Photographer / Brian Brosmer Fashion stylist and blogger Susan Beckwith shares her top 10 tips for decorating your home with festive flair. 1. Invest in excellent artificial greenery. It truly is worth the money because it’ll last. Every year I try to add a few more high-quality pieces. This year I purchased some beautiful stems from The Linden Tree that I added to my garland and placed at the ends of my staircase. To preserve my greenery after the holidays, I wrap them individually in clear plastic dry cleaning bags. 2. Experiment with nontraditional colors. For example, I decorated the tree in my formal living with gorgeous teals, browns and gold. This palette was different and fresh, and the colors were a nice unexpected alternative to traditional red and green. I found several fabulous ornaments in these hues last year at Twigs in Fishers. 3. Transform a plain serving tray into a fun decorative piece that can be used year round by painting the center with chalkboard paint. Grab some chalk, write your heartfelt message and then display with an easel or use fabric to hang. 4. Make over those old boring chargers or purchase inexpensive ones at a local craft store and make them your own by simply spray painting or adding an embellishment such as fringe. 5. Get back to nature by using seasonal items like pine cones or evergreens. Since they’re free, obviously the price can’t be beat! If you want to take your pine cones from a rustic look to something glam, spray paint with Krylon Glitter Blast in either Golden Glow or Silver Flash. 6. Bite the bullet and purchase good ribbon with a wire. Why? It’s more pliable and easier to work with. I scored big time this year with some stunning ribbons from Surroundings in Indianapolis. 7. To really stand out, use non-traditional personal items for holiday decor. As a fashion lover, I dressed a small tree in my guest bath using my favorite gems and jewels. 8. Don’t forget the smells of the season. To create a deliciously inviting aroma, combine three cinnamon sticks, one cup of cranberries, one orange (sliced), two teaspoons of clove and nutmeg in a pot, fill water one inch from the top and then simmer on low. 9. Bring sounds of cheer with sleigh bells. Sleigh bells can be used in several ways from adorning your front door to distinct centerpieces. This year I used individual sleigh bells as place card holders and had Eva Marie Typography create some sweet custom place cards. In addition to the name on the front of the card, I had her include a fun question on the inside, such as “What’s your favorite Christmas memory?” to spark table topic conversation. 10. Wrap your gifts in style by adding unique touches. Monogrammed ornaments, bells, interesting bows or even brooches will set your packages apart. I loved the thought of using brooches so much I picked up a few for my packages this year at the Noblesville Antique Mall. Susan Beckwith is a fashion stylist who provides clients with assistance in developing and planning their personal wardrobe styles. After graduating with a B.A. in Communications from Huntington University, Susan won the title of Miss Indiana 2005. Upon the completion of her year of service, Susan earned a master’s degree from Ball State University in Family & Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Fashion. Her experience includes work as a fashion stylist, fashion journalist, emcee, featured speaker and vocalist. Be sure to visit her website and blog at belleofthemidwest.com.