Spaces You Shouldn't Skip Out On When it Comes To Decorating For The Holidays

Ranch House Living Room with Mantel Decorated at Christmas
Photo: Marta Xochilt Perez; Styling: Jenny O’Connor

When the holidays roll around, there's no doubt you'll find us trimming the tree and hanging fresh greenery. Whether you're putting the tree up the day after Thanksgiving or prefer to wait until the first day of December, that's up to you; but as Southerners, we are not shy when it comes to adding holiday cheer to our homes. For some, that might mean keeping it simple with an ornament-filled Christmas tree in the living room or wreaths adorning the exterior windows to boost curb appeal. But for many, extending the joy to almost every nook and cranny is the only way. While some spaces are more obvious backdrops when it comes to decking the halls, there are many less-expected spaces around your home that deserve a festive touch as well. Go big with your tree, but don't be afraid to add a bud vase, holiday collection, or garland here and there. And don't forget, making your home the ultimate winter wonderland goes beyond just looks—a cozy ambiance means considering scents and sounds too. Break out the Frasier fir and chestnut-scented candles, have those Christmas carols and Frank Sinatra playing all season long, and keep the fire blazing. So whether you're just looking for inspiration for a few spots or going all-out this holiday season, we have you covered.

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The Foyer

Blue and white foyer decorated for Christmas with greenery and red and blue ribbons
Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

If you have a foyer with an entry table, this is a great place to add a festive touch. Not only does it immediately welcome your guests with holiday cheer as they enter your home, but you also get to enjoy it daily. Here, the homeowner displays potted paperwhites and a hurricane candleholder filled with cranberries alongside a bud vase of red flowers. Find what works for your space—a bowl of shiny ornaments, a nativity or figurine collection, or floral arrangement.

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The Stairwell

Staircase Garland with Gold and Lavender Accents
Laurey W. Glenn; Floral Design: Mary Cox Brown; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Like the Christmas tree, a garland cascading down your stairwell is a must. From evergreen to magnolia leaves, it's up to you to choose the one that is right for your rail. Whether you keep it simple with just the greenery or twirl it up with ribbons, berries, special ornaments, or even lights, a garland is the festive touch that makes a big difference.

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The Kitchen

Citrus and Ribbon Garland in Kitchen
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lilt Floral Design

In the South, the kitchen is the hub of a home, and the holiday season is no exception. No matter where the party is actually set up, everyone inevitably ends up gathering in the kitchen. While it needs to remain highly functional for the endless cooking, baking, and hosting, that doesn't mean it should be forgotten when it comes to decor. Go high with greenery by hanging it above windowsills and cabinetry to avoid cluttering the countertops. Fill windowsills with paperwhites or orchids. Hang wreaths on cabinetry doors or in the windows. Accent with aromatic dried citrus slices or bowls brimming with fresh oranges. For fragrance, keep a pot of holiday potpourri simmering on the stove.

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Pass-Through Spaces and Nooks

Magnolia Foliage in Wooden Vase
Antonis Achilleos; Produced By Buffy Hargett Miller

Have a hallway table, dresser, or bookshelf that could use some cheer? Consider a bowl of fragrant pomanders or a tall vase filled with bright holly berries or magnolia branches. (If kept in fresh water, the berries should last up to three weeks.) A quick pop of green or red can transform an otherwise lackluster space.

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The Powder Room

Charlotte Lucas Spartanburg, SC Purple and Turquoise Powder Room Decorated for Christmas
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Elly Poston Cooper

From festive tea towels to fresh greenery, there are plenty of ways to give your power room a holiday feel without overwhelming the small space. Here, designer Charlotte Lucas opted for an evergreen wreath with simple embellishments in non-traditional Christmas colors. The bud vase brimming with peachy and white roses ties in with the wreaths' ribbon.

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The Bar

Bookcase with Cedar Garland
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Page Mullins

Don't let the peppermint schnapps and sparkling cider be the only festive things on your bar cart. When the entertaining is at its height, don't forget the bar: From garnishes to garlands, let greenery embellish your setup. Don't forget to pull out your favorite celebratory cocktail napkins, silver goblets, and gold rimmed coupes. And yes, it's time to pull out that Santa-inspired wine bottle cover that's been hiding away since last season too.

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The Dining Room

Christmas Decorating Ideas: Family Heirlooms
Photo by Erica George Dines

While we love a dining table centerpiece and keeping the table decorated all season long, hanging greenery brings a cheery touch without overwhelming the space or getting in the way. Here, the homeowner hung a wreath over the sideboard. No sideboard? Opt for hanging it from above the window frame on a long ribbon or dress up a bare wall. Bonus: if you have a plate wall or china cabinet—be sure to display your favorite Christmas dishes!

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The Front Door

Natural Front Door
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Boost your winter curb appeal with a fa-la-la front porch. For effortless flair, add a wreath that suits your decorating personality—red bows, dried flowers, or magnolias all bring the fun. If you're looking to go big, fill the planters with poinsettias and dress up the porch railing or hand rail with a sturdy garland that will last through the winter months.

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The Living Room

Dana Wolter Living Room Decoated for Christmas
Laurey W. Glenn

The living room might be the traditional home of the Christmas tree, but don't let that be the only burst of holiday cheer. Consider adding a few touches throughout the room too. If you have a fireplace with a mantle, a garland and stockings are classic. For other less-obvious spirited touches, have a tray with Christmas cards on display, a vessel filled with citrus, or a bowl of shiny and shimmering ornaments. To complete the room, keep gifts wrapped in your favorite papers under the tree (you can even wrap a few fake ones to have on hand year after year). Plus, you should always have fire wood on hand for a cozy fire.

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The Guest Room

Green guest room with twin beds decorated for Christmas with greenery and bottle brush trees.
Marta Pérez; Styling: Vero Designs

Don't let the holiday spirit stop in the common areas. It can be something as small as a festive arrangement or scented greenery on a bedside table, but a thoughtful touch goes a long way to welcome your guests. Other simple ideas include orchids, table-top trees, or mini garlands draped (and secured) on a bed frame or mirror. We also love a seasonally-inspired throw pillow.

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The Windows

Christmas Window Decorations

While wreaths on the exterior windows in the front of the house are a go-to for boosting holiday curb appeal, we can't neglect the inside and non-street-facing windows. If you have them hanging on the outside of a window, mimic the shape and size with one hanging inside as well. This way, you're not just looking at the not-so-pretty backside of it. Interior wreaths allow for more creativity with components that might not last through the season outside. No more greenery? Tapers or votive candles (battery-powered encouraged) in a windowsill add a nice glow and go a long way to elevate your evening charm.

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