White House Christmas Decorating Tips

Get holiday decorating tips from former White House chief floral designer, Laura Dowling.

Photo By: Lawrence Jackson

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Fireplace Mantel Design

Christmas is one of the most celebrated events at The White House. Laura Dowling was the chief floral designer for six years, and together with a group of volunteers, she created holiday magic. In 2010, she decorated the Diplomatic Reception Room mantel with a citrus-inspired scheme. To get a similar look in your home, use a base layer of evergreen garland. Next, add clusters of fruit and colored ornaments in and around the garland using three colors of wide satin ribbon to create swags and bold impact. Finally, tuck in small gift-wrapped presents in coordinating colors.

A Modern Take on Traditional Design

Each year, the Red Room sparkled with elaborate and festive holiday decorations, including the traditional cranberry element that has been a fixture since 1975. "Over the years, I created different versions of the cranberry tree, including a transparent sphere made of wood and pine, flower vessels made of sugar paste flowers and berries, and other unique designs," Laura said.

Cranberry Vase

In the Red Room, a vase made of faux cranberries and pepper berries creates a striking focal point design, filled with a bountiful seasonal display of hydrangea, roses and lilies in deep red and burgundy tones. Follow these simple instructions to get the look.

Floral Candelabra

The soft incandescent light of candles at Christmas time is an integral part of holiday decor. Here, a large arrangement of white winter flowers and greenery, presented in a magnolia leaf-covered vase, is transformed into a candelabra with coordinating candles. Follow these simple instructions to get the look.

Citrus Wreath

"At the White House, my holiday wreath designs always encompassed a broad range of natural materials and unusual combinations inspired by trips to the farmers’ market and grocery store," Laura said. Keep reading for unconventional wreath ideas, and follow these simple instructions to make them.

Golden Apple Wreath

Plum Wreath

Purple Potato Wreath

Pepper Wreath

Potato and Onion Wreath

Potato and Rose Wreath

Turnip and Cabbage Wreath

Tangerine and Pepper Wreath

Chili Pepper Wreath

Orange and Orchid Wreath

Grape Tomato Wreath

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