5 Holiday Styling Tips for the Outdoors

Holiday Outdoor Decorating

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and when it comes to creating a cheerful holiday atmosphere, Calder Clark believes that “ambiance is everything.” With a celebrated career as South Carolina’s top event designer, we are more than inclined to agree with her! Beyond her stunning wedding ceremonies and special events, Clark is also a Charleston homeowner, residing in a two-story colonial with her family.

Exuding farmhouse charm, Clark’s home wasn’t always white-picket-perfection––it was once a fixer-upper sorely in need of her magic touch. Luckily, smart upgrades and styling hacks revived this traditional Carolina property just in time for holiday entertaining. Let’s take a closer look!

Outdoor Holiday Decorating Tips

Left: Wide painted stripes resemble custom outdoor carpet––without the padded price tag. Right: Simple additions like crimson cushions and vibrant green wreaths transformed this traditional front porch into a winter wonderland.

As every Southern hostess knows, outdoor living areas are extremely important for entertaining…especially the front porch. Planning strategically, Calder and her husband Chauncey focused their initial renovation efforts on the exterior spaces. Warm grey paint, distressed shutters, vintage-industrial lighting, and three-seat sofas provided a much-needed makeover. Clark also added stylish seasonal decor like evergreen wreaths, scarlet pillows, metal lanterns, and two tiny Christmas trees flanking the front entrance.

The backyard received a major renovation with a stunning new structure designed around a stucco fireplace and vaulted ceiling. A Summer Classics Croquet Teak Farm Table is centered on the bluestone and brick patio, while relaxed seating from the Rustic Collection rests peacefully under the pergola. A soaring Christmas tree, decorated with red ribbon and twinkling lights, is the centerpiece of this joyful holiday scene.

Outdoor Holiday Decorating Tips

Laid with crisp linens and tempting snacks, the Croquet Teak Farm Table can also serve as a convenient buffet.

Home for The Holidays: 5 Holiday Outdoor Styling Tips

With two weeks until Christmas, there’s still time to design the cheerful holiday home you’ve been dreaming of! Here are five simple styling tricks inspired by Calder Clark’s delightful holiday decor.

  1. Flex Your Evergreen Thumb. Who says garland and Christmas trees belong indoors? Add your favorite spruce, douglas fir, or pine to your outdoor living areas, as well. If you live in a colder climate, it’s best to keep delicate glass bulbs inside the house ––string adorable felt, plastic, or wooden ornaments instead.
  2. Merry & Bright Lighting. Create the perfect golden glow with strategic lighting choices. For a look that’s both festive and functional, you will need a magical mix of outdoor lighting styles. First, update existing lighting with energy efficient LED bulbs, and then focus on adding a soft, atmospheric glow with lanterns, string lights, and fire features. Or treat yourself to a sparkling new Gabby chandelier, perhaps?
  3. Holiday How-To. Personal touches make all the difference, and the holidays are a great opportunity to make simple home improvements! Get the whole family involved with fun outdoor DIY projects like hanging string lights, trimming the tree, or creating handmade ornaments. Keep the eggnog flowing while you work!
  4. Warmth in Wonderland. Stay comfortable with cozy piles of cold weather textiles. Layer extra throw pillows and warm blankets near seating areas, and make sure chilly toes stay warm with soft areas rugs. If you have an outdoor dining area, add a thick tablecloth and linen napkins. These simple additions are a great way to update your outdoor space on a budget.
  5. Keep it Classic. Certain styles are simply timeless. Select a classic color scheme like red/white, silver/gold, or blue/white, and you’ll enjoy your holiday decor (and holiday photographs) for years to come. Investing in outdoor furniture this holiday season? Choose quality materials and traditional frames that you will enjoy throughout the year. Calder Clark prefers the bestselling Summer Classics Rustic Collection.

Outdoor Holiday Decorating Tips

Home tour originally published by Southern Living. Photography by Laurey W. Glenn.