How To Decorate Your House Like The Holiday

The beloved 2006 film "The Holiday" by Nancy Meyers is filled with heartwarming moments and very chic homes. Iris and Amanda are two women living on opposite sides of the world with the same problem: men. They find each other on a house-swapping website, and when Amanda asks when she can come switch homes with the Brit, Iris famously replies, "Is tomorrow too soon?" According to Hello Giggles, the women's homes in the movie are one of the main reasons it's just so re-watchable.

After all, who wouldn't want to live in a Hollywood mansion with a giant pool and in-home gyms like Amanda, or even a small, quaint cottage in the English countryside like Iris? Both women hate where they live, but if we've learned anything from movies like "The Holiday," it's that beauty is totally in the eye of the beholder. So, if you love rewatching this film for more than just getting to see Jude Law do his best Mr. Napkin Head impression, keep reading on how to recreate these homes in your own abode.

Recreate an open concept foyer

Amanda's Los Angeles home has a massive entryway. It's as big as most people's living rooms, leaving plenty of room for tables, rugs, and shrubs. Even if you don't have space at home, it's still possible to get this same look. According to Kyle M Interiors, some open-plan homes don't have a foyer at all, as the front door simply opens straight into the living room. The easiest and least expensive way to fix the problem is to use your furniture to mimic an entryway.

You can place a couch with its back to the door, creating a sort of barrier that you have to walk around to really enter your home. You can recreate this look with any other piece of furniture, like a bookshelf or desk. Or, if you don't want to section off your door, you can use a small area rug to highlight the space. Additionally, you can place a small table on the wall behind the door as a place to leave your keys, shoes, etc. You can see that, on a larger scale, Amanda has each of these features, just spread out in a significantly larger space.

Install a stone fireplace

Iris' small cottage in the English countryside has a lovely stone fireplace on the main floor. If you love the look, there are plenty of ways to get one just like it at home, no matter your budget. According to Eldorado Stone, there are many things to consider when selecting the type of stone you want to use for a project at home. The first major difference is between genuine stone and manufactured stone. If you choose faux stone, you can obtain materials that are, on average, 50% less expensive than the real thing. This makes it the perfect choice for people working with a tighter budget.

Once you've selected your stone and are ready to finish your fireplace, you need to attach the decorative veneer. The veneer needs a sturdy base to cling to, and concrete or brick works best. Installing stone or faux stone is about a medium on the DIY difficulty scale, so you might be able to get away with not needing to hire a professional to do the job for you.

Consider built-in bookshelves

Iris is a society columnist writing for The Daily Telegraph in London. She is quite the wordsmith, so much so that her British love interest mails his manuscript to her while she's away in Los Angeles. If you're a book-lover like Iris, you can easily DIY a great place to store your library. According to Home Depot, built-in bookshelves are a very functional storage piece in any home.

In addition, they are very easy for beginner DIYers to install, and the whole process can be completed in less than a day. It's better if you have a nook, or other small indentation, to fill in with your built-ins. If not, measure carefully, so they don't take up too much space in your room. You can see that in Iris' cottage, she's made excellent use of all the space available to her, as the shelves even go up over the top of the door frame to fill in the space there. You can also see that Iris uses the shelves for more than just books, choosing to display photographs and knick knacks as well. 

Build a pillow fort for the afternoon

During her visit to the Cotswolds, Amanda nurtures a budding romance with Iris' brother, Graham. One winter evening, they grow even closer by spending time in a pillow fort built by his daughters. To bring a bit of the magic from "The Holiday" home, consider doing the same for a fun afternoon. According to Ecosa, building a pillow fort as an adult is one of the best ways to reconnect with your inner child.

You can set one up outside if you feel like leaning into glamping or in the living room if you want to spend the day watching movies and enjoying snacks. For the best base, think about dragging a mattress into the area. Or, if you don't want to take apart your bed, you can use a foam mattress topper in the same way. To create the outside, you'll want to set up four chairs around the edge and use a fitted sheet as the roof. It's better to use a fitted sheet instead of a flat one as it'll cling to the chairs a bit better.

Lean into cottagecore decor

Iris' cottage in the quaint English countryside looks like it's straight out of a Thomas Kincaide painting, so if you want to recreate the look from "The Holiday" at home, you will need to lean heavily into this aesthetic. The best way to bring an English cottage from the countryside home is to get into a type of decorating known as cottagecore.

According to Architectural Digest, cottagecore is a movement that mirrors the art style of eras past. "As a concept, it embraces a simpler, sustainable existence that is more harmonious with nature. Aesthetically, it's a nod to the traditional English countryside style, romantic and nostalgic," says Davina Ogilvie, who works heavily in the style. It's characterized by vintage housewares, floral elements, stonework, and an overall neutral, natural palette. So, consider decorating with dried flowers, vintage furniture, vintage rugs, baskets, and older books and stationery (via Life on Summerhill).

Bring greenery into your workspace

Amanda's office opens right onto her patio. Even if you aren't as lucky, you can bring plants inside to mimic the look. According to The Little Botanical, having plants nearby as you work can actually make your office a healthier place to be. The more plants around, the more carbon dioxide they absorb and the more oxygen they create. In addition to this, they can also absorb other toxins from the air you breathe, like benzene and formaldehyde.

To experience the best of these benefits, there are a few plants that go above and beyond. The first is the pothos plant devil's ivy, which is a highly versatile plant that can thrive in almost any environment, as well as Chamaedorea. Other low-maintenance office plants include the snake plant and succulents, which you really can't go wrong with. Plants come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, so it's easy to show your personality and enjoy the plant's benefits simultaneously.

Make imperfect symmetry work for you

The best part of using symmetry in design is that you can still make the concept work for you, even when it's not entirely perfect. Take Amanda's living room, for example. She has plenty of symmetry, but it's not a mirror image. She has four sets of floor-to-ceiling double glass doors with identical curtains hanging on either side. In addition, her couch sits perfectly between them and is flanked by two lamps and armchairs. But one of them is hunter green instead of white, making it look less like a showroom.

According to the Interactive Design Foundation, this small deviation is still considered symmetry. When designing a room, symmetrical doesn't necessarily have to be identical; it just means similar. The basic balance and harmony that symmetry brings to a room are still there, even if it's not perfect.

Display your passions with pride

Because Amanda edits trailers for a living, she has a relatively large DVD collection. If you have a large collection of something you're passionate about, it's easy to display without seeming disorganized. According to Inspired by Charm, the best way to display a collection is by keeping it all together. This way, your passions aren't strewn out around your entire home, but instead kept in one easy-to-enjoy place. Keeping your collection in one area can also help you keep track of its size, so you have a better idea of when it might seem complete to you or not.

However, if your collection is starting to feel a bit large (like Amanda's DVD collection), you might find yourself running out of space but not being ready to get rid of any items. If this happens to you, take heart. All you need to do is be more selective about the things you keep on display, and pack the rest of your collection tidily into storage.

Think about a fireplace in your bedroom

If you don't have central heating in your home like Iris, it doesn't mean you have to freeze. According to Engel & Voelkers, there are a few pros and cons to having a fireplace in your bedroom. The main benefit of having one is the overall coziness its presence brings to the space. The idea of snuggling up under the covers to the warm and soothing crackling sounds of a fireplace is appealing to many.

But, if your home has a fireplace in the bedroom, you need to consider two main safety concerns: embers from the fire and carbon monoxide. To keep the flames contained, fireplace covers come in many designs and are inexpensive. Second, any home with a fireplace should also have a carbon monoxide detector installed as well. Putting it about 15 feet from the fireplace at knee height gives the best readings. But, if you just want the ambiance without any risk, you can just stream a fireplace on your favorite platform instead (via FanSided).

Consider an antique bed frame

Iris has an older bedframe in her English cottage, creating a quaint, vintage vibe. However, if you want a similar style, there are a few things to consider. According to Sleep Junkie, it can be difficult to source a mattress for an antique bed for two main reasons. The first is because the size of modern mattresses might not be totally compatible with older beds. The second is a weight problem, as newer mattresses can be bulkier. In addition to this, an older bedframe might not have the structural integrity of a newer bed.

To avoid this, if you have an older bed frame like Iris, you might consider purchasing a custom mattress. Buying a mattress this way can be expensive, but it will help you avoid these pitfalls. If you would like to avoid doing this much work, you can also find plenty of modern bed frame options that just happen to look vintage but will fit a modern mattress. 

Don't be afraid of embracing clutter at your desk

According to Cosmopolitan, some viewers think Iris' Los Angeles love interest, Miles, is the worst. He's a little self-unaware, is a tad goofy, and runs after a girl that doesn't return his affection. This, of course, is debatable, but one thing that isn't is the state of his desk. However, if you have a messy desk like Miles, don't worry about it! Studies show that it may actually be a good thing. "Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights," Joseph Redden, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota, told Inc.

So, if your working space is a little bit disorganized, don't stress about it too much. Instead of focusing on your environment, think about the work you're doing instead. If you have your own system of organization and know where everything is, experts seem to agree that you can keep doing what works for you instead of spending all your time cleaning.

Think about Spanish themes

Amanda's California home has heavy Spanish influences. According to MyDomaine, homes in the Spanish style are more prevalent in areas of the United States that Spain used to rule. These would include California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Florida. Most of the design elements that make a home Spanish are actually very useful and not just for aesthetics. For example, the thick stucco walls of these buildings keep things extra cool on the inside due to the warm climates in these places. In addition, the iconic terracotta roofs also function similarly. 

Finally, you might notice that Spanish-style homes also typically have smaller windows. While this functions great for those who want a little more privacy (like Amanda, who works in Hollywood as a trailer editor), it also has a secondary function. Which is, you guessed it: heat reduction. If you want a house like in "The Holiday," you should consider Spanish architecture when house hunting.

Intricate light fixtures steal the show

Amanda has elaborate lights with intricate details in her California home, giving it an exotic flair. According to Shades of Light, choosing the correct lighting for a room really impacts the overall tone. When selecting lights, there are three main categories that you will be choosing from. The first is task lighting. These lights illuminate your workspace so you can see clearly while performing a specific task, hence the name. The second is accent lighting. These are lights that draw attention to a specific feature of your home. Finally, you have ambient lighting, like lamps and ceiling lights. Amanda's light fixtures would be considered ambient lighting, as they are meant to illuminate an entire room.

When choosing ambient lights, you need to consider the amount of light you would like in the space and how you want it dispersed. Due to the design of Amanda's lights, they would likely emit a low level of light. So, they would need to be partnered with a lamp or two to really light up the space fully.

Choose white and bright neutrals

The whites in Amanda's Los Angeles home feel warm and cozy, not stark and sterile. When you decorate with white, it's really a fine line between these two outcomes, so you definitely have to tread carefully. According to StoneGable, the shade of white that you choose to work with goes a long way. There are thousands of shades, so choosing the right one is very important, as different shades come with warm and cool undertones.

If possible, try mixing it up and pairing different shades of white together, so the room doesn't feel uniform, like a hospital suite. As you can see here, Amanda has mixed a fluffy white couch with eggshell lamp shades, warm white walls, and even marble tabletops. White is one of the lucky colors that doesn't feel monochrome when you use it in abundance. And, just like in Amanda's home, you can always give white spaces more life by adding greenery and pairing white furniture upholstery with a deep, wooden base.