Christmas Decorating, North Woods-Style | Midwest Living

Christmas Decorating, North Woods-Style

Create an old-fashioned Christmas with stylish North Woods touches.

Transforming a ranch house

When young homeowners bought a 1940s ranch house in a Minneapolis suburb, they decided the prior owners' all-white modern decor did not complement the living room's knotty pine walls and beamed, vaulted ceiling. So the house got a redo with paint, flooring and furnishings. Family heirlooms and collectibles create an elegant version of North Woods lodge decor. For the holidays, pinecones and magnolia sprigs tucked between the branches of a Christmas tree create a lush, full look.

Natural attraction

Birds' nests, fresh bay leaves, loose pinecones, acorns and glass fruits grace the nature-themed tree. 

More tips for a natural look

Buy roses from a grocery store. Cut the stems short and bunch together for old-fashioned charm. 

Accent arrangements with pinecones, redtwig dogwood, cattails, pussy willows, twigs and pheasant feathers. Gather items from your yard, or buy them at a crafts supply store.

Start paperwhites early so they bloom in time for the holidays. Display in pots or outdoor urns.

Easy but elegant decor

The homeowner likes to go antiquing, scouring resale and antiques shops throughout the upper Midwest, gathering old paintings and prints, vintage silver pieces and picture frames, and brown and red transferware (dishes with intricate scenes printed from engravings). Pieces from her collection of silver and china create a layered tableau above the family room hearth. Rosemary trees and a bouquet of pheasant feathers fill vintage ice buckets and a silver trophy cup for easy, but elegant, decor.

Unexpected contrasts

When the holiday season arrives, collections of vintage items provide unexpected contrasts, with vintage bird china sitting on slightly tarnished silver chargers.

Old-fashioned warmth

Golden candles add old-fashioned warmth to the holiday tabletop. An antique corner cabinet holds collectible silver in the dining room.


Old-style comfort

Vintage horse prints, a bronze dog lamp and an antique sideboard are on display in the foyer.

A welcome sight

Family photos from holidays past create a welcoming vignette along an entryway mirror. A silver bowl cradles a collection of natural materials, including vintage antlers.

Wonderful scents

In the timber-frame screen porch, urns are laden with narrow cattails, twigs, fresh greens and tiny white lights. Throughout the house, fresh greenery creates a sweet-smelling forest.

Kitchen accents

Concrete corbels support a custom faux-painted range hood, while greenery adds a festive accent.

Collection of treasures

A lamb nestles on a living room side table beside vintage frames holding recent family photos printed in sepia tones.

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