Decorating for Christmas is no easy feat. Sure, you could snag a single Christmas tree and throw some ornaments on it. But many of us have loftier ambitions for our Christmas décor. We don’t want our homes to meet the bare-minimum standard for the holiday season. We want them to be thoroughly decked out with Christmas cheer—and ideally, we want them to look good, too.
The problem, of course, is that Christmas décor ideas abound. But in an effort to make your entire holiday journey a little easier to deal with, we talked to a bunch of interior designers and asked them to share some of their favorite Christmas decorating ideas with us. Scroll down, and you’ll find loads of curated holiday decorating advice—straight from people who decorate homes for a living.
With their responses, these designers covered the gamut of holiday décor. Whether you’re planning to buy new decor, spruce up old favorites, or DIY some handmade stuff, you’re bound to find some advice worth heeding.
Cluster a Few Christmas Trees Together
If you can’t commit to just one tree, treat yourself to a few. These so-called companion trees can spread Christmas cheer around your home, and they look particularly striking when clustered together.
“Until last year, ‘Companion Trees’ were a décor idea we thought deserved more love and have since gained popularity that we expect to continue,” Sarah Fishburne, Director of Trend and Design at The Home Depot, says. “This trend involves grouping multiple trees together in one room, all of which are different heights and are decorated in a similar theme.”
Put a Tree in Every Room
You’re not limited to just one Christmas tree. In fact, putting a tree in every room can be a great way to spread holiday cheer throughout your space. “I love putting up a Christmas tree in each room,” Lisa Cini, president and CEO of Mosaic Design Studio, says. She recommends switching up the size and style of each tree to create a unique look in each space.
Cover Your Tree With Heirlooms and Souvenirs
Use your tree to tell a story about your family. “My favorite Christmas décor idea is rather simple: We add ornaments to the tree annually to represent each of our past years,” Emily Stein, interior designer and owner of Design Librarian, says. “ It's an easy thing, but a meaningful and affordable way to mark the passing of time and build an heirloom collection.”
If you can’t stand the thought of a kitsch-covered tree, consider relegating your heirlooms to the mantel, instead. “We get one family ornament with the date on it every year, and those ornaments are hung separately above the mantel,” Mark Cutler and Nichole Schulze, interior designers and co-founders of cutlerschulze, say.
Flip Your TV to the Yule Log Channel
Fireplaces offer an easy way to get cozy during the holiday season. But if you haven’t been blessed with one, don’t fret—simply put a fireplace video on your TV.
“A log channel on the TV is my go-to,” Kelsey MacDermaid, interior designer and creator at The Sorry Girls, says. And if you really want to get that fireplace feel, burn a campfire-scented candle while the video rolls.
Declutter Before Decorating
You don’t have to display all the décor you own, so keep the focus on your favorites. “People get so excited for this time of year that it can be easy to get everything out of storage and display it all,” Ginger Curtis, interior designer and owner of Urbanology Designs, says.
And if you spot something you no longer need, feel free to declutter as you decorate. “If it's broken, junky, or really outdated, I would toss it,” Mimi Meacham, interior designer at Marian Louise Designs, says. “Stick with the pieces that you love, are proud of, or that have real sentimental value.”
Stick with the pieces that you love, are proud of, or that have real sentimental value.
Drape Garlands Over Your Light Fixtures
Searching for an unexpected way to make a statement? Drape garlands over your boldest light fixtures. This surprising touch is sure to turn heads. Just be sure to exercise caution—don’t put anything flammable next to anything hot.
Start by Putting Up Your Most Timeless Pieces
If the Christmas spirit strikes you well before December, put out some décor that doesn’t feel holiday-exclusive. “I like bringing out fresh décor during the fall that will last through the spring, then layering Christmas decorations on top of that so you aren’t starting from scratch,” Kristin Bartone, principal designer at Bartone Interiors, says.
These evergreen items can make your home feel more festive. And as a bonus, you won't have to take them down on December 26.
Garnish Your Gifts With Herbs and Dried Fruit
If your gifts are pretty enough, they can double as décor, and remember that wrapping paper isn’t the only thing you have to play with.
“Gifts are an often overlooked opportunity to create a custom, curated moment under your tree,” Ginger Curtis says. “A gorgeous pop of organic color could come from dried slices of lemons and oranges, a sprig of rosemary, or other greenery, tied or tucked into twine.”
Top Your Candlesticks With Ornaments
Looking for a way to repurpose old ornaments? Top some candlesticks with them. Snag candlesticks in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors. Then, put an ornament on top of each one. You can spread these decorative accents around your home, or you can cluster them together to create a striking centerpiece.
Put a Wreath in Every Window
Add a pop of décor to every room in your home by hanging a wreath in every window. “Nothing beats the charm of a simple wreath on every window,” Mary Maloney, interior designer and owner of Bee's Knees Interior Design, says.
She recommends illuminating each wreath with a sleek candle. And Andi Morse, interior designer and founder of Morse Design, recommends adding red ribbons as a finishing touch.
Pick an Untraditional Palette
One tip lots of designers have for you this holiday season? Get creative with your palette. “The most common mistake I see is thinking that Christmas décor can only consist of red and green,” Amy Studebaker, owner and principal designer at Amy Studebaker Design, says. “In fact, your Christmas décor doesn't even have to include those two colors at all!”
Becky Wright, interior designer and creator at The Sorry Girls, recommends using your home’s current palette as a starting point. “Take a look around your home, and try to find complementary colors that are already woven into your space,” she says.
Forage for Décor in Your Own Backyard
Though you may not realize it, your backyard is a treasure trove of holiday décor. So before shopping for decorations—or pulling old ones out of storage—forage for pretty pieces in your own backyard.
“I like to start foraging near my home for holly, magnolia branches, and any winter greens that are available,” Heather McKeown, interior designer and founder of Land and Sky Designs, says. The perk of this approach? You can save storage space by tossing your décor back into nature once the holidays are done.
Hang a Garland Above Your Bed
Our bedrooms may not be the first spots we think to decorate during the holiday season. But since they’re where all of us start and end each day, they deserve their own dose of holiday cheer. So add a pop of festivity by hanging a garland over your bed. You can mount it on your wall, drape it along your headboard, or use it to dress up an above-bed shelf.
Commit to Just a Few Focal Points
Contrary to popular belief, you can craft a stunning space without loading up on décor. So commit to just a few focal points—and keep the décor around them relatively sparse. “The common mistake people make is buying too much and cluttering up the entire space,” Esther Dormer, interior designer, says. “Pick a focal point and make that the main attraction and then add sparingly elsewhere.”
Ginger Curtis agrees. “If there's an explosion of Christmas—and red and green and Santas and stockings everywhere—nothing really gets a chance to shine,” she says. “Give the viewer's eyes a chance to rest and appreciate each moment.”
Fill Your Home With Candles
Candles make a classic addition to any home, and they can feel particularly cozy during the holidays. “Real candlelight—where it makes sense and is safe—always enhances the cozy factor,” Mary Maloney says. Put out all the candles you own, or stock up on a few new favorites.
Consider snagging some unscented options. That way, you can light a few without overwhelming your space.
Put a Really Great Wreath on Your Front Door
Your front door is the first thing a person will see when visiting your home. So make sure it sets the tone for your holiday décor scheme. One easy way to do this? Invest in a really great wreath, and put a different festive spin on it every single year.
“Choose a solid green wreath for your front door, and change out the décor with it year after year,” Sarah Sain, interior designer at Sain Homes, says. She recommends adorning it with a bow, outfitting it with some bells, or covering it in berry sprays.
Top Your Tables With Tiny Trees
If you’re navigating a smaller space, consider snagging a few tiny trees—and putting one on every table. “For people in small homes or apartments, I love the look of small Christmas trees on tables,” Esther Dormer says. “I think getting a big tree can be overwhelming for some smaller spaces so I’d rather see one or more small trees.”
Make Battery-Operated String Lights Your Best Friend
When stocking up on string lights, consider sticking with battery-operated options. Why? They won’t clutter up your walls with unsightly cords. “One of my favorite Christmas items are battery-operated string lights,” Esther Dormer says. “I don’t like to see electrical cords hanging so this is an easy way to avoid that cluttered look of cords.”
She recommends hanging the lights in your windows or draping them over your table. “You can also add them to Mason jars and glassware for an easy holiday decoration,” Dormer adds.
Add Pops of Cheer in Unexpected Places
Our living rooms tend to get all the holiday décor love. But adding décor to unexpected places—like your bathroom—can be a great way to make a statement. Plus, these little additions will keep you in the holiday spirit, blessing you with festive cheer when you least expect it.
Make Sure Your Home Smells Festive
Without a doubt, some of the best parts of the holidays are the lovely smells they’re known for. So don’t just think about what your home looks like—think about what it smells like, too.
“Nothing hits you faster when walking into a home than the smell of the holidays,” Maria Gerlach, lead interior designer at Retro Interiors, says. So stock up on festive candles, snag an essential oil diffuser, or keep a pot of hot cider going on your stove at all times.
Layer Plants to Create Your Own Garlands
Garlands make a classic addition to any holiday décor scheme. And you don’t have to stick with the store-bought stuff. Stock up on some greens at your local market—or grab some from your backyard—and layer them to create your own garlands.
“Layering in several different types of greens to create a wonderfully textural strand creates quite the look,” Amy Studebaker says.
Hang Your Stockings on a Ladder
Most of us keep things classic by hanging our stockings along the mantel. But if your home is mantel-free, consider draping yours over a ladder, instead. Snag rustic ladder at your local flea market, prop it against your wall, and hang a stocking from each rung. The great thing about this approach is that you can put the ladder anywhere you want to. So you can keep it close to the gifts sitting under your tree, or you can put it somewhere else entirely.
Store Your Gifts in a Sleigh
Looking for a way to make your gifts even more decorative? Store them inside a sleigh. “If you’re feeling a little put off by having to come up with creative and innovative decorating ideas, classic Christmas décor is your ally,” James Stanley, principal and founder of James StanleyNY, says, noting that “sleighs filled with beautifully wrapped gifts” are one of his favorite classic holiday accents.
Of course, this approach may be a little tough to pull off. But you can score a similarly striking look by storing your gifts in pretty woven baskets.
Keep the Focus on Coziness With a Neutral-Packed Palette
Draw inspiration from Scandinavian design by keeping your palette pared-down and by scaling the coziness in your space way up.
“The Scandinavian Christmas aesthetic is all about cultivating a minimalist, cozy feel,” Lauren DeBello, interior designer and founder of Lauren DeBello Interiors, says. “To bring this into your space at home, keep a neutral palette, and accent this neutral color palette with greenery.” Pair subtle browns, whites, and creams with textured garlands and add cozy touches wherever you can.
Turn a Candle Into an Advent Calendar
Looking for a less obvious take on the classic Advent calendar? Snag a fragrant jar candle, and transform it into one. By printing out an adhesive label—and sticking it onto your candle—you can create a candle that doubles as an Advent calendar. Just use a Sharpie to mark off each day that has passed.
DIY Some Gingerbread Décor
The holidays aren’t in full swing until you’ve crafted a gingerbread house or whipped up some gingerbread cookies. And according to James Stanley, these spicy snacks can—and should—serve as decorative accents. Put your gingerbread houses on full display, and consider hanging your gingerbread men on your tree.
“Although homemade decorations may sound like a lot of work, it’s actually relaxing and a way for the whole family to engage,” Stanley says. “Plus, gingerbread ornaments add a spicy depth to your tree.”
Take a Chance on a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
Don’t have the space for a massive, lush Christmas tree? Snag a sparse one, instead. “There's something whimsical and minimal about a Charlie Brown that just embraces simplicity in the midst of a holiday that can be overabundant,” Ginger Curtis says.
She recommends storing your Charlie Brown Christmas tree inside a basket, wrapping its base with a thick blanket, and letting that blanket drape just over the side “to add another layer of soft, wintery texture that's perfect for the holidays.”
String Your Own Garlands Using Stuff From Your Pantry
Stringing your own garlands might sound intimidating. But it’s actually pretty easy. Peruse your pantry for garland-friendly snacks, then string them on a piece of sturdy twine.
“Watch your favorite Christmas movie while you string together garlands of popcorn and cranberries,” Lida Lewis, Director of Interiors for Page, D.C., says. Then, when the holidays are over, dump the snacks in your yard for critters to enjoy.
Look for Accents That Will Reflect Your Other Décor
Magnify the impact of your entire décor scheme by sprinkling in some reflective accents. By stocking up on shiny items—like mirrors, metallic ornaments, and bits of crystal—you can reflect light and color around the room.
“Whether it be the glimmer of string lights, scented candles, or a roaring fire, warm lighting is often synonymous with holiday décor,” Heather McKeown says. “Here lies an opportunity to multiply that glow through reflections of cut crystal and mirrors.”
She recommends snagging some crystal candlesticks or repurposing an old chandelier by turning its dangly bits into ornaments.
Leave Out Plates of Festive Cookies
The next time you bake some tasty holiday snacks, put them on a pretty plate—and leave them out for all to see. Naturally, this decorative accent won’t last as long as some of your others. (The cookies will surely get eaten before December 25 arrives.) But it should make your space feel even more festive and fun.
Propagate Plants Inside Your Ornaments
Avid plant parents will be delighted to learn that you can actually propagate plants inside glass ornaments—assuming your Christmas tree gets enough light. So trim a few cuttings from a thriving plant, and slip them inside some water-filled ornaments. Avoid overfilling, and hang your ornaments with care, otherwise your ornaments may be prone to spilling.
Rearrange Your Décor Year After Year
Want to keep your tried-and-true décor feeling fresh? Consider rearranging it with each passing year, so that each décor piece is in a brand new place.
“I try to make my house look different every year without repurchasing everything by moving things to other locations,” Esther Dormer says. She notes that adding smaller accents—like lights, candles, and crystals—can also make old décor feel new again.
Hang Paper Stars and Snowflakes
Paper snowflakes may feel like a blast from the past. But they’re a surefire way to make your home feel more festive. Sit down with friends and family, fold up some paper, and start cutting. And if you’re looking for a sleeker way to get the same effect, you can always make paper stars, instead.
Let Your Bedding in on the Fun
If you’re really committed to your holiday décor scheme, consider swapping your bedding out with something more festive. “Try incorporating holiday color schemes and/or patterns into your bedding,” Maria Gerlach says. That could mean snagging a bright red bedspread, or it could mean snuggling up in some plaid flannel sheets.
Customize Your Stockings
Stockings deserve a place in any Christmas décor scheme. And if you want to make yours extra-special, customize them with personalized colors, prints, or lettering.
“There is something special about seeing your name on a stocking and knowing there will be a little surprise in there for you,” Lisa Cini says. And if you don’t want to swap out the stockings you already have, try hanging a personalized charm on each one.
Mix and Match Different Décor Trends
Mixing and matching is a key part of any décor scheme—festive or otherwise. “One mistake I see frequently is going overboard on one trend,” Lauren DeBello says. “Make sure to bring in different textures and colors so that you don’t overwhelm the space.”
She recommends starting with an accent you love, then layering in décor that complements it. Instead of pairing faux fur with more faux fur, add contrast with a sleeker accent.
Make Ornaments Out of Dried Fruit
As strange as it may sound, you can actually DIY ornaments using the content of your fruit bowl. Seriously—slice up some fruit, dry it out, and attach it to some string, and you’ll have a striking set of ornaments in no time at all.
“Using natural materials is a cost-effective and beautiful way to decorate your home. It's also a wonderful way to keep your impact on the earth in check,” Lida Lewis says. “Oven-dry thin slices of orange, lemon, and lime to hang on the tree or in the window—the light will shine through beautifully.”
Snag a Statement-Making Tree Topper
Put the finishing touches on your Christmas tree by snagging a striking tree topper. Keep it classic with a pretty angel or a sleek star—or take a risk on an outside-the-box accent. And rest assured knowing that no matter which topper you choose, you’re sure to end up with a lovely-looking tree.
Invest in Some Oversized Décor
Stockings, garlands, and other classic decorative accents are great—but they tend to be pretty small. So investing in extra-large décor—like a super-lush Christmas tree or a truly massive Advent calendar—is an easy way to make a statement.
“Get some oversized décor, if you have the room,” James Stanley says. “This is the time of the year that demands excess, therefore, more is more.”
Line Your Windows With Candles
Looking for a striking way to display your favorite candles? Consider putting one in every window in your home. “White candles in every window is a New England tradition,” Mary Maloney says. Keep things classic by sticking with streamlined white taper candles, or take a more piecemeal approach by using the candles you already have.
If you don’t feel like placing a candle in every window, consider lining your mantel with them, instead.
Wrap All Your Presents in Craft Paper
Keep your décor scheme sleek and streamlined by wrapping your gifts in matching paper. You can stick to a print or color that you love. Or you can take cues from designers and wrap your gifts in craft paper.
“We keep an industrial size roll of craft paper on hand,” Mary Maloney says. “Dress a package with a little greenery and ribbon and you are sure to delight the lucky recipient!”
Craft a Few Clay Ornaments
If you want to put effort into your DIY ornaments, consider crafting some from clay. The striking ornaments are sure to stand out—and they’ll add a welcome dose of texture to your décor scheme.
“A great way to accent a neutral color scheme is by sourcing clay or ceramic ornaments,” Lauren DeBello says. “If you like to DIY, this can also be a fun activity to do with your family—and you’ll create mementos to enjoy for years to come.”
Spring for a Snow-Kissed Tree
While you won’t be able to make it snow inside your house, you can make your home look delightfully snow-kissed. How? By snagging a white-flocked Christmas tree, or by DIYing one using flocking powder.
“Growing up in Southern California, I was fascinated by snowy Christmases that I saw on TV—magical, silvery-white winters,” James Stanley says. Because of this, he swears by a white-flocked Christmas tree. And he recommends topping the silvery-white beauties with a mix of shiny and matte ornaments.
Stick With the Same Color Family, Year After Year
Stocking up on décor can be intimidating and—let’s be real—expensive. But by sticking with the same palette year after year, you can gradually accumulate a bunch of matching décor.
“Overwhelm can easily happen with so many things to do around the holidays,” Kristin Bartone says. “Keep it simple, and pick up a few things you love. Then, stay in the same color family to make adding pieces in the future a piece of cake.”
Trade Your Go-To Bookends With Festive Figurines
Little details may seem like a waste of energy, but they won’t go unnoticed when paired with other festive décor. “Consider replacing bookends in a bookcase with whimsical holiday figures and items,” Maria Gerlach says. The small swap may not make a big impact, but it will play a role in making your space feel more festive.
DIY a Centerpiece Using Unexpected Plants
The holidays are traditionally associated with holly, berry sprays, and evergreen trees. So consider crafting a centerpiece from something less expected.
“Low bowls of potted flowers and moss make beautiful centerpieces,” Heather McKeown says. “Bulb forcers are an even easier way to grow single bulbs at a time, and look great atop mantles and in the kitchen.”
Turn Bells Into Decorative Accents
Looking for a holiday motif that’s classic but underrated? Try decorating with a few antique bells.
“By taking a pretty ribbon and tying it around an antique copper bell, you’ll have a surprisingly festive addition to any bookcase, credenza, or centerpiece,” Rachel Alcorn, principal and owner of Two Hands Interiors, says. You can also pile a few bells in a bowl for a quick-and-easy Christmas display.
Stick to Classic Prints and Textures
The holidays are filled with iconic imagery. Think: reindeer, holly leaves, gingerbread men, and more. But if you’d prefer to take things a little less literally, you can craft a classic décor scheme without using any of these images at all.
“Instead of getting a Christmas pillow with a reindeer on it, get pillows that have muted green and red tones—maybe plaids, faux furs, knitted textures, etc.” Katie Burnet, lead designer at Rumor Designs, says. She notes that these timeless prints and textures should give you “that warm cozy, Christmas vibe—without being so literal.”
Turn Your Advent Calendar into Wall Décor
If your Advent calendar is big enough—and striking enough—it could easily double as a decorative accent. So put your old favorite on full display, or snag a particularly sprawling calendar for the occasion.
Dress Up Your Garlands With Ribbons and Crystals
Your garlands may be decorative accents, but they deserve a little décor of their own. So spruce them up using ribbons, candles, string lights, and anything else you can think of.
“I add candles and ribbons and twine and sometimes crystals to them,” Esther Dormer says. “You can even add lights.” What’s nice about this approach is that it’ll keep your garlands feeling fresh, year after year.
Looking to give last year’s garlands a new look? Dress them up with different décor.
Put a Build-Your-Own Train Set on Display
Train sets are a classic motif in many Christmas displays and movies. But few of us bring them into our décor schemes. “Train sets bring back fantastic childhood memories,” James Stanley says. “Building the scenes and updating them yearly is a great way to engage the whole family.”
So flip on your favorite holiday movie, build your own train set, and leave it choo-choo-ing around your tree for the rest of the season.
Draw Attention to Your Favorite Focal Points
Lighting plays a key role in any décor scheme, and it can be a great way to draw attention to your favorite holiday pieces.
“Zero in on focal points, like the mantel, stairs, or sideboard. And make sure that your lighting highlights these areas,” Deborah Bettcher, interior designer at Decorating Den Interiors, says. “Well placed track lights, lamps, twinkle lights, and even candles will add that special sparkle.”
Tie Ribbons Around Everything
When in doubt, put a ribbon on it. This advice may sound reductive, but it’s a reliable—and easy—way to dress up your space. “One décor item that I can't live without during the holidays is velvet ribbon,” Amy Studebaker says. “Tying bows on sconces or weaving yards of rich-colored velvet into garlands is a sumptuous addition to elevate any look.”
Rachel Alcorn takes a similar approach. “You could also tie ribbon around the handle of a pitcher, the base of a lamp, the middle of a candlestick, and of course around a wreath,” she says. “We love how this uses your everyday décor and takes it up a notch for the holidays.”
Snag a Set of Holiday Dishes
It may not be necessary to own a separate set of dishes to use during the holidays. But it can certainly make the season feel a lot more ceremonial, so consider snagging some festive plates, bowls, or glasses this holiday season. At the very least, you can treat yourself to a fun holiday mug.
Group Your Décor in Threes
Stocking up on décor is one thing, and actually arranging that decor is another. Thankfully, one designer has a tip that should make it a little easier: decorate in threes.
“With your Christmas décor, try clumping items together in groups of three or more,” James Stanley says, adding that this is particularly important for smaller décor items—like candles, bulbs, and bows. By clustering these accents together, you can lend them more visual impact, helping them hold their own against larger, more statement-making pieces.
Line Your Mantel With Holiday Cards
Lining your mantel with holiday cards may be an obvious choice. But it’s the kind of tried-and-true tradition that never gets old.
“My favorite Christmas décor is very much intertwined with family traditions,” Andi Morse says. And if you don’t have a fireplace mantel, consider displaying your cards on a prominent shelf, instead.
Tell a Story With Your Tablescape
Many of us decorate our tables using one big centerpiece. But Maria Gerlach advocates for a different approach: “Decorate table runners with an arrangement of new and old holiday items to create a holiday-themed landscape, rather than a single centerpiece item.” Stock up on an array of pretty pieces, and let them form a striking tablescape that covers your table from end to end.
Add a Pop of Nostalgia With a Fiber-Optic Tree
A teeny-weeny fiber-optic Christmas tree may take you back to your dorm room days. But hey—there’s nothing wrong with a pop of nostalgia.
“I have this mini fiber-optic Christmas tree that I've had in my childhood bedroom since I was 10, and I bring out every year,” Kelsey MacDermaid says. “I love that it gives that sense of nostalgia as well as décor.”
Decorate the Space Around Your Fireplace
Many of us see the fireplace as a go-to place to store gifts. But since it’s such a focal point, doesn’t it deserve a little décor, too? Lindye Galloway, founder and Chief Creative Officer at Lindye Galloway Studio, recommends using lanterns and blanket-filled baskets to get the job done.
“It is a great way to bring about the festive Christmas feeling within your home,” she says.
Snag a Set of Holiday Hand Towels
Festive hand towels may be one of the last decorative items you think to buy this holiday season. But little details, like these, can go a long way in making your home feel more festive.
“These items add warmth and character to your home, allowing you to really immerse yourself in the holiday spirit,” Maria Gerlach says. Naturally, she recommends scoring a set of “holiday hand towels”—or adding some other bit of décor to your bathroom.
Turn Pinecones Into Pops of Décor
There’s a lot to love about pinecones. They’re textured and structural, and they can easily serve as a pop of décor. “One great natural option is to use pinecones,” Esther Dormer says. “I like to add glitter to some and to leave some plain.” And Mary Maloney agrees, noting that you can add pinecones to your garlands to make them look more textured and dynamic.
Hang Your Stockings on Your Christmas Tree
Instead of hanging stockings along your mantel, consider hanging them directly on your Christmas tree. This striking choice is sure to turn heads. Plus, it’ll save you some decorating time—you’ll hang your stockings and adorn your tree in one fell swoop.
Set the Scene With a Festive Doormat
Give your houseguests something festive to wipe their feet on every time they come over. Sure, a holiday doormat isn’t a must-have—but it’s a fun way to welcome your guests to your home and spread some holiday cheer.
Fill Vases and Bowls With Festive Baubles
DIY décor may sound intimidating. But it’s often as simple as snagging some pretty ornaments and tossing them in a bowl—seriously. “If you want a glam look, run to the dollar store where you can buy bags of inexpensive baubles,” Mark Cutler and Nichole Schulze say. “Use them to fill vases and decorative bowls to add to a holiday tablescape.”
Color-Coordinate the Ornaments on Your Tree
Covering your tree in souvenirs can be a lot of fun. But if you’ve amassed so many ornaments that your tree is looking cluttered, consider picking a color scheme for your tree—and only hang ornaments that fall within that palette.
“We only have room for one Christmas tree, so we pick a colorway for each year,” Mimi Meacham says. “Then, we combine it with all of the sentimental ornaments we've collected and the kids have made through the years.”
Hang Some Décor in Your Kitchen
During the holidays, we log a lot of hours in the kitchen—cooking meals, baking sweet treats, and maybe even whipping up batches of mulled wine. So shouldn’t we decorate it as thoroughly as we deck out the rest of the house?
“So many hours are spent in the kitchen,” Sarah Sain says. “Adding a garland, some wooden beads, and even some twinkle lights can help to make that space feel a little magical at Christmastime.”
Line Your Bookshelves With Décor
Once you’ve amassed a collection of festive figurines, you may be hard-pressed to find places to put them. One great—and often overlooked—option? Your bookshelves. Though your bookshelves may be outfitted with traditional home décor, they still deserve a dose of holiday cheer. So use them to house your favorite nutcrackers, baubles, sculptures, and more.
DIY a Festive Table Setting
Setting the table may sound like a chore. But it’s a great way to lend your dining room some Christmas cheer. Put out your favorite holiday dinnerware, and snag some festive napkins, and bring the look together with a table runner that matches your holiday palette of choice.
Turn Your Tree Into an Advent Calendar
Don’t feel like snagging a standalone Advent calendar? Turn your tree into one, instead. Paint your ornaments to signify the days of the month, and hang them as each day passes. Since there are no tiny gifts to open, you won’t have to worry about replenishing the Advent calendar year after year. Instead, you can simply whip out the tree and the ornaments and get to work.
Spring for a Surprising Pop of Color
Craving a Christmas palette that’s traditional, but just a little bit playful? Stick to classic colors. Then, sprinkle in a couple surprising shades. “Insert a pop of color for some added Christmas cheer,” Deborah Bettcher says.
Set the scene with timeless reds, greens, whites, silvers, or golds. Then, liven things up with a vibrant coral or a striking peacock blue.
Put a Skirt Around Your Christmas Tree
“The Christmas tree skirt gets little attention and praise,” Lisa Cini says. “But before all the gifts start to pile up, it creates the visual for the whole room.” So if you’re looking for an unexpected way to set the scene in your space, consider grounding your Christmas tree with a pretty skirt. And if you have a few trees, buy a skirt for each of them. “Having multiple trees allows you to have multiple skirts and decoration looks,” Cini adds.
Keep Things Simple by Choosing a Décor Theme
There’s a lot to do during the holiday season. So there’s no shame in keeping things when you can. One way to do this? Choose a single theme for this year’s holiday décor, and leave anything that doesn’t suit the theme in storage.
“I think it is best to try to stick to a theme and simplify your décor selections to create the most beautiful look,” Heather McKeown says. “This often means not using all—or even most—of the decorations you have collected over the years simultaneously.”
What’s nice about this approach is that it should keep your décor scheme feeling fresh, year after year. “Doing a sugared fruit tree one year, and then a pink and clear ornament tree the next, will keep your designs feeling fresh every year rather than redundant,” McKeown adds.
Treat Yourself to a Set of Classic Ball Ornaments
Ball ornaments are a fan-favorite for a reason: they’re sleek, striking, and sure to play well with just about any décor scheme.
“Don't underestimate the touches a few glass ornaments can make,” Rachel Alcorn says. “By taking your existing decorative bowls and adding beautiful ornaments, you can make a big impact with minimal time and money investment.” You can also keep things classic by hanging the ornaments on your tree.
Put Your Family on Décor Duty
Abdicating your decorative authority may seem like a bold move. But it can be a great way to make the holidays feel festive and fun again.
“Every other time of the year, the home is my domain. And making it a sanctuary is my calling,” Emily Yeates says. “But from fall through winter, the only designers in my house are my two Christmas-crazy kids!” Sure, this may mean embracing a slightly less-perfect holiday décor scheme. But isn’t there something kind of delightful about rogue Christmas lights and haphazardly placed ornaments?
Set the Scene for Cozy Christmas Cheer
When decorating, try to optimize for coziness wherever you can. After all, a well-decorated space isn’t just meant to be looked at—it’s meant to be lived-in and enjoyed. “Christmas is about surprises, connection, and love,” Lisa Cini says. “Décor should not make people feel uncomfortable—it goes against everything Christmas stands for. Decorate with warmth and love, inviting others to share in the season.”
And Maria Gerlach agrees: “In the end, the home is about people, family, and gatherings. Décor should be a background element that enhances ambiance.”