8 Chic, Stress-Free Ways to Decorate for the Holidays

Updated 05/06/19
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It’s hard to believe the most wonderful time of the year is already upon us, which also means we’re entering the home stretch of 2016. For a year filled with ups and downs and even more fashion trends than we can keep up with, one thing remains just the way we’ve always remembered it: the excitement of the holiday season. With less than four weeks before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, ’tis the season to be decorating, and many of our family’s and friends’ homes are already in full-on holiday mode. But if the thought of decking your halls seems a little intimidating or if you’re just not quite sure where to start with hanging your stockings, you’re not alone. We’ve been hard at work figuring out the best stress-free ways to convert our own interiors into holiday havens of warmth, good tidings, and cheer. We know that sometimes it’s a long way down the holiday road, so we’ve mapped a few shortcuts for you that we think will lead to your chicest holiday home yet. Ahead, check out eight simple, stylish, and stress-free tips for decorating your home for the holidays.

Stock the Bar

Jenna Peffley

What better way to usher in the most wonderful time of the year than with a fun holiday party? Styling a bar cart with bottles of liquor, decanted wine, chic glassware, and gold accessories lets this room shine bright all through the holidays. And while you’re unwinding with a holiday cocktail, you can talk to your guests about how the impactful mix of décor on your bar cart was so stylishly festive that you didn’t have to stress about decorating the tree.

Rabbit RBT Decanter, 100% Bloomingdale's Exclusive $100
Chris Patey for MyDomaine ; DESIGN: Consort Design

This chic, shiny bar moment celebrates getting into the holiday spirit(s). With splashes of red, green, gold, and silver, all we want for Christmas is a stocked bar like this one. Holiday happy hour, anyone?

Consort Cocktail Brass Bar Set $175

Go Green

Yvonne Wilhelmsen for Femina

A simple holiday wreath is an easy way to add holiday cheer to your walls and bring green into your home without committing to a large Christmas tree. Layered with a few festive pine sprigs and a winter-white candle vignette, this living room is a low-key, relaxing holiday haven.

Knud Nielson Company 24" Boxwood Wreath, Preserved $149
Jenna Peffley

Holiday entertaining needn’t be stressful. When it comes to decorating a festive dining room, try draping the table with a dramatic green garland like this eucalyptus one in designer Sarah Sherman Samuel’s home. A green, black, and gold color scheme works year-round, but it’s especially chic for the holiday season.

World Market Live 6' Olive and Eucalyptus Garland $70

Make Your Fireplace Festive

Studio McGee

No holiday season is complete without a little quality time by the fire, so making your fireplace festive is a must. Stockings (hung by the chimney with care, obviously) and a wreath are straightforward, stress-free solutions for creating a classic mantel moment in a nostalgic red, green, and white palette.

West Elm Knit Stocking $24 $16
Melissa Oholendt for Wit and Delight

A comfy, cozy fireside spot is the perfect place to snuggle with your S.O. over the holidays. Keep it simple with shades of winter whites, but don’t be afraid to layer décor in wild abandon, from blankets to flowers to floor pillows. Getting the perfect glow doesn’t require the fuss of starting a real fire, either; create warm ambience by lighting the flames of several candles instead.

Erin Fetherston x Fragments Identity Mud Cloth Extra Large Pillow $425

Cozy Up With Sheepskin

Femina ; DESIGN: Ane Jessen

Layering sheepskin rugs into any space is a simple step to cozy up with chic winter flair. The furry, fuzzy white texture in this dining room adds warmth and light to a more dramatic holiday palette of deep red, green, and black.

Consort Icelandic Sheepskin $300

Present Your Presents

Justin Coit for MyDomaine

Wrapped gifts can double as holiday décor, turning the spirit of gift-giving into festive decorative moments. We love displaying them in fun and even unexpected spots in the home, like these gifts adorning actress Kaley Cuoco’s pool table. Good news for those who love to get their gift shopping done early instead of untangling string lights. Also good for those on the “nice” list.

CB2 Wide Stripe Gold Washi Tape $4
Nina Holst

For a stress-free approach to decorating a Christmas tree, we recommend a focused color palette. In this Scandinavian living room, an edited mix of gold, black, and white connects the ornaments with the presents underneath the tree. That chic black-and-gold wrapping paper–and-ribbon combo really is the gift that keeps on giving.

JAM Solid Matte Color Wrapping Paper Roll in Matte Black Recycled $8

Branch Out

House Doctor

If you’re not ready to invest the time, energy, or space associated with setting up or tearing down a full Christmas tree, fresh-cut branches make a great smaller-scale substitute. Pick a tree trimming that’s strong enough to hold a few ornaments, and in a few short minutes, voilà! Your very own tabletop tree. Perfect for those who need a little Christmas right this very minute.

CB2 Luster Gold Ornaments Set of Six $20
Frederikke Heiberg for Femina

For anyone with a soft spot for holiday romance, mistletoe is a must-have. As a simple, stress-free detail to give your home a playful edge for the holidays, hang fresh mistletoe over any well-traveled doorway. Just don’t forget to tell your holiday party guests to pucker up.

Pottery Barn Live Mistletoe Bundle With Boxwood 12x5" $20

Be Merry & Monochrome

Nina Holst

A well-placed pop of winter green can spruce up a monochrome home for the holidays while keeping an overall chic, understated aesthetic. In this black-and-white space, a small pine tree stands out from its neutral surroundings to spread a small but mighty dose of holiday cheer.

Crate and Barrel Pine Tree Small $30

If your style is more of the merry and minimal persuasion, try planting a small tree in a neutral planter on your coffee table. Keep it carefree: If you love a space that looks just a little bit casually undone, aim for an asymmetric tree to play off scattered throw pillows.

CB2 Basic Small Planter $30

Shine Bright

Yvonne Wilhelmsen for Femina

When in doubt, a great way to fill your home with holiday cheer is to display festive décor in unexpected places. Instead of hanging objects and ornaments in the same spot as in years past, surprise your guests by making spirits bright throughout your home. Don’t stress about where to decorate; let your imagination run wild with holiday décor mixed into a bookshelf, hung in the bathroom, or even leaning on top of the fridge.

Hometown Evolution Inc. Serenity Paper Star Light $18

What’s your go-to tip for keeping the holidays stress-free? Sound off below.

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