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Two Cures for the Post Holiday Blues (Hint: It’s Not What you Think)

Twelve years ago, back when I first started writing this blog, I realized why so many people are sad when their Christmas lights come down. I wrote a post about it here.

Do you miss your Christmas lights when they come down?

What’s missing in your home, if you’re feeling the post holiday blues is ATMOSPHERE.

Because that’s what you’ve just removed with all the holiday lights and accessories you’ve just packed away until next year.

Last year in December, I posted one of my first reels and it was about Christmas lights vs. lamps, I reposted it the other day and received some comments I’m sharing with you below.

I’m holding a plant in the image further down, because when I shot that video last year in early December, I had seen so many videos where people had filled their apartment with plants. And it looked wonderful. But you know what was still sorely missing? 


They still didn’t have any lamps. And, if decorating is not your talent, plants do add a lot of atmosphere.

Read more: The Enchanting World of Atmosphere

A plant filled restaurant I saw in November WITH fabulous lighting | West Palm Beach

More plants and overhead lighting is NOT the answer

But here’s the thing, keeping your Christmas lights up well into January or adding more plants, will still not give you the atmosphere that is so sadly missing with strictly overhead lights.

And so many people assume the answer to a dark room with no overhead lights is. . . you guessed it, call the electrician to add them.


If you are building a new house or renovating, cheese lights (as my sister affectionally coined them) will NOT give you the atmosphere you’re looking for.

 You can watch it here

Here are a few comments I received on this video:

Watched this video yesterday, just went out and bought my first lamp. Wow. It’s life and mood changing!!

Maria, I have more lamps because of these posts!

As a new follower, I read an old post you wrote about lamps a month ago. I immediately installed 2 lamps in my kitchen/great room. My husband who never really cares or comments on decor (except for comfortable seating) immediately said “I really like the lamp in the kitchen” Shortly after, several other guests commented how they liked it too. Like you suggested, I turn them on first thing when I wake up and leave them on all day. Thank you! Such a simple thing made a big difference in our home! Love it!

Thought of you yesterday as we arrived to our NYC Airbnb. I immediately went out and bought a cheap lamp. There was NO lamps in the living area!! Nothing but bright bulbs overhead!

Have lamps, will travel

If you’ve followed me for a while on my Instagram stories , you’ll know if I am driving to an Airbnb, I ALWAYS bring lamps. I used to bring two, now I’ve upped it to three if there’s room in my trunk along with luggage! See those posts here and here.

If you missed it, I talked about the 5  lamps everyone should have in this post. 

Tablescapes or Vignettes: a must have after the holiday decor has been removed

Styling by Maria Killam

Here’s the good news! January is the perfect time of year to practice styling!

Since you don’t need to be a decorator to fill your house with holiday decor, therefore, making it feel warm, sparkly and festive during the holidays, you might not realize that you’re also missing some updated accessories AND books, to create some vignettes! And when you are reworking your room–after the tree comes down–this is the perfect time to rethink and refresh your room.

And yes, we’re back to lamps here for a moment. If you have a dresser or an end table or a sofa table, the first decor item it needs is a lamp, the end. In addition to an assemblage of books, candles and flowers, just to start.

Recently, I was listening to podcast where a decorator made this statement “Coffee table books get eaten up so fast when styling a home”.

And that is a fact.

Books are a good pedestal for all kinds of random objects, turning them from tchotchkes into interesting home decor items in seconds.

Read more: How to Style a Vignette in 5 Easy Steps

Styled by Maria Killam

And you don’t need to spend a lot of money, there are plenty of coffee table books to be found in used bookstores.  

In fact, since the best vignette includes books with your decorating colours, you can purchase books by colour here:

Read more: Style your Home like the Pros by Using the Triangle Principle


You don’t need to display or keep every accessory you’ve ever owned

And if you’re sitting here thinking “I have too many accessories right now and they’re not doing anything for me!” let me remind you of this story:

Years ago I arrived in a clients home who assured me that she had plenty of accessories. She was convinced, she just needed help styling them.

What she had was a range of one-off candleholders and gifts from friends and some dated frames and accessories from 15 years ago when she first moved into her current home. She needed to edit most of them out and add in more current pieces that told a story and had a coherent colour palette. 

Because styling is not about arranging the random clutter you have scattered about. It’a about creating eye pleasing combinations of things that create interest and, you guessed it, atmosphere.

Read more: Are my Accessories Dated?

Out with the old, in with a few new accessories, lamps and coffee table books!

So first, take all the clutter out of your room. Then get a lamp, a vase with flowers and some coffee table books in the right colours. And you’ll be on your way.

This seller on Etsy is selling stacks of reasonably priced books in whichever decor colour you choose:


As a stylist, with an accessory room (just off my garage) filled to the brim with shelves of random home decor objects that regularly get switched in and out of my home, I confess I will never be a minimalist. 

So there you have it, when your holiday decor gets packed away, your empty tables need vignettes and lamps to fill you with happiness when you walk in the door.

And if it’s time to lighten and brighten your home with paint, I can help you with that, see all my edesign paint packages here.

If you’re shopping for anything online and the colour needs to be accurate, learn how to shop like a decorator with my Shop Online with Colour Confidence here.

Related posts:

How to Choose the Perfect Lampshade

5 Simple Ways to make your Airbnb Look Better

Holiday Mood Lighting Lessons from Twilight

22 pins


  • Shari Bernhardt says:

    Do you have any information on the round side table ?

  • Kay says:

    I have lots of lamps—have always preferred them to overhead lighting—but this post inspired me to look around my living room. Sure enough, I need one more. By the way, I include sconces in the lamp count, and instead of a lamp in the kitchen, have four small blue pendants, about 100 years old, with Edison bulbs, hanging at staggered heights over the kitchen sink. They are the first lights on and the last off.

  • M says:

    Hi Maria, Happy holidays to you and yours and wishing you the best of everything in the new year! Y2020 and 2021 were both dumpster fires and I’m looking forward to 2022. It’s got to be better! 🙂

    Your Christmas tree and holiday decorations were perfection, as usual , and I enjoyed revisiting posts showing your decorations from Christmases past.

    Regarding this post, love the lamp on your brass and glass table shown! Can you please give me a source for that?

  • CD says:

    For me the truth about lamps is they are inconvenient. I have lamps and I never turn them on. I agree it is more atmosphere. But I’ve got more to do than go around turning on and off lamps. The truth is it is an annoyance. If the idea isn’t really functional then it won’t work. That’s just the truth of it.

    • Karen says:

      Alexa, Google Home or Apple to turn on the lights with a voice command! Or from your phone on an app–you can make combinations: living room, dining, family, primary room etc. 🙂

  • Sherri says:

    I have started using Kasa smart plugs to turn on my lamps just before dark and turn them off just past my usual bedtime. It’s not the same as having Alexa, but it does use an app on your phone to program a schedule or to just turn them off and on. I love these things! And I love lamps!

  • Bette says:

    I recently stayed in a beautifully modern hotel, but found myself thinking of you when I realized the room needed more … lamps. LOL!

    At the same time, I must disagree with you about books and color. The thought of buying books based on the color of their spine just leaves me cold. Likewise, the thought that coffee table books simply serve as risers or decorative filler turns me off.

    • Sandy says:

      Me too – my first thought, “What is the world coming to when we buy books by color?” My second thought, “I guess that way at least the books get homes.”

    • Marcia says:

      I’m with you. It looks like you need bookshelves but don’t have them so you’re just cluttering every surface with them. And I can just imagine my husband’s reaction if I tried to decorate with random piles of books selected merely for the color of their spines. Not going there!

  • Holly says:

    I agree with you, Maria! Lighting makes such a difference. I just started following you this year and after reading some of your posts, I went out and bought the cutest white gourd lamps and I love them!

    Just the other day I was wondering where I can find some navy-blue books to create a vignette for my sofa table. Maria to the rescue again! I’ve been an Etsy seller for 8 years and I didn’t know they sold things like this on Etsy. Haha!

  • Koel says:

    I love lamps too and I love fruit bowl tablescapes but curious. Are there no fruit flies in Canada 😅

  • Jackie says:

    Maria, I love your post. Would it be best if all the lamp shades in the living room be the same shape?

    • Maria Killam says:

      In general they should be a similar shape, but it really depends on what you’re looking at. If you see all 4 lamps very close together in one area then the shade should be similar. However, if 2 lamps are on one side of the room and 2 on the other side, they could be different. I would open up a design magazine and study just the lamps and notice what works about the shades. Hope that helps! Maria

  • Kj says:

    Maria, have you seen the “Color Plus” line from Lamps Plus? Table, wall and floor lamps available in 100+ colors. They also have pillar candlesticks in 100+ colors.

  • Carol says:

    Where did you get the gorgeous peach-colored chair and ottoman pictured in the “5 lamps everyone should have” post? Stunning, and looks so comfy/inviting.

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