WRITTEN BY MEGIN POTTER  |  PHOTOS BY SUSAN BLACKBURN PHOTOGRAPHY

Swoon-worthy rooms that are soft and pretty can still be simple. 

Local decorator and social media influencer Lara Watro is Instagram famous for Peonies + Twine, which frames her home décor and design solutions in a sensible, achievable light. By October 2022, she had nearly 40,000 followers. 

“I just want people to know you can have a beautiful home on any budget,” said Lara.

Blank slate? Pick a color palette.

By sticking to a color scheme, Lara creates visual flow from room to room and a constant atmosphere throughout the house. A swath of neutrals – whites, blacks, browns, and greys are the base foundation. To play with the scene’s intensity, Lara sets them off with golds, silvers, natural greens, and touches of burgundy. 

Such a selective color palette seems restrictive, but there is more design opportunity than you might initially think possible when adhering to a consistent color scheme. 

“Do whatever looks good to you,” advises Lara. “You’re the one who has to live with it. There are no rules to decorating.”

Shop Your House.

Lara loves to get inspired, but her instinct is to save money, not spend it. 

“I save almost everything and just move it around a lot. I shop my own house and save money by using something I already have in my home.”

“I’m such a DIY person,” continued Lara. “If I see something I like, I try to make it first if I can.” 

In addition to low-priced but ultra-realistic faux green and burgundy eucalyptus branches, Lara clips arborvitae from their half-acre yard to add into her Christmas greenery. 

Her dramatic side-swept mantle garland with gold candles at various heights is the focal point of the family room. It’s the first thing Lara decorates and is a unique touch that immediately brings the room to life. 

The garland’s position is mirrored in a smaller sash atop a picture frame kiddie-corner from the fireplace, creating balance. Garlands are also sparingly draped across the staircase, bedframes, shelves, and windows. 

Greenery on the tabletops, and wreaths placed around the home, are minimally dressed, with perhaps just a dried orange slice, pinecone, or gold bell peeking out here and there.

Tips for Trees

Everyone gets in on the action when there’s multiple trees throughout the house. 

In the entryway, a live tree decorated by the family greets you near where the antique theater seats stand. Heavenly whites bless the dining room while a sparkling styled tree perches in the corner. A scarf is strewn across the table as a runner, topped with greenery below a glistening chandelier. 

Vintage bottle brush trees are lined up like soldiers on shelves here and in the kitchen. By the family room fireplace, a faux Scandinavian Fraser fir with cozy yarn and architectural ornaments mimic the weathered architectural and fiber elements already featured in the home’s everyday décor. 

“I include the kids in the decorating,” said Lara. 

 “It’s their job to do their own trees. They do love it, and I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable in their own home.” 

They also like to help bake peanut butter blossom cookies and go Christmas caroling in the neighborhood.

Naturally Nostalgic

When you let memory be your guide, the rest comes more naturally. 

The cohesive, yet understated, Polar Express winter wonderland theme that Lara carries through the home is most apparent in her son’s room where the train and framed woodland animals tell the story. 

Most of the pictures in the house however, have been swapped out with holiday scenes retrieved for free online from the Met Museum’s archive and printed out at Walgreens (with a coupon).

The nutcracker is a Watro family tradition and while there are smaller ones indoors, the 5ft lit nutcracker that stands guard and sings by the front door is the real star of the show. 

Ready, Set, Glow

The final touches (like a scented candle that echoes the smell of a pine forest or yummy winter fruits) connect the senses and the look into one cohesive seasonal experience. 

When the décor is this pleasingly simple, it welcomes you home, into the farm market kitchen, for a nice ginger mule or a warm cup of hot cocoa from a jolly Santa mug. Upon it, a gingerbread man is perfectly perched – a sweet reminder that the jolly old soul himself will soon be on his way.

Lara Watro guides her viewers with her own decision-making skills, and because of it, many of the items in her home are provided by sponsors. This promotion often comes with a linked discount code so viewers can save money if they want to shop for items to recreate her look in their own home. 

Go get inspired, follow Peonies + Twine on Instagram at www.instagram.com/peoniesandtwine


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