Text by Elizabeth Czapski
Pull out your paintbrushes—it’s time to get crafty for Christmas with paint and color expert Annie Sloan, creator of Chalk Paint. From big projects like painting walls, doors, and furniture to smaller, family-friendly crafts involving ornaments, wrapping paper, and Advent calendars, Annie presents ideas—and color palettes—for everyone. “There are a lot of beautiful and unusual color combinations that can be used to update your home for Christmas,” she says. “Unexpected use of color makes a bold, confident statement and is the perfect way to refresh tired schemes and wow party guests.”
A big believer in DIY décor, Annie touts the benefits of these embellishments as being budget-friendly, uniquely yours, and usually something you can do together with loved ones during this special time of gathering. Oftentimes, the “do” in DIY can be just as rewarding as enjoying the end result. “Making Christmas decorations has become a much-loved tradition and a part of the holidays that we look forward to in and of itself for me and my family,” Annie says. “Before and during the festive period, children, grandchildren, friends, and family alike are all invited to join me around the dining room table where I have a rotating list of crafting, painting, and decorating jobs in the run up to the big day. The process is half the fun and gets us all so excited.”
Keep reading for creative ideas to bring colorful, festive cheer to your cottage this Christmas, and check back in on December 16 for a second installment with Annie that will include last-minute trimmings, New Year’s displays, and tips for extending your embellishments into the 2023 winter season.
“Rich and luxurious, deep purple and navy blue make a dramatic pairing,” Annie says. Reflecting the plum-colored walls, packages and ornaments painted with abstract stripes in a pretty purple hue imbue a harmonious, layered look.
Make an Entrance
“Take inspiration from iconic architecture and historical homes with a trompe l’oeil painted door frame,” Annie says. No matter if you’re employing simple loose freehand or a trying more advanced technique using texture and shading, the lovely addition is sure to draw attention.
A Folk Christmas
Annie believes that every scrap of fabric or leftover tin of paint presents an opportunity for a decorative second act. “Whether you’re breathing new life into tired accessories or developing your sewing skills with handmade napkins and place mats, now is the time to let your creativity flow,” she says.
Earn Your Stripes
Why invest in expensive wallpaper when you can create your own unique look-alike with painted stripes? “Using contrasting colors will make a grand statement, whereas tonal colors are a more subtle, contemporary nod to the trend,” Annie says.
A Warm Welcome
Many welcome friends and family with a wreath or sweeping garland, but you can make a greater impression by pairing those trimmings with a freshly painted front door. “Be brave and go for bright yellow or rich green for a warm, inviting entrance,” Annie says. “It’s the first thing your guests will see, so why not make it bold and expressive.”
A Spectrum of Schemes
In addition to nontraditional Christmas color pairings, Annie says you can also experiment with various shades within the families of classic red and green. “Warm parchment tones combine beautifully with olive for a more elegant take on the festive palette,” she offers as an example.
“Rather than investing in new decorations every year, consider giving perfectly functional baubles a color update with a lick of Chalk Paint®,” Annie says. Enliven the fresh coat with gilding waxes and gold leaf for an impressive finish that sparkles all the more.
Stamped with Style
Not only will homemade wrapping paper infuse your gifts with a little extra love but it will also allow you to curate a display of picture-perfect packages that coordinate with the rest of your holiday décor. “Potato printing is eco-friendly, cost-effective, and a great way of using leftover paint,” Annie says. “You could print using a whole variety of found or household items. Try creating circles with paint lids, old thread spools, or sticky tape rolls. It’s a fun winter activity, and young hands will love to help.”
There’s no need to purchase a new Advent calendar each season when you can craft your own—and have fun creating and customizing it! “Make your own Advent calendar bunting using pockets of fabric and fill with thoughtful gifts from independent stores, homemade treats, and maybe a bit of chocolate, too,” Annie says.
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