Home is more than holiday decor

Mary Park, Scene Editor

Now that the turkey’s eaten (or stored in the fridge) and Plaid Friday shopping’s been done, you can find red and green Santa hats, candy canes, ribbons and strings of lights in just about any public and private space to rush in the festivity.

Decorating homes to make them feel homey and filled with holiday cheer doesn’t have to follow the caricature Christmas icons or the top Pinterest and Instagram trends.

Designers at Collective Interiors said they try to be budget friendly not only for holiday decoration, but also for other design projects by offering a wide range of products.

Collective Interiors is a local interior design studio in downtown Ellensburg with three independent firms sharing space in the same building.

The three designers pitched in their two cents on what it means to design and decorate living spaces for the holidays and beyond.

Stephanie Castillo, owner of Rumble Interiors, said she enjoys decorating her Christmas tree with ornaments that her mother gave her: 1970s painted ceramic Santas, snowmen, and “tons of unicorns.”

“To me, that feels homey, and it makes me nostalgic for when I was little,” Castillo said.

Renee Fyall, owner of D. Marie Interiors, said while she doesn’t do a lot of decorations, she had previously made her own decor with pieces of old barn wood that were stenciled with messages like “be merry” or “happy holidays.”

“I do a lot of stuff that’s natural so like pinecones and tree trimmings,” Fyall said. “I have these cool wreaths that I made, they’re just some simple metal rings and  I added greenery and simple ribbons.”

Sam Mikel of Nest Design Studio said decorating preferences can differ depending on the age group. In her experience with clients, Mikel has seen older generations stick more to tradition while younger and new generations blend in tradition with trends.

The majority of 50s and over who favor the traditional; the 30 somethings and mid 40s who have some old school in them but are open to more contemporary designs, and the 20s, who are “very open … take more chances, [and are] more radical.”

Regarding interior design, Mikel said having a nicely decorated and functional home is not just about having pretty things but also having a sanctuary.

“You’re a happier person [because of your home]. Therefore, it trickles down to you’re happy at work [and] in public,” Mikel said. “If you’re not happy at home, it affects all aspects of your life. So I think it’s crucial to have a space where you can go and be yourself and be comfortable.”

Castillo added that if students don’t have an atmosphere that is conducive to studying in their rooms, it can be hard to focus. Ideally, you should have a nicely set up desk, a comfortable chair, something that motivates you and a drink next to you, she said.

“There’s so much about a home, that if you feel safe and good and comfortable and relaxed in that atmosphere, then you can recharge yourself when you have to go out into the world and come back,” Castillo said.

Mikel talked about how the plethora of images and inspirations on social media can overload people.

“Pinterest and Houzz and Instagram, they’re all wonderful,” Mikel said. “But in my opinion –and I’m on them, I use it–but they can be like a blackhole, where they confuse people more and erase time and energy and money if they’re not used properly.”

Mikel added she prefers to have clients focus on their lifestyle, their home and the way they live, to make design projects achievable.

“Because anything looks good online, but that doesn’t mean it’s for you or your lifestyle,” Mikel said.

Castillo, known at the studio as “queen of social media,” said she enjoys surfing through Pinterest and Instagram.

“I get so many different ideas and I think people are so creative and when they post all these different things, it gives me inspiration so I kind of thrive on seeing all that,” Castillo said.

Castillo also asks her clients to make Pinterest boards on what they like and not like and will use them to guide her work.

“I do think it can get overwhelming, I can’t do everything that’s out there. You can only pick so much stuff, you can pick a little piece from it and everything,” Castillo said.

Fyall said she also gets a lot of inspiration from Instagram and partners with other interior designers and share images with each other on the platform.

Fyall, who receives a lot of referrals for kitchen and bathroom work, said when working with clients, the most important thing is the functionality of the space.

“Because people can always make things look pretty,” Fyall said. “But do your cabinets function for your style of cooking or to the number of people in the kitchen … I really want to make sure that there is a place for everything … that they don’t have to dig to the back of the cabinet.”

Castillo said Collective Interiors is a place where anyone can walk in and look around and gain inspiration.