116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Christmas flows naturally for Beth McDougall. Her mother always decorated the house to delight the kids. McDougall continues the tradition in her house and beyond.
Three years ago, she started Creative Direct to provide a Christmas and Halloween decoration service. “People said I was good at it (decorating),” said McDougall, 54, of Cedar Rapids. “I decided to give it a try.” McDougall decorates inside and outside, where she enjoys stringing lights.
This time of year, her attention turns to the mantel. It’s around the mantel that friends and family gather and celebrate. Because of this, McDougall said the mantel “represents the heart of the home.” She gives it thoughtful and detailed attention — around 10 hours for making items, shopping and planning.
When working with a client, McDougall gathers Pinterest pictures and has a book of styles to review. Deciding on the ornaments is next. Clients can use their decorations, hers or a combination. McDougall revises the design until she is happy and does a test setup at her house. Setting up decorations can take one to three hours at a client’s house. The cost for decorating can be $100 to $300 for something simple or $500 for an all-out maximum design.
When McDougall provides the decorations, there is plenty to choose from among the many full containers in her basement. Thrift stores are her go to for sourcing decorations, she said. McDougall said she finds new and nice things for a low price. She enjoys repurposing and making items.
Beth McDougall offers these tips when decorating your home with holiday decor:
• Decorate with what you like. Whether it is colors, snowmans, gnomes or Santas use what you like.
• Go odd. Group things in odd numbers — threes and fives.
• Play with texture. Mix textures like dull, shiny, coarse, silky to create interest.
• Make sure it is secure. Use outdoor 3M Command Hooks to secure garland.
• Change it up. Create new looks each year.
• Don’t spend a lot. Lots of great holiday decorations can be found at thrift stores.
McDougall decorated the garland draped across the mantel by hand. She strings the lights on the garland and attaches ornaments. Securing the garland are a lot of 3M Command Hooks. “Use outdoor hooks. They’re stronger,” she said.
McDougall likes to have the mantel look different every year and follows trends she sees. Among the trends are the use of pink, natural items, black and white, and items that imply the simpler the better, she said.
Whatever the look, there’s bound to be a Santa or two. Every year, McDougall’s mother-in-law, Dale Griffin of Dallas, gives her a Santa, which arrives the day after Thanksgiving. After 18 years of marriage, she has shimmery, stuffed and suspended Santas.
McDougall’s Christmas decorations have been a hit with friends and neighbors. When she calls to arrange pickup, people say they want to keep them up for a while, she said.
As for her home, “People come by and say thanks for decorating,” McDougall said. “It really makes people happy.”
Contact Beth McDougall at (319) 538-8300 to inquire about her decorating service.