Heather McGrath, owner of Simpler Pleasures, says holiday decorating doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. Here, she offers some tips and ideas for stress-free entertaining.Styled by Heather McGrath | Photography by Betty Wiley | Text by Lisa Leigh Connors
“We help clients add value to things they already have,” says Heather McGrath, owner of Simpler Pleasures. While sitting in her Main Street shop, which she has owned for 32 years, McGrath points to red polka-dot fabric used to make a pillow with white pom-poms. The pillow could be repurposed other times of the year—in the summer, for instance, she says, just by changing the color scheme to red, white and blue. Around the holidays, place it on a white chair for a fresh and winter white look.
“Homeowners today have such big, modern spaces,” says McGrath. “They still want to make it personal, but they want it to be a little simpler.” McGrath says she helps her clients take their simple and practical summer house and add elements of color or holiday touches to make it feel more like Christmas. It also helps to identify the color story you want to tell early on and use items you might already have.
McGrath suggests adding slipcovers, throw pillows, table runners, placemats and napkins and tablecloths for a simple yet effective transformation. Even placing red and green apples in a silver bowl in a few different places can make it feel like a November or December setting.
You might even find inspiration in your own backyard. For a rustic theme, McGrath advises gathering pine cones and greens, or shells and other favorite elements from the outdoors. Another easy way to change up a room: take a lamp with a clear base (sold at Simpler Pleasures) that holds a variety of accessories. For instance, in the summer, place shells in the base of the lamp for a summery appearance; in the winter, change it up with cranberries, pine cones or colorful Christmas balls.
Sometimes the things you can’t see also make a difference. Add scents by steeping some tea with a hint of cinnamon on the stove or use a diffuser to spread aromas throughout your home. Let’s not forget music. Play a mix of holiday music from many different genres to set the tone and atmosphere. Most importantly, McGrath says, shop and decorate with local items. From ornaments and coasters to pillows and blankets, Cape Cod-inspired décor will make your holiday home more special and meaningful.