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There are few things that excite us more than decking our homes for the holidays. But for those who lack the square footage, the task itself can be a daunting one. Having to compromise on one staple or another is a given, but that shouldn’t entail a sacrifice on the integrity of the holiday spirit altogether.

With this in mind, we tapped interior design extraordinaire Emily Henderson for some sage advice on the dos and don’ts of decorating with the season in mind. From genius small-space solutions to tips for embracing the latest trends, we got the lowdown on making the most of what the holidays have to offer.

Ahead is everything you need to know for turning your space into the ultimate winter wonderland.

Set the mood

“Begin by asking yourself solely how you want it to feel,” says Henderson of how she approaches her holiday decor plan each year. “I have two kids, so I want it to feel fun and not too serious, grownup, or fancy.”

Establishing a mood will dictate the color palette of your scheme—an especially important detail for those who feel inclined to skew from the standard red and green. Once you have that settled, you can incorporate a variety of textures and materials for added interest.

Keep your palette reserved.

Offset a restrained color scheme by mixing and matching decorative styles. Blend pieces of a modern farmhouse vibe with vintage finds for a dynamic finish or bring in vibrant pops of color to balance out a strictly contemporary look.

Henderson suggests leveling out the playfulness of a whimsical aesthetic by embracing it with a sophisticated palette of whites, grays, and blues or black and gold.

With a consistent palette, you avoid the overly chaotic finish that can potentially arise from having too many colors clustered within a tight frame.

For those who skew totally minimalist, Henderson suggests a radically pared-back approach: “Get a green tree with white lights, and I don’t think that’s something you would get sick of,” she says.

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Keep it simple.

This one rings especially true for small-space dwellers. It’s easy to get caught up in the festive spirit and fill your home with an eclectic array of holiday finds, but you won’t be doing yourself any favors in this vein.

“Get a cluster of three small trees and put tiny white ornaments or just hang lights on them,” notes Henderson. “That’s a really good way to make your bedroom feel special for the holidays without adding any chaos or busyness.”

Think long term.

Don’t feel compelled to buy holiday-centric pieces with clear-cut themes. Opt for seasonally appropriate decor finds that can live far beyond December.

“If you want three or four months out of something, stick to textiles such as furs, cable knits, and just general winter motifs.” They’ll evoke the spirit of the season all the while maintaining a thematically versatile finish.

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Update the classics.

Incorporate trendy elements within the nostalgic staples to keep your holiday decor feeling fresh and current. Think neutral stockings with subtle pops of color or garlands reimagined with a vibrant pom-pom detail.

“Have as much fun as you want to. As long you have the essentials—a tree, wreath, and even presents—it’s going to look festive regardless of your palette or style.”