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Put a Bow on It!

Written by Julianne Hilmes

Whether it's the big flourish on wrapped gifts, formal neckwear at a black-tie affair, or the last tug on shoelaces, the bow adds a final, polishing touch to just about everything. Consider then these simple, clever ideas for adding that last bit of Christmas cheer to your home—put a bow on it!

Ordinary dining chairs get a festive upgrade with the addition of greenery and a glass ball attached with a simple bow in the room's palette.

In this home, decorative urns adorn the mantels year-round, but they deserve to get a little dressed up come the holidays. Silk ribbon that coordinates with the magnolia leaf greenery gets tied around the smallest part of each urn for added festive flair.

Try layering your bows. A group of small ornaments are secured to a wreath with a small white bow. Directy above, a larger shimmering bow puts the finishing touch on the wreath as it cascades past the ornaments. 

Look up! Take a gander at the light fixtures around your home and you might find a chandelier or sconce perfectly suited for a bow. At left, ribbons stream down from a bow on the dining room chandelier to little gifts at each place setting. On the right, a simple striped bow with long ribbon tails balances the smaller holiday decorations in this bathroom. As these bows show, spreading cheer doesn't necessarily have to come in red and green.

An easy way to spread holiday cheer is to bring bows to the tabletop. Tie a bow around wine glasses or votives. Take a cue from the homeowner on the left and wrap a bow around a small plate then attach a gift tag to use as place cards. Alternatively, use a bow to secure napkins or to embellish a simple napkin ring (at right).

Throw pillows are an easy way to switch up the look of your seating for the season. Wrap ribbon around an exisiting solid pillow and tie like a package for a simple, DIY holiday pillow. Consider adding fresh or faux greenery or even ornamnets for extra splendor. Voilá!  

Sass up the spirit of your year-round decór with the addition of a holiday bow. In this home, a leather rhinoceros serves as a cheeky footstool 12 months out of the year, but enjoys the special touch of a tartan collar during the holidays. Consider a ribbon that hints at the season but still coordinates with your space. 

Tie a bow around yard ornaments, planters, or door knockers. Tie a big elaborate bow like the one on the statue at left, or try out a simple bow like the one on the deer at right. Embellish with any number of holiday goodies—cinnamon sticks, greenery, red berries, or ornaments.

Whether potted topiaries or flowers in a vase, let plants in on the fun by tying them with a simple festive bow. 

Of course, you can't forget about your favorite four-legged buddies! Add a little bow to your dog's or cat's collar to fluff them up for the special ocassion. (And try to grab a photo quickly before they wriggle out of it!)

Check out these other simple holiday decorating tips.