Bring cheer to your house this holiday season with these easy decorating ideas.
Accent a bright white door with the deep colors of an evergreen wreath and garland. Tie on extra-wide red ribbons to complete the Christmas look and add graphic punch. Twinkling lights add a soft glow at night and allow the door and decor to be seen from the street.
Greet guests with a bright arrangement of seasonal paperwhites, heather, juniper, and moss in a planter that hangs directly on your front door.
Convey a cozy welcome with a garden-inspired holiday decorating theme. Rustic aluminum containers on the door, porch, and stairs offer casual Christmas appeal when filled with herbs and bright accents, such as red amaryllis blooms and berries.
Top off a square mailbox with an abundant bouquet of winter plants. Fill a wide, shallow planter with a mix of pansies, flowering cabbage, cedar, fir, lavender, and rosemary trimmed to resemble a Christmas tree. Tuck in ornaments and oversize pinecones to add color and fill in gaps.
Consider using a two-piece wreath to adorn a double-door entry. Start with a wreath that has a sturdy base so it will hold its shape. Fresh evergreen was used here, but a grapevine wreath will work just as well. Cut the wreath in half lengthwise with sturdy wire clippers. Use florist wire to attach evergreen clippings, fruits, and ribbons. Securely hang half of the wreath on each door so the two meet in the center when the doors are closed.
Wrap sheer ribbon loosely around a pine garland and drape the garland around the mailbox. Wire clusters of bright nandina berries to the top of the post, and finish with a big bow for an eye-catching Christmas flourish.
Arrange a grouping of festive lanterns at your entryway for quick-and-easy holiday style. Consider using flameless candles as a worry-free alternative to regular pillars.
Give your wreaths a custom look by stretching round ones to create an oval shape, perfect for double doors. Create a swag by attaching Christmas greenery to PVC pipe with wire, and suspend it above the door using wire secured to eye hooks screwed into the ceiling.
No need to reinvent your decorations each Christmas; stick with the familiar. It’s ok to use the same ornaments every year! Decorate with vintage glass ornaments and ornaments given to you by friends and family.
Create an elegant Christmas centerpiece with red roses surrounded by white tallow berries in silver vases made to resemble
birch bark. Tuck pieces of boxwood garland and sprigs of berries around the base of the vases; add votives to finish the look.
Tallow Berries: from Flower Depot Store; flowerdepotstore.com
Vases: Bark vases in polished aluminum by Michael Aram; michaelaram.com
Make your own custom napkin rings by spray-painting cedar roses (the opened cones of the deodar cedar tree) silver and gluing
them atop 2-inch-wide red ribbon. Tuck in a sprig of boxwood for an extra flourish.
Cedar Rose Heads: from Dried Flowers “R” Us; driedflowersrus.com
Dress up pendant lights in a kitchen or over an island with garland. This kitchen allows plenty of room for entertaining. The open floor plan keeps the cook from being cut off from the festivities on Christmas morning.
Pretty up your presents by attaching bells or ornaments. Use the same color ribbon on all your packages under the Christmas
tree to make a cohesive look with different patterned wrapping papers.
Wrapping Paper: from Snow & Graham; snowandgraham.com.
Pull together a quick and easy advent wreath by grouping pillar candles wrapped with strands of thread and arranging them in a large wooden bowl filled with dried black-eyed peas, pomegranates, and artichokes.
Don’t neglect outdoor patios and porches in your Christmas decorating. Wreaths, candles, and large glowing orbs draw guests outside to cozy up by the fire.
Play up the architecture of your home by accentuating features, like the stately columns flanking this front porch, with spiraling garland and bright Christmas lights.
Disguise unsightly wires from string lights by winding them around a column or post with Christmas greenery or garland and setting a pretty container of ornamental cabbage or kale at the base.
Create an opulent feel without overwhelming the space by decorating your Christmas tree with a limited color scheme of silver, gold, and bronze.
Use peacock feathers in lieu of traditional holiday flowers for a mantel that makes a statement. When paired with mirrored ornaments and curly willow branches they add just enough color to complement the Christmas tree.
Plan Christmas decorations to work with your existing decor, even if that means using unexpected colors like cream and beige.
Accents in shades of gold and silver blend seamlessly with this room’s soft white-and-ivory color scheme and play off the
tones of other metallic accessories, like the coffee table.
Gold Christmas Trees: from The Great Big Greenhouse & Nursery; greatbiggreenhouse.com or (804) 320-1317.
Pair preprinted gift tags that reinforce your Christmas decorating scheme with boxes wrapped in chocolate and metallic papers to add character under the tree.
Transform a coffee table into a wrapped Christmas present by crisscrossing strands of ribbon over the top and sides for a giftlike effect. Silver family heirlooms add to the sparkly decorating theme.
Use spray paint to add a shimmery touch to pinecones, acorns, or round glass ornaments. Displayed en masse in tall glass vases,
they become instant and easy Christmas accents.
Glass Cylinder Vases: Crate & Barrel; crateandbarrel.com or 1-800-967-6696.
Metallic Ornaments: Crate & Barrel; crateandbarrel.com or 1-800-967-6696.
Create a unified and sophisticated alternative to mismatched Christmas ornaments with glittering balls and stars in various finishes.
Drape garland up the handrail of a staircase, and anchor it with gold bows for a Christmas welcome in the foyer.
Forgo the traditional single wreath on a front door and welcome Christmas guests instead with three miniature wreaths. Attached to a long piece of ribbon, the smaller wreaths are ideal for a glass-front door.
Make a quick switch from everyday to holiday by swapping out your throw pillows. It’s an inexpensive and easy way to redecorate
a room and change your look for the Christmas season.
Holiday Decorating: Chris Carter of Christopher Glenn, Inc.; (205) 870-1236.
Pillows (in wing chairs): Judy Ross Textiles; judyrosstextiles.com for retailers or (212) 842-1705.
Break away from the classic red-and-green Christmas palette. No nutcrackers, reindeers, or Santas necessary. Instead, add red-and-white accents, such as polished pomegranates and star of Bethlehem blooms, for a subtler look.
Turn silver and mercury-glass vases and candlesticks into festive Christmas accents by arranging them in groups.
Create a traditional swag on the mantel with surprisingly nontraditional materials. Thin tree branches and birch bark shavings
make up this rustic swag in the living room. Red berries and frosted Christmas trees in varying heights lend holiday touches
to the natural arrangement, which could be used throughout the fall and winter seasons.
Birch logs: Decorative Birch Logs from J.N. Firewood; jnfirewood.com or 1-800-630-2960.
Compose Christmas arrangements of paperwhites planted in everyday glassware and shallow bowls. The bulbs’ size and shape make them perfect for a kitchen countertop or breakfast table. Paperwhites don’t require soil; they can be grown in pebbles and water.
Create a tiny breakfast nook in the kitchen by fitting an upholstered banquette and small table into a corner. It’s an ideal spot for enjoying a quick meal, cup of coffee, or Christmas treat.
A traditional element in all Southern Christmas decorating, the magnolia wreath is given a modern makeover with a square shape.
Wide white ribbon keeps the embellishment to a minimum and the focus on the room’s tall, paned windows.
Hang twinkling Christmas lights on a fountain or stone wall in the garden to create a striking winter focal point from your patio or porch. Even if it’s too cold to entertain outside, you''ll enjoy the soft cozy glow through the windows.
Use simple sprigs of greenery in colorful glass vases or jars for a quick and easy arrangement on the coffee table. Tie ribbon or fabric scraps strung with brightly colored Christmas ornaments around the neck of the vase for added detail.
Create a comfy spot for kids to open presents on Christmas morning by having fluffy and whimsical red-dotted floor cushions or pillows made, monogrammed with children’s names.
Decorate your Christmas tree with long, cascading tendrils of colorful ribbon, rickrack, and pom-pom fringe. Search the remnants section of a fabric-and-trim store for good deals on pieces that are at the end of a roll or odd-sized, and collect throughout the year. Attach ribbon directly to an embroidery hoop and then simply slide over the top of your tree.
Hang a wreath from a curtain rod over a set of windows to avoid filling the wall or woodwork with nail holes. Held up by long strands of colorful ribbon with Christmas ornaments tied to the ends, it’s a fresh and youthful look for a standard evergreen.
Beautiful evergreen wreaths hung with simple red ribbon lend an elegant and festive appearance to this white farmhouse. Achieve the same look at your home by hanging simple matching wreaths on your doors and windows.
Use a glass hurricane or vase to create an arrangement that will last throughout the Christmas season by filling the jar with a layer of limes, red holly berries, and lemons. Top it off with stems of greenery.
Use simple and inexpensive burlap fabric from the fabric store to fashion handmade Christmas stockings, hand-stitched along the edges with twine. Mismatched letters, found at flea markets, add a personal touch.
Tie this Christmas look together with a mix of materials. Burlap and solid brown and white papers on the presents are in keeping with the room’s color palette. Natural elements, like wood tags, adorn the gifts.
Skip the usual metal stand and instead use a natural woven basket to hold your Christmas tree. You’ll likely still need to
support the trunk inside the basket with a stand, but the results are much more beautiful.
Basket (as tree base): Large Round Rush Planter from Coco Company, (847) 398-2626.
Add a bit of shine to an organic look with oversize mercury-glass balls, which can be used to adorn the Christmas tree or
piled up in a basket by the fireplace. Their large size is unique and adds impact.
Mercury-Glass Ornaments: Mercury Glass Ornaments (small, medium, and large) from Napa Style; napastyle.com or 1-866-776-6272.
Basket (with mercury balls): vintage cherry basket, from Pieces, Inc.; piecesinc.com or (404) 869-2476.
Hang a disco ball from the ceiling to float above the Christmas tree. A flocked tree needs a festive punch, so it can’t get
away with just a run-of-the-mill star. The bow, with its long ribbon tendrils, adds the real wow factor.
Disco Ball: 12" Mirror Ball from Spencer’s; spencersonline.com or 1-800-762-0419.
Ribbons: all from Midori; midoriribbon.com or 1-800-659-3049.
Keep the color scheme consistent by introducing only shades of white and aqua or turquoise. The bright, colorful beaded garland is a dramatic contrast against the Christmas tree's stark white branches.
Embellish gifts with Christmas ornaments that coordinate with your decor. These packages are adorned with mini disco balls to mimic the topper and tied with the same ribbons that cascade down the tree.
Repeat shapes on the Christmas tree that appear in the room. The round ornaments on this tree echo the extra-large curtain rod finials and pom-pom fringe on the pillow. Mini disco balls are tiny reminders of the topper.
Make a custom Christmas tree skirt using fabrics from other upholstered pieces, like chairs, pillows, or even the sofa, in the room. Save scraps from your decorating projects to piece together in alternating rings.
Bunch fresh holly from the yard and large gold temple bells on top of the Christmas tree for a bold use of traditional materials.
Experiment with different toppers using fresh greenery or flowers―nice decorating alternatives to the typical star.
Temple Bells (for tree topper): by Roost; roostco.com for retailers or (415) 339-9500.
Cluster small Christmas ornaments together for a big impact. These tiny jingle bells recall the larger ones on top of the tree and are so charming when used in abundance. Simply thread them together with string and hang.
Make your own gingerbread man gift tags out of playing cards. Use a cookie cutter to trace the shape onto a deck of cards. Cut out and punch a hole in the tops to string onto Christmas gifts or ribbons. Bright paper finishes the look.
Stage a royal welcome by hanging lanterns from shepherd hooks anchored in galvanized washtubs planted with ivy. Topped with
a faux cardinal, this seasonal lighting solution helps introduce your Christmas decorating theme right at the front door.
For a red-carpet look, create a clever runner with tartan fabric and green burlap that spans from the door to the steps. Hold
the runner in place with heavy-duty double-sided tape from the hardware store.
Lanterns and Lantern Stakes: For a similar look, try Pottery Barn; potterybarn.com.
Punctuate a traditional Christmas color scheme with bursts of bright white tulips. Available year-round from the florist or grocery store, tulips are a fresh alternative to other holiday flowers and look great when used en masse.
Let your decorations double as goodie bags. These faux cardinals roost on baskets of treats that can be gifts for departing guests or something extra on Christmas morning.
Let Christmas guests come in jeans, but dress your chairs to impress. Wrap chairs in cummerbund fashion with a band of burlap as the base and tartan on the top. Tie with wide red grosgrain ribbon, and secure all cloth with an oversize laundry pin. Add a few jaunty pheasant feathers, and use scissors to make inch-wide cuts along the bottom of the burlap for a fringed look.
Place boot trays end to end down the center of the table. Seal the trays with silicon caulk before filling them with water
and floating candles for a glowing Christmas display.
Boot Tray: For a similar look, try the Mudroom Boot Tray from Williams-Sonoma; williams-sonoma.com
Adorn windows with a winter scene. A pair of cardinals perched on a birch log and fresh greenery add Christmas color to bare
Cardinals: Barnard, Ltd.; barnardltd.com
Make your own Christmas tree topper. Cut from ½-inch-thick foam core board, this star topper is covered with tartan and edged
with ½-inch ribbon. Decorated with a trio of jingle bells, it’s studded with plaid buttons that add interest.
Buttons: CafePress; cafepress.com.
Create a memorable Christmas tree that coordinates with your decorating theme by using only a few types of ornaments. Silver tassels are finished with double knots of plaid. Red birds hunker down in cozy nests, and shiny bells lure kids of all ages to give a little jingle. Wooden craft-store disks, covered with plaid paper (photocopied from fabric), take the place of traditional glass balls.
Save money by making your own Christmas gift tags. Use a color copier to make copies of tartan fabric, and cut it into rectangles to create gift tags. Add bells as a finishing touch.
Give a dining room double-duty with built-in bookshelves that help transform the room into a library when it is not in use. These shelves were crafted from gypsum drywall, instead of wood, for a more modern profile.
Place a round table in a square-shaped room for easier Christmas entertaining. The circular shape encourages conversation flow between all guests, so you’re not stuck talking just to the people on either side of you. An oversize lantern casts a romantic glow and is a fresh alternative to a traditional chandelier.
Use heirlooms in your Christmas decorating. Don’t forsake your sentimental hand-me-downs. Instead, showcase them by putting them on display: This mahogany buffet fits perfectly into a niche built just for it. Update the pieces with modern accessories, such as a pair of mod white lamps, which help a traditional piece of furniture blend seamlessly with more modern tastes.
Add symmetry to a room with matching pairs of items. A set of old stools, recovered in lush brown mohair, flank the arched entry to the room, along with two identical framed mirrors. The stools can act as extra seating for Christmas entertaining, and the mirrors help to visually enlarge the small space.
Surprise your Christmas party guests with a thoughtful take-home gift. These so-Southern magnolia tree saplings from Florida-based
Seeds of Life are an ecofriendly way to say “thanks for coming.” The trees are packaged in natural jute and come with care
instructions so that your gift will last way past the dinner party. Tie on personalized gift tags to each tree for the finishing
Seeds of Life: $44 each, from seedsoflife.com
Pull elements from your home’s decor right into the center of the action by dressing up your outdoor furniture. Have throws available to let Christmas guests know you have their comfort in mind.
Send your guests away with something thoughtful to mark the occasion by wrapping a simple vase in burlap. Tuck in some holly and Star of Bethlehem for added Christmas embellishment, and display them by the door or gate so that friends can pick them up as they depart.
Dress up the backs of your outdoor chairs by tying graceful swags of magnolia leaves and eucalyptus sprigs to each arm with a festive Christmas ribbon. Be sure to attach the trimmings in a manner that won’t crowd someone when seated.
Suspend lanterns from the underside of a patio umbrella with ribbon. Try to vary the lengths and space them far enough apart so that a passing breeze won’t knock them together. Choose natural elements such as holly berries and eucalyptus sprigs instead of candles to fill the lanterns. This special touch reinforces your overall Christmas decorating theme.
Small grapevine napkin rings tied onto cloth napkins with ribbon are a subtle nod to traditional wreaths. Little touches like this will help complete your Christmas decorating theme without going over the top.
Don’t relegate flowers and centerpieces to the dining room table. Instead, set up a casual Christmas breakfast buffet on a kitchen island that’s accented with fresh greenery and blooms. Draw attention to a hanging light fixture by attaching a standard grapevine wreath to the bottom and embellishing it with eucalyptus and red orchids, a sophisticated twist on red and green.
Bring out the kid in everyone with a decorate-your-own cupcake station. Serve vanilla and chocolate cupcakes on a table with assorted buttercreams and fun red and green Christmas toppings.
Fast can be fabulous. If you can hold a bunch of lilies in your hand and wrap the stems with rubber bands, you can whip up
a knockout arrangement that's ideal for your buffet. Start with a silver casserole dish. Gather 8 to 12 stems of 'Casablanca'
lilies in one hand, and cut stems so they're about 15 inches long. Wrap a rubber band around the stems at the top and another
about 5 inches from the bottom. Insert the bundle into the center of a piece of water-soaked florist foam fitted into a casserole
dish. Wrap stems with crisscrossed ribbon to hide the rubber bands. Add evergreens to the florist foam, and tie on ornaments
Florist Tip Mix gold and silver. We layered two kinds of gold ribbon and then added large and small shiny and matte silver balls.
For a twist on tradition, switch out evergreen wreaths for ones made of branches, like these willow versions lightly sprayed with flat white paint.
In celebration of the kitchen staple's 100th birthday, we're whipping up do-it-yourself Mason jar snow globes. All you need
to create your own are jars in assorted sizes (here, 8, 16, and 32 ounces), waterproof superglue, trinkets (we used mini Christmas
trees, but anything from ornaments to small toys will work), glycerin (available at crafts stores), and glitter.
Pair velvety red with chartreuse green to give the classic Christmas colors a fresh update. Start with a silver punch bowl.
Round shapes work best here. To make arranging easier in a wide container, use tape to make a grid across the top of the punch
bowl. Add chartreuse-colored hydrangeas at each corner. Then add flowering cabbage toward the center and sides of the bowl,
and pack in roses between the hydrangeas. Fill in with sprigs of red hypericum berries and white pine.
Florist Tip Rotate the centerpiece to make sure it looks full from every angle. Add more hydrangeas, if needed.
Make color copies of your favorite tartan fabric, cut it into squares, and place in photo coasters for Christmas entertaining.
This warm and cozy backyard retreat is decorated for the season. A beautiful Christmas tree takes center stage while the mantle is adorned with fresh greenery. A simple wreath above the fireplace completes the stunning scene.
Set the scene with beautifully packaged gifts under the tree. Try a traditional, natural, vintage, or glitzy look for picture-perfect packages.
This holiday hostess enlisted her childhood collection of Steinbach nutcrackers to hold gold-scripted place cards that match the menu cards. A gold foil holly sprig adorns both.
Twirl topiaries with fruit. Start with two bonbon compotes. Hot-glue sheet moss to a plastic-foam cone. Stick florist clay
adhesive (joann.com) to the bottom of the compote, and press the cone onto it. Attach a row of green plums (or Key limes) by skewering with a
wooden pick and inserting into cone in an upward swirl. Glue scabiosa pods and dried hydrangea blossoms next. Repeat. Skewer
a pineapple (spray-painted gold) with a wooden pick, and insert into top of topiary.
Florist Tip Spray-paint the dried hydrangeas white. (We used Design Master Colortool Floral Spray paint in Flat White; joann.com.)
Accessorize your home with fresh holiday blooms that add bold, seasonal style. To create this look, cut a few branches of yaupon holly (loaded with berries) and red cedar to mix with the scarlet blooms of 'Red Lion' amaryllis.
Stack three small evergreen wreaths for a long and loopy design that adds visual impact to traditional front door Christmas decor. Tie the wreaths together with wire so they appear to be connected. Finish off with fresh pinecones and ribbon.
Swap a poinsettia’s standard plastic pot for a basket lined with moss. You can hang it inside or out for a unique Christmas display. We love poinsettias for their range of colors and sizes. They’ll offer nonstop color well into the New Year if you place them in a cool, well-lit room and keep the soil moist but not wet. Big no-no: Don’t let plants sit in a water-filled sleeve―they’ll rot.
Pressed for time but want a big show? Fit a 7-gallon magnolia into a decorative planter, and fill in around the edges with spray-painted magnolia branches and sprigs of seeded eucalyptus. After the holidays, plant the magnolia in the garden. Designed to come together quickly, the look is easy to tailor. Change the plants or colors to suit your taste.
To create a poinsettia tree, follow these instructions: First, cut the larger blooms, leaving about 6 inches of stem. Sear them quickly to stop sap from dripping out. Sap should bubble under the candle flame, and the ends of the stems will turn black. You may also need to sear the points where larger leaves were removed along the stems. Insert each seared stem into a water-filled florist tube. Stems are hollow and will absorb water after being seared. Place the stems into the base of the ivy topiary. Then repeat this process with the medium-size and smaller poinsettia blooms, cutting the stems so they're about 4 inches long. Insert blossoms into the topiary, working your way toward the top. Once it's complete, care is simple—just add water to the tubes every few days, as needed.
Give your gifts decor-worthy style with patterned papers, wide satin ribbons, and clever tie-ons.
Give traditional ornaments a monochromatic look by spray-painting them all white. It's an easy way to update old ornaments or create an instant collection that feels familiar and loved.
Don't let the look get too serious! To make your own tree topper, bundle together a group of curly silver sticks, and wire
it to the top of the tree.
Use a footed silver serving tray to display a sumptuous centerpiece with vintage ornaments and clippings from the garden. Start with Southern classics: boxwood, pine, and magnolia. Next add large ball ornaments, followed by crocosmia pods, pinecones, and abelia whose flowers have dropped, leaving a showy flourish of pink sepals on the tips of branches. Finish with delicate sprigs of evergreens, dried shelf mushrooms attached to florist picks, and smaller ornaments.
Layer varying widths of ribbon on top of each other for a pretty presentation. Finish off packages with colored tags embellished with calligraphy.
Play off the abundance of round ornaments with a large paper lantern on top. Float the lantern by hanging it from a bow attached
to the ceiling, letting the ribbon cascade down the tree for effect.
Use candy-colored ornaments and garlands that look like jewelry for a glitzy look. Simple round ornaments in glossy peach and aqua stand out just enough from the white branches and the metallic beaded garland coordinates with all the other sherbet shades in the room.
Look for out-of-the-way display areas, such as the top of a chest, to add sparkle and shine. Whether your vignette stays up year-round—like this collection of mercury glass—or is seasonal, keep the fluffing simple so it doesn't compete. Just cut appropriate lengths of fresh magnolia, boxwood, pine, fir, winterberry, and American cranberry bush berries to fit vessels.
Extend the tree's color palette to the presents underneath by mixing cheery green-and-white paper with handmade tags and white ribbon.
Get inspired by nature and layer for lushness. Across the top of the mantel, arrange a thick length of garland. Wire a green bow to the middle, and then artfully weave the ribbon tails throughout. Work in pinecones, berry branches, and various greenery sprigs for color and texture.
Tie an oversize apricot bow with the ends cascading down the tree for extra drama. No bow-tying skills? Have a local florist
make one for minimal cost.
A collection of fluted vases, julep cups, and chalices makes it easy to display (and replace) choice blooms throughout the season. The foliage base will take you well past New Year's; and the flowers will last five days. To creat this look, begin with a base of silver artificial garland. Then tuck in layers of two kinds of fresh eucalyptus (silver dollar and seeded), as well as dusty miller placed in water tubes. Add silver brunia, white ranunculus, star of Bethlehem, 'Sahara' roses, eucalyptus pods, succulents, and snowberries to vases and along the mantel.
Use several different-shaped ornaments in shades of blue, cranberry, and silver. And make sure they all sparkle to truly light up the season! Then, find the glitziest beads you can (we used silver mica foam balls), and string them together with a needle and monofilament (fishing line).