"Where Are You, Christmas"
Hallmark Media/Photographer: Robert Clark

How to Decorate Your Home Like a Hallmark Christmas Movie, According to Their Production Designer

The ultimate holiday decor tips and tricks.

We're well aware of the spell those classically predictable Hallmark Christmas movies have us under. Even if we know the peppy cookie decorator and the grumpy lawyer/Christmas tree farm heir will get together in the end, we can't help but get sucked into the picturesque small towns, bickering families that turn into loving ones, and the always-magical Christmas Eve kiss. We love watching our favorite Hallmark stars year after year (some who are real-life couples) in these festive, feel-good films

And, of course, the homes.

Cozy, warm and perfectly decorated for the season, the fictional residences these movies take place in are straight out of our holiday fantasies. But how can we bring that Hallmark touch into our own humble abodes? To find out, we turned to production designer Jordan Ninkovich, the dècor mastermind behind films such as "Time for Him to Come Home for Christmas," "A Maple Valley Christmas" and "The Holiday Sitter."

"If I were to give any advice to anyone that's inspired by these wonderful Hallmark movies that we do and want to really bring that home, know that there's a huge difference between a pretty room and an authentic room," he says.

"I think where we all get carried away with what looks pretty on Pinterest. While it's great for inspiration, there are many layers and so much life to these sets. Our homes are our place of sanctuary, right? So I encourage people to integrate elements that not just make their home pretty but make it speak to them."

So — how the heck does one create a home that both looks like a Hallmark Christmas movie set and feels authentic to their own life? Ninkovich shares his secrets to making your home a holiday haven.

Don't Be Scared of Traditional Holiday Elements

Credit: Evergreen Film Productions

It's tempting to cast off plaid, ribbons and green-and-red palettes as too corny or cliche. But, Ninkovich says, they're classic for a reason.

"I'm a big fan of garlands and sprucing them up with pine cones and ribbon. Adding even a little bit of fairy lights brings illumination and some warm ambiance to, let's say, the staircase, which would be fun."

Evoke All of Your Senses

Credit: Hallmark Channel and Crown Media Productions

While holiday decor is definitely a visual treat, Ninkovich reminds us not to forget about the other senses.

"I set the tone and feeling of a space by lighting incense depending on what the scene is," he says. "So I'm a big fan of scented candles. Let's tap into all the senses."

The production designer encourages at-home decorators to think about the scents that mean something to them. What smells do you associate with the holidays? Whether it's freshly baked gingerbread cookies or pine needles, find a candle, diffuser or incense that can bring that cozy, nostalgic aroma into your home.

Include This Hallmark Movie Signature Piece

Credit: Front Street Pictures

If there's one holiday decor item you can spot in almost every Hallmark Christmas movie, it's the poinsettia. This vibrant red flower is a staple of traditional holiday decor, and it's an easy addition to your home as well.

"It's that nice little signature tradition," Ninkovich says. "It's a statement; it's a stamp of the season. But don't be scared of sprucing it up and making it your poinsettia. It's beautiful on its own, but adding some accents and elements of your own would be cool."

Go Small

Credit: Cartel Pictures, Cookie Catastrophe Pictures, and The Cartel

When we think of home decorating, we tend to envision these massive projects that take up a ton of space (and a ton of time). But Ninkovich says those teenier details make just as big of an impact.

"If you have little nooks and crannies in the space and you want to continue the flow of your Christmas vibe throughout the home, little garlands, little wreaths, and little accents also hold a big punch. Having a little taste of Christmas here and there in different corners to access the bigger picture of what you're doing really goes a long way."

Consider All Your Household Members — and Potential Guests

Credit: Hybrid and Crown Media Holdings

While your eye for decor might be what makes your home truly feel like a Hallmark Christmas movie, Ninkovich reminds us to consider all the other occupants of our homes. Take a moment to think about different elements or themes that might make them light up like a Christmas tree.

"If you have young ones, surprise them with something that they really love," he says. "'Star Wars,' 'Nightmare Before Christmas,' 'Barbie' any of these playful things, how can your Christmas decorations channel that?

"Let's say the kids' bedrooms are upstairs. Once we get into their area, maybe the color palette starts getting integrated into some of their favorite things. Surprising your young ones with that not only builds connection but also shows appreciation for what they're passionate about."

Remember the Point

Credit: Evergreen Film Productions

Sure, having a well-decorated home for the holidays is nice. But you know what's nicer? Having a home that feels like you.

"Anyone can make really something pretty," Ninkovich says. "And guess what? At the end of the day, there's no right or wrong. Your house is your canvas. Art is objective. So have fun with it. That's all it's really about."

READ MORE: How Are Hallmark Christmas Movies Made? We Asked Screenwriter Karen Schaler