Living Room Christmas Decor; Animals and Natural Elements

You might wonder why my banner changed from butterflies and flowers to a zebra and a little deer.

Down at the farm these little guys live and are an attraction at Christmas time for the kids. In fact, the deer are a huge draw. Next post I will show the animals.

In my own decorating, I use a lot of zebra, and at Christmas, a lot of deer. Here they browse the backyard, but notice the boxwood, safe and sound. LOL. One thing to notice in this image is how the boxwood and arbs form the structure of the garden, giving it presence and interest in winter, but I digress. Another post on that one.

Wish I had the real thing…NOT.

So having zebra and deer on the brain, it was not a huge jump to the banner. I also painted the zebra in my living room.

The Christmas decor this year really does not coordinate with my living room decor, which is much more refined and a little more earthy, elegant.

Have you had enough zebra and deer yet? I do have more…

The images above are the living room decor. Both trees are pre-lit artificial and are decorated with ornaments made from bark, feathers and pine cones. The mantle is three artificial wreaths all nested inside one another.  Draping the mantle are natural greens of pine and Canaan Fir (from my real tree in the dining room). Birds, ducks and bird nests are throughout.

The real Cockatoo is upstairs.  He is not part of my living room decor. He has his own room for sleeping. This is Cream Cheez, my pet for the last twenty-six years.

His name should have been Scream Cheez, because as I am typing, he is letting me know I should be letting him out of his cage.

Noisy little bugger.

The mantle display will be good for a couple of weeks if I keep the fireplace cold. I can always replace or add fresh greens. I have had it up for a week now and these images were taken today. The pine is still fresh and green. The sap has sealed off the ends and kept the water retained. It helped too that I had them outside before bringing in. They were in the garage for a week and a half.

I have many Santas, but only the more natural looking Santas have made an appearance this year. The one below is handmade and painted from a gourd by a local artist. After all, what is Christmas without Santa?

One thing to notice is my tree placement. The trees are all narrow and fit the space allotted very nicely. My living room is only eleven feet wide and has two large windows, a double french door to the hall, a large archway to the dining room and two single French doors to my office. I have kept circulation open and sensible. Always a first thought for an architect. In addition, I float the furniture, maximizing my design and visual interest in the space. You will see the space planning when I show the dining room Christmas decor.

The trees are festooned with poinsettia, berries and pine cones. I am not a huge fan of red, but there is a bit of red in my oriental carpet.  This was not what the decor was to be this year, it just happened by accident somewhat. I had planned all along to do a natural theme with a real tabletop Spruce. Then I went to a charity event that had us drop tickets in baskets to win various floral arrangements. And I won…

a little bark covered Gilbert replica. It is made with red poinsettia and red Amaryllis. So red it became. The ironic part is that I was planning to use ornaments I collected last year made from bark.

This deer head mount is made of birch bark. The ornaments below are ‘sugared’.

I only had enough for the tabletop sized tree, but since poinsettia was never part of the mix, and having them from last year’s tree, I decided not to fight my newly won arrangement. I will show the trees from last year soon. They are somewhat different with butterflies instead of animals.

These deer ornaments are made of paper, but resemble bark. The bark ducks are not tree ornaments, but I have used them as such.

So, contrary to my very organized and planned nature, I just sort of winged it to develop a design. It is like when I go to a client’s home and am required to use their ornaments rather than starting from scratch.

I was my own client. No time to plan, no budget to buy, so just design from the cuff with only one item as my starting point.

I used the poinsettia balls and red glass balls from last year. I left out the glitter and kept the berries. But what I did to really change it up from last year was make a skirt of poinsettia and burlap. Again, not planned, just decided it fit the tree and coordinated well with my rustic ornaments.

I probably should have staged this image of the burlap to show it at its best. The cats seem to like it and have made it a nesting area.  But the trick here is, the burlap is ‘stuffed’ with newspaper to add plumpness and form. Had the cats not messed up my very nicely stuffed burlap, the image would have been better. They have also made pulling off the poinsettia a sport.

Note to self, next year make decorations cat proof. The real tree is also getting ravaged, see it below at the end of this post. The sneaky felines are batting down the curly willow and find the crunchy hydrangea too hard to ignore.

I hope you liked my impromptu design as it is very much different from last year’s white and gold theme room.

Here is a photo of the dining room tree, unlighted, that was requested by Carol in a comment on my previous post, My Tree al Naturale.  I am not a good photographer like Carol, so please excuse the images. I did not use the flash and I did use a tripod, so two brownie points for me, the impatient photographer.

The soffit above has down lights that were installed just for my two artificial Christmas trees and I did have them on at the time of shooting today. Still daylight from the window is quite distracting. I could have fixed this in Photoshop, my photography crutch application.

The mums still have a lot of color. I thought they would fade since they were not completely dried. I still have decorating on this tree to go because I have not yet pulled the room together yet. Once I do the centerpiece and the buffet, I will post the completed space. What I started with the tree will guide my design throughout the space.

I took another photo of the tree tonight. I guess this is a better time to shoot it with its lights off. Well, stop back and I will have the dining room complete.

But by then, I may be down by two cats!


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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32 Responses to Living Room Christmas Decor; Animals and Natural Elements

  1. TufaGirl says:

    Wow. All that creativity. Outdoors and indoors. You are a girl for all seasons!

  2. lifeshighway says:

    OK, just come down here and design something for me. You have so much talent. I just want a little.

  3. Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing this — it is truly lovely. I can only aspire…

  4. Your decorations are beautiful, but the mantle wreaths display is magnificent!

  5. I LOVE the idea of the poinsettias circling the bottom of the tree and the burlap skirt!! Very rustic. Love the look with the bark and other natural elements. And the tree with the hydrangeas and mums is just gorgeous!! Oh, oh…and the mantle! VERY COOL! I would love to try that. Maybe someday I’ll decorate for Christmas again — if we ever stay home. I’ll just decorate vicariously through you, Donna 🙂 Thanks for sharing all of your creativity with us!

  6. My sister led me to your blog and I am so glad she did. I will now be a faithful follower of your beautiful blog. Love the Christmas decor. I am an animal lover to the core. I have two airedale terriers, one cat, three parrots and nineteen chickens. I love your bird Cream Cheez. What a cute name. My birds have their own room and call out to me throughout the day demanding my attention. I have two blogs, one about my life with my parrots and my business making bird toys and the other one about the rest of my life. I will be updating my posts more regularly now that my treatments for breast cancer have slowed down. You are a talented artist and look forward to more of your artistic and creative life.

    • Thank you so much Michelle for dropping in to GWGT. You have many more ‘pets’ than I, but at one time I had a turtle, two guinea pigs, two dogs, two horses, and two rabbits. As they passed, I did not replace them. Bird toys? I will make sure to drop in to see them. You having parrots, I am sure they are parrot proof. Cream Cheez is a destroyer and I give him paper towel tubes. He loves to demolish them.

  7. tina says:

    Your home is so beautiful and I really enjoyed a peek at the living room; which to me seems most warm and inviting. What an outstanding job on the zebra! You are most talented. And here’s to Cream Cheez. What a long happy life he must have with you! 26 years is a very long time!

    • Thank you so much Tina. I like zebras for their color and pattern. The pattern makes such a statement in the room. But in case anyone was wondering, I do not have any hides. No formally live creatures on my floors.

  8. Cat says:

    I second Toni – love the burlap idea and the poinsettias around the base of the tree…I use white poinsettias on my tree, placed randomly. I’m hoping I have enough to try your idea of anchoring them around the bottom – that is a really good idea!

    Your backyard looks so festive with the snow covered reindeer…very charming!

    • The poinsettias make a nice base to the tree. I just took all I had and went around with them. The cats are having a ball with them though. They pull them right off the plastic stems and carry them all over the house. They did not bother any tree last year. I guess these are more inviting to them.

      • Cat says:

        We had a cat that lived 21 years…I still miss her terribly although she has been gone for several years now. She used to enjoy the Christmas tree now and then too! I guess they break the monotony and bring the outdoors in for them…

  9. Andrea says:

    You are very talented, and very diligent. Decorating that big house needs lots of time. The trees are so tall and elegant. But i specifically love the zebra painting, the best in elegance!

    • Thank you so much Andrea. My house is not that big by American standards. It is 1400 square feet. But it still is a lot to decorate, and I have fun doing it. Thanks on the painting. I found a photograph on the internet and used it as an idea. Many do not know that it is two zebras face to face.

  10. p3chandan says:

    Such a beautiful room with those 2 Christmas trees, elegant and classic!

  11. I like the Christmas header on your blog. You really go all out for Christmas. I tend to see it as a lot of work in front of me—with partial dread. I will try to throw myself into it more after reading your posts. And you draw and paint very well too! I like the snow. Carolyn

    • The header is one I was going to use on the Erway website, but they like the one I designed with a little deer looking up at a lighted tree. Decorating is a chore at this time year, packing up things that sit out all year to make room.

  12. Garden Sense says:

    Amazing decorating! The 3 nested wreaths, the pointsettia and burlap skirt for your trees are great! But my favorite is the dining room tree with hydrangeas – love those subtle colors. Although our house is full of Christmas spirit, the decorations are tried and true. My focus is on my collection of unigue nativity scenes, which are very special to me. Chris

    • My nested wreaths just came about. One just looked skimpy and I was going to enhance it with wired on natural greens, but it was too early to do that or they would be dropping needles by Christmas. So I put a small artificial one inside a big one and it worked great, wired it together, then added the berry wreath. Pine cones and hickory made up the natural elements.

  13. Connie says:

    Folks who are not owned by cats cannot fathom the effort we (who ARE owned by cats) go through to keep our Christmas decorations intact throughout the season. At our house, with the new kittens, I am planning a very plastic Christmas. Fortunately, ‘shatter-proof’ decorations are all the rage in the stores, and I scored some lovely ones at Home Depot last week. Your decorations are stunning!! Dried hydrangeas are like cat bait … what were you thinking? I thought we were supposed to use tree skirts so the cats have a place to sleep and pose for pictures?

    • I am not a cat person, but they came and adopted me. One I have had for eighteen years. She is old, but does not look or act it yet. She sleeps a lot, but otherwise is healthy.

      They have cause so much damage, and the newest one, Frosty, came into my office last year while I was working. I thinking, how cute, he comes up to my computer tower on the floor, turns his little butt around and sprays right into the fan. I was working on an architectural project in CAD and I quickly saved it before the end came. It was like he knew what he was doing. That was the end of a very expensive machine. I still have Frosty by the way. That says a lot for what an animal lover I am.

  14. debsgarden says:

    Your wreaths and trees are fabulous! I really like all of your woodland ornaments, especially the bark duck. I’m an animal lover, but I think I would have relocated Frosty to the outdoors!

    • Outdoors is where he was in the first place for over a year. He befriended my Akita, which was quite daring on his part, and would follow right along side us on our dog walks. When winter came, he was outside the back door with frozen ice stuck to his fur, screaming so loud and long, I had to let him in. That is how he got the name Frosty. Maybe he got his last owner’s computer too. 😀

  15. Karen says:

    Donna, another fantastic post. The three wreathes hung together are such a wonderful idea, everything is so beautiful. You truly have an artist’s touch. Your clients are so lucky to have you. I could go on and on, the paintings, the trees trimmed so perfectly….ah…it’s truly Christmas at your house!

  16. Bom says:

    I love the classic look of your Christmas decor. We’ve always used red and gold decor with our artificial tree which always seemed perfect in our last two homes so I feel a very good vibe from your photos. We tried using a live, potted tree this year. So hard to decorate with all the uneven spacing. I wish you lived nearby so that I could avail of your professional services and great talent.

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