Jul 15, 2023

Furry, fuzzy, fluffy: holiday decor with a soft touch

This season, faux furs, wools and other softly textured materials are giving holiday decor a cozy, festive feel.

The trend was prominent at this fall's Maison et Objet trade show in Paris. Booths were populated with winsome, appliquéd, felt people and animals. Glamorous, jewel-toned feather trees dressed up tabletops. There were furry pillows printed with wildlife photos or embellished with metallic threads, sequins and pearls.

"That natural, organic, homespun feeling was all over the runways and it's trending at home, too," says New York designer Elaine Griffin. "For holiday, it manifests as an emphasis on bringing the outdoors in — think stylish, simple-chic arrangements of branches, leaves, berries, pine cones and moss — coupled with cozy, textured, wintry textiles like felt, faux fur and chenille."

There's a lot of versatility in these materials because faux fur, brushed wool, hides, and even velvet or feathers can say "winter cabin" as easily as "luxury suite." It's all in how you incorporate other style elements.

Emily Henderson, host of HGTV's "Secrets from a Stylist" and a Target home-style expert, is also a fan.

"Yarn and wovens are two of my favorites — they make a space feel extra warm and welcoming, which is what the holidays are all about," she says.

Some examples from retailers:

• Little cone trees wrapped in cream-colored yarn, from Target's Threshold holiday collection, make a cozy tablescape. Here too are felted wool deer, bears and snowmen ready to create an arboreal winter woodland. A photo-printed stag on a soft, velvety throw pillow makes for a welcoming accessory. ( )

• Restoration Hardware's felt stocking garland is a different take on the advent calendar. And there are plushy gift bags and stockings in faux mink, coyote or wolf fur. ( ; )

• At Z Gallerie, long-haired faux fur runners, tree skirts and wine bags come in cream or gray. ( )

• Frontgate has Christmas stockings crafted of sumptuous coral or burgundy velvet. ( )

• And Grandin Road has a collection of hooked wool pillows with whimsical images of moose, cardinals, foxes and various canines sporting holiday garb.

A faux fur throw that looks like pheasant feathers could be repurposed as a glamorous tree skirt.

• Or get creative with 5 feet of chocolate-y brown faux fur trim, from New Orleans-based ribbon designer Donna Stevens. It could edge a mirror, wrap a gift or garland a tree, perhaps. ( )

• Children and nature lovers might enjoy Pier 1's whimsical stockings embroidered with owls or squirrels and embellished with a faux fur collar, wing and tail. Red and white felt snowflakes come in garland or placemat form. ( )

Another nice thing about this trend is that it isn't limited to Christmas; if you’re celebrating Hanukkah, you can easily incorporate some blues and silvers. Or if you just want to celebrate winter, you’re good to go.

• H&M Home has sets of white, faux-fur balls on gold ribbons, and black or white feathers nestled in clear glass ornaments on silvery loops. ( )

• Cone trees cloaked in feathers make pretty "evergreens" with their long silky fringes. Grandin Road has a bright, emerald-green one, while AllModern offers a smoky gray version.

• Wisteria has a collection of fun, furry round pillows that look like giant snowballs; set a pile of them around an indoor evergreen or toss them in the playroom for faux snowball fights. ( )

• A wreath studded with fuzzy cotton balls would complement a rustic display. (

• Soft little "snowballs" festoon a wreath at CB2. A cozy, winter-white acrylic throw at Crate & Barrel is shot through with silvery threads. And there's an array of coordinating throw pillows to go with it. ( ; )