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Hospitable décor for hosting guests

Sherry Hockman gives tips about how to decorate for holiday visitors

PHOTOGRAPH BY BENJAMIN HOSTE

Sherry Hockman decorates her dresser with an art-deco lamp, embossed violet ornaments and whimsical holiday pieces.

November 8, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Hosting traveling families is an artform. Just because they’re friends and relatives, you shouldn’t think aiming for perfection is too much; they’ll love seeing the little luxuries of five-star hotels within the comforts of your home.

Upon arrival, a cozy place for temporary relaxation would be a refreshing sight. A guest room filled with an aunt’s forgotten collection of cross-stitching projects and other random objects is anything but welcoming.

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Interior decorator Sherry Hockman, who owns a boutique inside the Marketplace, has been offering design services in Columbia for eight years. Her goal is to make homes beautiful and practical, especially around the holiday season.

To give relatives a pleasant experience, a hospitable bedroom is pivotal. For those who think clean sheets constitute a room ready for occupancy, Hockman has plenty of simple suggestions to liven up the setting.

After hours of traveling, guests want to sit back and de-stress. A chair in the corner with magazines nearby makes visitors comfortable and at ease, she says. A focal point such as a chest where visitors can rest their luggage will also make a guest room feel like a second home as well as provide a functional element.

One of Hockman’s favorite touches for a bedroom is placing a small adorned bag of chocolate — or your guests’ favorite treats — on the bed. Greeting visitors this way is sweet and simple. She has similar ideas for visitors with children. She says preparing toys such as an MU tiger Pillow Pet in the room makes the kids feel welcome. In addition, candy canes with ribbons and other seasonal touches appeal to all ages.

For hosts who need quick, easy ways to make their rooms friend-and-relative-ready, Hockman suggests picking one favorite piece, such as an embellished pillow or a festive piece of wall art, and basing the room’s theme around it. For instance, if the pillow is red, place complementing objects in the room such as a vase with a sprig of holly in it. Simple touches like this bring the room together without a lot of hassle.

Hockman notes that not everyone embraces the holidays the same way. “You don’t want to hit them in the face with Christmas décor,” she says. To avoid this, Hockman decorated her own guest room with a mini silver cone Christmas tree adorned with purple ornaments to match the room’s color scheme of violet and green hues. Deep plum colors found on the bedding and mirrors retain the modern atmosphere of the space without being overwhelming. The room has no traces of Santa or shades of red but still sports holiday elements in subtle, nontraditional ways.

Hockman appreciates these almost- effortless decorating ideas; she says little touches go a long way to make the guests feel welcome. Saving visitors from staying in a musty spare room this season might be easier with simple designer tips — the only hard part will be getting your loved ones to leave.

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