'Tis the season for entertaining, so let your home shine! Welcome guests and celebrate the holidays with a bounty of simply chic decorating tips courtesy of Samantha Pynn. We spoke with the host of HGTV's Pure Design (she's also a contributing editor at 'Style At Home' magazine) to get the lowdown on Holiday 2009's hot trends and how they can work their festive magic in your home this winter – no matter what your budget.


HOT TREND #1: Nature

Stylish homes will benefit from a heady dose of natural inspiration this winter, just as in seasons past. "We're still going to see lots of natural and rustic elements," says Pynn.

So bring your best neutral-toned linen tablecloth out of storage. And head to the forest to collect pinecones. Good floral boutiques will carry assorted branches, including those heavy with winter berries. (Or if you're lucky, you may already have these in your backyard.) Use these natural elements to decorate the holiday table.

"Large white bowls of one type of fruit, like pears, clementines or pomegranates," also make pretty – and edible – table ornaments, says Pynn.

HOT TREND #2: Complementary hues (Turn down the glitz!)

When introducing accents to social areas like the living room, look for complementary hues, says Pynn. High-contrast, in-your-face holiday decorating isn't on-trend this year.

"Work with your décor," suggests Pynn. "If the palette in your home is soft, your decorations should be soft in colour. If you have hits of orange in your living room, play up shades of orange, rust and pumpkin. But don't go overboard."

HOT TREND #3: Candles

Nothing creates a warm and welcoming mood like candlelight. Dress up a coffee table, sofa table or dining table with a tray of pillar candles, suggests Pynn. For rustic charm, "nestle in some chestnuts and pine cones." Never leave candles unattended, though.

If you don't want to go the tray route, opt for 10 or 12 candles placed around the room on their own individual pedestals, advises Pynn.

Scented votives are fine in the bathroom or entranceway, but dining room candles should be unscented so they don't compete with food aromas.

HOT TREND #4: Tiny baby trees

Want a fast-and-easy holiday decoration that will add an eco-luxe touch to your home? "Group three to five mini evergreens on an entry console, or along a fireplace mantel. You can even put one in the bathroom," says Pynn. "Ditch the plastic and cellophane they're sold with and repot them into terracotta or white-ceramic pots. IKEA has great ones for about $2 each," says Pynn.

Make extras and you have an easy grab-and-go hostess gift.

HOT TREND #5: The simplest wreath

Leave your glue gun in the utility drawer. This year's most stylish wreaths are minimalist – after all, who can improve on nature?

Buy a fresh mixed-evergreen wreath. Look for a combination of pine, balsam, fir, cedar, juniper or other evergreens, so you get a mix of green hues and needle types. Mini pinecones and juniper berries are also a possibility. Hang it from your front door with a four-inch-wide satin or taffeta ribbon. "No need to tie a bow and no need to embellish!" says Pynn.