Since opening its doors 39 years ago, Joyworks in Snohomish has seen a lot of home decor trends come and go. There was super country, then shabby chic, and now farmhouse, which is in its heyday. While everyone is trying to figure out the next trend, one thing is clear about this farmhouse generation — in an age of online shopping, they’re missing a sense of touch.
For store manager Jana Johnson, the holiday season is about reconnecting people to the physical world of shopping. Her bait is a soft texture at every turn.
There’s something nostalgic about bundling up for cold weather and popping in and out of gift shops, looking for that perfect pick, Johnson said. “I think people really crave that tradition,” she said.
When Joyworks opened shop, Jana’s mother, Clarice Johnson, was creating a space to sell her handmade flower arrangements and decorations. Apart from maybe a Hallmark, it was the only gift shop in town, Jana Johnson said.
As Snohomish’s gift economy grew, so did the shop. Joyworks has expanded four times, taking over more of the building on First Street each time. Buyers swoon over the soft clothing that takes up about a third of the space, but the gem of Joyworks is in the basement.
Head downstairs for countless unique decoration ideas. Johnson takes what’s trendy and mixes it up in ways that aren’t always expected, sometimes even making pieces of her own.
“I’m really creative,” she said. “For me, it’s fun coming up with new ideas.”
We turned to Johnson’s 27 years of experience for tips on decorating for the holidays.
Today’s new shoppers aren’t interested in putting up Santa and Rudolph at every turn or finishing things off with a garish wreath.
“The younger generation wants to be cleaner and simpler,” Johnson said. Their moms had a lot of stuff — vignettes and over-decorated trees. It’s a lot of work to set up and takes a lot of room to store.
Most people are buying neutral-colored furniture, which makes swapping pillow shams and pulling out the red or green throw an easy way to change up your living room without adding much.
Nordic Christmas design is as trendy as it gets. It has clean lines and a natural look with wood beads, trees and chunky woven throws.
Everything about it is cozy, even the stuffed holiday gnomes, half concealed in furry beards.
The colors are simple — white, natural, forest green (often flocked with more white) and occasionally little punches of red. Many of the decorations are carved from wood — be it stars or trees — and then painted, you guessed it, white.
Go Northwest cozy
People in the Northwest are all about bringing the outside in with lots of trees, some undecorated and less than a foot tall. This style invites forest friends, too, such as statuettes of deer or white owls.
Flannel is a favorite standby. Consider replacing your favorite throw with buffalo check for the season. If your pillows are already a natural color, you can cheat and just tie a plaid ribbon around them.
For a bigger display, buy a pair of skis from a thrift shop, take off the bindings and paint them red — Johnson did just that in her Snohomish shop.
Go with garlands
Green garlands reached their peak with endless bows, twinkle lights and ornaments, but with style going simpler the idea is being reborn.
The Nordic style is complemented well with ones made from felted flowers or boiled-wool balls, which hang heavily on a sparse tree, but offer a cozy look. Lifting one up, Johnson says, “These make me like a garland again.”
There also are garlands made from little circles of raw wood and painted with clean designs. Instead of a garland with ornaments, there’s a garland of ornaments, all made from the very popular mercury glass.
Succulent plants, real or fake, are all the rage in home decor. Take your favorite potted friends and place them inside a decorative pot, maybe one painted red or in the shape of a little truck.
If you have too many succulents, you can also consider painting some with glitter. The little shiny touch turns them into something completely different.
For people looking to up their game beyond the table runner, consider using risers to prop up decorations. While wooden ones are popular, even a neutral cake plate can do the trick. If you have a wide candlestick holder, replace the candle with a little tree.
If you have a hanging chandelier, consider decorating it with a garland. It makes a statement when it’s non-traditional, but simple greenery also is elegant.
If you go
Where: 1002 First St., Snohomish
When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
More: 360-568-5050 or www.facebook.com/joyworks.snohomish
Washington North Coast Magazine
This article is featured in the winter issue of Washington North Coast Magazine, a supplement of The Daily Herald. Explore Snohomish and Island counties with each quarterly magazine. Each issue is $3.99. Subscribe to receive all four editions for $14 per year. Call 425-339-3200 or go to www.washingtonnorthcoast.com for more information.