Monday, December 2, 2013

Wreaths and bows

One of my favorite holiday posts from years ago, updated with new pictures as many of the links were broken. To see full post, please visit http://www.thingsthatinspire.net/2013/12/wreaths-and-bows.html

I have always dreamed of placing wreaths on the windows of my house, but I have never lived in a house that allowed for this – until now. I think wreaths on windows work best when the house is symmetrical, with evenly sized windows.

A few years ago, I purchased 5 artificial wreaths, and the day after Thanksgiving hung them on the windows.  The wreaths came unadorned, so I fastened a large red bow onto the bottom of the wreath, as I prefer the visual weight of the wreath to be on the bottom, and like the way that the ribbon trails down.

However, when my family came out to review my handiwork, there was quite a bit of discussion about the placement of the bow.  My husband and oldest daughter felt that it was more traditional to place the bow at the top of the wreath.  A big discussion ensued: should the bow be placed at the bottom or the top of the wreath?

After doing a bit of research, it is clear that there is no right or wrong answer – it is totally individual preference, and is sometimes dictated by the size of the wreath and items that are around the wreath. But, it has given me something new and different to look when examining how people decorate.

Perhaps my all time favorite holiday décor picture is this one, from Martha Stewart.  The soft palette, the green and white color scheme, the details in the architecture, the urns flanking the door – all are beautiful.  In keeping with the soft style and color palette of this vignette, there is no large red bow, but rather a softly tied ribbon draped from the bottom of the wreath.

The cover of Family Circle from a few years ago features a picture perfect wreath with a vibrant red bow tied firmly onto the bottom of the wreath.

An old image in my inspiration files features a boxwood wreath at Mrs. Howard, with a green bow on the bottom. Image via AH&L and Phoebe Howard.  I love the look of a wreath hung on top of a mirror.

I definitely gravitate to the simple, clean, and traditional look of pure greenery and a crisp red bow (one of the few times I use red in décor – it is my least favorite color).  This bow is placed at the top, and I wonder if my preference is for placement at the bottom so the center circle of the wreath can be seen?

A beautiful traditional white clapboard house with black shutters and door, found via pinterest, features wreaths with bows placed on the bottom.

A snowy wreath on a door – with the bow placed on the bottom. Via Wind Lost.

I have always wanted to display a magnolia wreath, and this one is beautiful with its large red bow placed at the bottom. Image source.

This boxwood and berry wreath is beautiful. A bow on top works perfectly when the wreath is hung with a bow. This is a clever way to hang a wreath.

Via Southern Living – this house has a wreath on every window. Interestingly, even though the wreaths are hung with ribbon, the bow is still on the bottom.

Something about this picture really speaks to me – I love the classic materials of the stone and limestone combined, and the large wreath on the arched door is perfection. Note that the bow is placed at the top of the wreath – a wise choice, as a bow on the bottom would block the mail slot. Source.

This pretty wreath in the window of Jerry Pair caught my eye; the elegant simplicity of a fresh greenery and a large red bow is perfect. Note the placement of the bow at the top of the wreath – it crowns the wreath, and keeps the bow clear of the lettering on the window.

A large wreath on the Georgia Pacific building downtown wouldn’t really work if the bow were on the bottom – it would block the door, and the building is so tall the visual balance needed to be on top.

I saw this unusual wreath at a doctor’s office, and noted the bow placed at the top. I like how the ribbon is woven through the shape of the wreath.

Two wreath flank the gates at the base of the driveway – note the placement at the top of the wreath.

Two wreaths placed on the gates to the Adams Gate at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta (scenes from the movie The Blind Side were filmed here).  Another check in the ‘bow on top’ column.

The owners of one of my favorite houses always put wreaths on their windows – and they have a preference for the bow on top.

Although decorated simply, with just a large wreath of the door, this house looks amazing at night because the tree is placed in front of the window.  Note that the large red bow is placed on the bottom of the wreath.

Another house with the bows on the bottom of the wreaths.  I really love the look of wreaths on windows, especially when a house has a crisp black and white color scheme and a symmetrical facade.

The wreaths on this house have the bows placed jauntily on the lower side. It almost looks like the wind is blowing them.

Do you have a preference, or do you have any great wreath pictures to share?  I am not sure if there is any grand conclusion to this post – placement of the bow on the wreath is not really one of those important philosophical topics in the holiday season – but if you have read this entire post, I predict that you will look at wreaths with a new eye this holiday season!

P.S. - the bows stayed at the bottom of our wreaths.

Nesting, 6”x6”, $200. Click here to purchase.

The Quatrefoil Design store has just been restocked with dozens of new Melissa Payne Baker paintings in a variety of small sizes, perfect as a Christmas gift!  Please visit http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/artist/melissa-payne-baker to see the full selection.

Favorite design and architecture books of 2013: http://www.thingsthatinspire.net/2013/12/books-from-2013.html

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  1. Great post...if this doesn't get one in the holiday spirit, don't know what will! I agree that it might be more traditional to put it on top...but I do love the look of the "weight" of the wreath being at the bottom with the bow...I have done it both ways, even to the side sometimes to change it up. Don't know yet what I will do this year but the time is upon us and I plan on even starting some decorating today...it looks so pretty when done so why not enjoy it for the longest time possible! I love the look of wreaths on every window too.....it would be exhuasting and expensive to do it here but I will do it on a few:) Happy decorating Holly and hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  2. Hi Holly,
    I love the look of bows at the bottom of wreaths, and you have so many beautiful examples!
    Homes with wreaths at the windows are so inspiring!

    Enjoy the holiday weekend!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. Such a great post! I love the look of a bow at the bottom or just a knot. I too love that Martha Stewart image.

  4. Loved every image in this post! I was so glad to know that you love wreaths in every window because that is what we do each year! I always worry that it's a bit much but I know that I love it and it makes me happy! We are actually in the process of putting up the tree and putting the lights in the bushes. Wreaths will be hung soon and hopefully we can truly enjoy the real meaning of this wonderful season! I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

  5. I love to zig where others zag so I will react to your comment about red. I have always used burgundy and hunter green for my Christmas colors. It started out because the colors worked better with my interior and exterior colors (gray brick) As for bows, usually not at the noon position but rather between the 1 and 2 position (if using a clock face).

  6. Hey !! How FUN MY House is photo # 7 the stone house :) That house was a DREAM we raised our family there :) Love your blog xoxo
    Betsy Duggan

  7. Ha - I'm a bit off beat. The bow on my wreath is on one side rather than top or bottom. No matter what way you dress it, a wreath is a great way to welcome people to your house.

  8. I skip the bow - and just use the ribbon. This is the only photo I could find - pan down to the last pic.... http://theoldpostroadblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/christmas-tour-2012.html . Cannot for the life of me locate another photo - I pretty much do my wreaths the same, each year.

  9. Thanks for these great examples, especially the wreath with the berries. I like bows at the top, bottom or side as long as the tails are long. Short ones make the bow look stubby.

  10. Oooh, that boxwood wreath is my favorite!! franki

  11. Love your Christmas look- quite festive! I love seeing some of these familiar homes from where I grew up in Atlanta!

    Although our town home in DC doesn't call for wreaths on each window, we try and keep things festive with a Berry Monogram & boxwood wreath out front! On these narrow houses, a little goes a long way (leaving more money for interior splurges!)

    Cheers, Alison

  12. Red is my least favorite color too but there is nothing more classic at Christmas than the simple bows on the wreaths. They are my favorite decorations to put up! ( my bows are on the bottom)!


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