Come December (or November, for those festive go-getters who are ready to decorate ASAP), it feels like the whole world transforms into a bright and sparkling wonderland. Whether you incorporate fresh Christmas trends into your space each year or lean into more retro holiday trends, there’s something distinctly delightful about decorating for winter and the holidays—and something equally special about stepping into restaurants, stores, and other commercial spaces that approach the season with the same enthusiasm.
Case in point: The Six Bells, a homewares store in Brooklyn, New York, that has completely remade itself in preparation for the holiday season. Founded by Audrey Gelman in early 2022, The Six Bells is a self-described “New Old Country Store” with a storefront in Brooklyn and a robust online shop. Leaning more country than cottagecore, more sturdy than quaint, The Six Bells stocks antiques, linens and textiles, charming handcrafted tchotchkes, and a huge variety of other home goods with built-in kitsch and a playful, lighthearted energy.
The overall approach for the store is an air of escapism, Gelman says. “What we’re trying to do is, when people open the door from the street, they feel like they’re walking into not only a different environment and feeling but also a different time,” she tells Better Homes & Gardens. “We want people to feel like they’re not in the city when they walk into the store.”
For the holidays—this is the store’s first holiday season—The Six Bells is taking that air of escape to a new level with a festive makeover of the store itself, plus a holiday village pop-up in a reconstruction of a 17th-century home in Brooklyn. The made-over store is fully decked out in rich colors, layered textures, and a carefully curated selection of products from the makers Gelman sources from. The result? A perfect blend of country kitsch, vintage materials, and traditional and contemporary handicraft.
“It was definitely kind of an escapism when we were going into this,” says Lindsay Jones, a floral, event, and interior designer and creative director of The Six Bells store makeover. She says Gelman’s inspiration for the holiday makeover originally came from the magical holiday feasts depicted in the Harry Potter series. “‘If I can bring that magic into my store, that’s what I want people to feel like,'” Jones says of Gelman’s goal for the space. “I really honed in on that imagery, specifically, and I think when starting to think about the design and the details, there had to be lots of textural moments.”
Those textural moments look like ribbon, thick garlands, and layered textiles. There’s also a lot of warmth, Gelman says, and vintage materials, including tinsel on the store’s tree and ornaments sourced from antique malls across the country. The decor both incorporates and highlights the products Gelman has sourced for the holiday season, with everything from delicate egg ornaments to wreaths to hand-painted candles on display and available for purchase. Gelman calls the store’s selection slow decor—it’s a blend of antiques, vintage items, and products made by individual makers using traditional methods, and while the holiday collection includes classic items such as ornaments and stockings, it’s interspersed with new products that work equally well as holiday, seasonal, and even year-round decor (plus gifts, of course, including candles from a The Six Bells x Cottagecore Black Folks collaboration). Plus, Gelman says, it’s all made to last decades.
Between the gorgeous selection of egg ornaments and playful cross-stitch pillows (and many other items), The Six Bells offers a specific, curated selection of holiday goods that is perfectly aligned with many other holiday trends centered around handicraft and an appreciation for well-made, homey decor—all with a spirited twist. “We sort of embrace the fun and almost campiness of the concept, but then obviously the beauty and specialness of the products themselves,” Gelman says.
For those wanting to mimic some of the magic of The Six Bells holiday makeover at home, Gelman suggests focusing on three key components: rich colors, a more-is-more attitude, and scent. “I don’t think you’ll find a lot of things in The Six Bells that are pastels or really light colors,” she says. “You’ll find rich textures, dark reds, dark greens, mustard yellows, and I think that that’s a core part of the aesthetic. It’s not super light and airy.”
Whether you consider yourself more of a maximalist or you’re leaning into grandmillennial decor, there are plenty of reasons to ditch minimalist approaches and put all the items you love on display—even if they don’t always “go together” in a matchy-matchy sense.
“We embrace a little bit of a more-is-more aesthetic,” Gelman says. “I think the thingthat I’m interested in is not having everything be perfectly coordinated but having things that feel like they have been collected over time.”
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And finally, don’t forget about scent. Gelman believes that scent is an important element in creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Consider incorporating scented candles, diffusers, or even simmering a pot of spices on the stove to add a warm and comforting fragrance to your space.
The Six Bells has truly transformed itself into a country winter wonderland for the holidays, offering visitors a whimsical and nostalgic experience. From the rich colors and layered textures to the carefully curated selection of products, every detail has been thoughtfully considered to create an immersive and enchanting atmosphere.
So, if you find yourself in Brooklyn this holiday season, be sure to step into The Six Bells and experience the magic for yourself. And if you can’t make it in person, you can still explore their online shop for a taste of their unique holiday collection.