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A Neutral Utah Farmhouse Christmas

A Neutral Utah Farmhouse Christmas

Fireplace with wood mantel, stockings and built-in shelves full of firewood.
Written by Autumn K. Rause
Photography by Jessica White
Styling by Alicia Kimbrough

Old character. Shiplap. Detailing. Those were the items on Alicia Kimbrough’s new home wish list. On her husband’s? A new build. So when they headed to tour the Utah farmhouse they would end up purchasing, Alicia was uncertain. It was a standard new build, just as her husband desired, but it was also monochromatic with nary a piece of shiplap in sight.

A full view of the neutrally decorated living room with a very high ceiling and a lot of natural light through the windows.
Even while keeping to a neutral palette, homeowner Alicia Kimbrough adds diversity to her designs with different patterns. In the living room, she anchors the room with a striped rug and echoes its hues in the curtains. The rug and curtains establish the color scheme and make the room extra cozy when Alicia layers in her Christmas décor.

“It was pretty much the same color, from the walls to the tile to the carpet,” she says. Still, as she walked from room to room, her imagination took flight. “There were 20-foot ceilings, an open entry, molding and arches. The house didn’t have the historic details I wanted, but I knew I could add character,” she says.

The Utah farmhouse entryway with a cozy side bench.
The entryway sets the tone for the rest of our home,” she says. “It’s one of my favorite spaces to decorate for Christmas.” She loves their knotty alder banister and railing but still wants a festive garland, so she places it along the bottom of the stairs and then styles their shoe bench with knit-sweater and holiday pillows.
The second living room of the Utah farmhouse, completely decorated for a neutral Christmas.
This front room has three uses: as a guest room, second living room and play area. After adding shiplap, Alicia decided she needed a focal point and even more character. “I searched endlessly for an antique replace mantel,” she says. “I picked up this one from a local classified ad.”

After all, while Alicia is a marketing director by day, by night she’s the voice and vision behind the DIY and home décor blog, Thrifty and Chic. Over time, she has transformed the standard build into a charming space bursting with farmhouse style. It’s the perfect backdrop to enjoy family life.

The Christmas tree decorated with tan and white ribbons, mini pails and natural garnishes.
Alicia decorates the tree with natural and simple garnishes to complete the look of her neutral Utah farmhouse Christmas.

During Christmas, Alicia takes her cues from the existing color palette and creates neutral yet cozy interiors for the holidays. “I love neutral holiday décor because it’s easy to add in non-holiday themed pieces,” she says. “Plus, it goes with my existing décor, and I don’t have to take it down immediately after Christmas—it transitions easily into winter décor!”

The corner of the off-white sectional sofa in the Utah farmhouse living room.
The sectional sofa creates its own corner in the living room, one that’s perfect for cozying up with a mug of hot chocolate. Alicia, who is a self-confessed fan of symmetry, uses sets of matching pillows but spreads them apart so they don’t feel too matchy.

Light, Bright Living Room

The living room is the heartbeat of the Kimbrough home, pulsing with life lived out in conversations, reading and entertaining. “We spend the majority of our time here,” Alicia says. When they first moved in, the living room suffered from a severe case of beige. Alicia broke up the color by adding board and batten to the walls and shiplap over the fireplace.

Vintage-inspired apothecary cabinet with light-colored drawers and black edges, decorated with neutral decor.
Alicia found this vintage-inspired apothecary cabinet, and it’s a great alternative to a typical side table. “It’s fun to open the drawers and put greenery in them for the holidays,” she says.

Since there were empty alcoves built into the walls, Alicia added shelves to balance out the room and then filled them with firewood. Though the firewood stays in the alcove year-round, it takes on a wintry feel during the cold months, especially when flanked by the holiday mantel décor and a Christmas tree festooned in cream and tan ornamentation.

Fireplace with wood mantel, stockings and built-in shelves full of firewood.
Wood is a wonderful medium for a neutral color scheme. It adds an organic feel, goes with all other color accents and brings a timeless look to the décor.

The living room is serene when I decorate it for the holidays,” Alicia says. “It draws us in.” The soothing, neutral tones of the living room take on a variety of textures during Christmas, with chunky knit blankets on the sofa, flocked mini trees atop the mantel and yarn stockings hanging from a white birch branch. The once too-beige room has become awash in holiday serenity.

Side table decorated with mini trees and vintage-inspired decor. A wreath hangs above it.
As a DIY master, Alicia knows how to disguise storage in stylish ways. “The wooden box you see here offers extra storage, and I love the height it brings to the space,” she says. Another of her talents is using ornaments in unexpected ways. “Who says garlands can only be used on a mantel? I try to mix it up a bit,” Alicia says. “I put them on cabinets, shelves, anywhere.”
The family dog lying in front of the neutrally decorated Christmas tree.
Every fireplace—faux or not—is in need of a flame. Alicia invokes that cozy vibe with neutral candlesticks and candles. She cleverly varied their height by positioning them atop stacks of books. The assortment adds a romantic and rustic touch to her Christmas décor.

Gather Round

Rethink what you know about the statement wall concept. Alicia gave the trend a new twist by adding shiplap planking and a series of frames to the main wall in the dining room. She then sought to add the vintage character she loves in old homes. “The table was given to us by my mother-in-law,” she says. “I added slipcovered host chairs to break up the brown and industrial side chairs juxtaposed with the wooden table and fabric-covered chairs.”

Utah farmhouse dinging room with a white shiplap wall.
Six wooden frames featuring pinecones use negative space as part of the dining room design. Since the background of each hanging is white, the frames and pinecones pop against the shiplap wall.
Utah farmhouse dinging room with three wood slats along the ceiling.
Alicia creates balance in her Utah farmhouse dining room by using simple wall decor in order to have a more immaculate table display.

Usually the frames on the walls feature lavender sprigs. But for the holidays, Alicia switches the sprigs out for pinecones hanging on jute ropes. She incorporates just a hint of color by tying greenery to the tops of the pinecones.

She also implements micro Christmas details at each table setting, such as small pots of greenery that double as place-card holders and flocked pinecones woven around wood candlesticks and a lantern—all in her signature neutral colors, of course. Guests feel as though they have their very own enchanted winter forest at their place setting.

See Also
Rustic wood stove with Christmas Trees sign for a woodland Christmas theme.

Dining room table decorated with natural greenery and wood decor.
Mix and match textures to foster a natural look that’s not boring or plain.

For Alicia, there is nothing standard about her standard-build home. Instead, with her hands-on approach, it’s become a place full of love and style—and just the right home for the holidays.

Three-tiered white tray with black edges, holding Rae Dunn mugs, pinecones and spruce tips.
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without hot cider or hot chocolate. Alicia uses a three-tiered tray to balance out her buffet. “The tray stores my extra coffee mugs and offers a little extra area to add holiday touches,” she says.
Small, white media table with sliding barn door holding up a TV with "It's a Wonderful Life" scene on the screen.
Alicia wanted her media cabinet tall enough so that if her kids put food on it, the dog couldn’t get it. In addition, “one side is for décor and the other side, the one hidden behind the sliding door, houses DVDs, the Xbox and other electronics,” she says.
Utah farmhouse faux fireplace with wood chips, stockings and a garland.
Alicia filled her faux fireplace in the master bedroom with wood discs, reflecting a rustic wood theme for winter.
Master bedroom bed with two side tables and red-checkered pillows.
It’s easy to wake up when you’re surrounded by Christmas cheer. “I played with pops of red,” Alicia says. “Pillows and blankets were a great way to layer it in without committing to a more permanent furnishing.”

A Christmas Bath

The first thought that hit Alicia when she walked into the master bathroom? “That tub! It was a dream come true,” she says. Sold on the tub, she got to work updating the everyday bathroom to farmhouse chic. “I took down the standard towel holders and replaced them with stained-wood floating shelves,” she said. “I added ruffle curtains and faux shiplap to complete the space.”

Large bath tub with wood tray across the tub and neutral/natural Christmas decor.
No grand bathtub would be complete without a bath board for candles and books. This wooden board puts a touch of rustic in Alicia’s relaxation.

In December, a Christmas bath is absolutely essential for soaking away hours of shopping, decorating and gift wrapping. To bring Yuletide cheer to the bathroom, Alicia adds fresh-cut greens on the shelves. “The small space really maximizes the aroma,” she says. “I also put up a letter board. It’s fun to add short Christmas phrases.”

Two floating shelves above one side of the bath tub with greenery and decorative storage containers.
Two floating shelves in the master bathroom allow for ample styling opportunities. Alicia adorns them with greenery during the holidays, providing a perfect counterpoint to the beige, white and tan bathroom.
Master bedroom with faux fireplace, wreaths above the bed and red accents.
Alicia goes all out for Christmas. If the rest of her Utah farmhouse gets a holiday makeover, so does the master bedroom!

Love this Utah farmhouse? This 1950s ranch got a farmhouse makeover, too. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration! 

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