surface in your home. For example, use your dresser as a buffet or bar area, he suggested, and light your space with tea light candles ($2.99 for 30 at Ikea).

"Use everything you have," DiPiero said.

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