10 Easy Ways to Enhance Your Home's Holiday Spirit
From ribbon-wrapped logs to wreaths and more, here's how to subtly deck your halls for the holiday—without going overboard.
'Tis the season for decking your halls. While for some this might mean weeks of planning, many of us just don't have the time or budgets to put out an over-the-top display of holiday décor. Luckily, whether you prefer to plan ahead or need to quickly decorate in a pinch, there are plenty of simple ways to dress up your home for the holidays—and all can be done without exerting too much effort.
"Before you begin making holiday décor purchases, take a quick inventory of what you have, including traditional décor items in your home that can serve as a base to build upon, such as vases, bowls, mirrors, and picture frames," says Erin Swift, founder of Holiday Workroom. "Also have a clear plan of what you want the overall flow of your design to look like before you go crazy buying all-things holiday." Once you've figured out what décor items you're working with, Swift suggests picking out a single piece to serve as your design inspiration. "Whether it's a tree skirt pattern or a colorful ornament, use an item you love as the starting point for your décor theme," she says. "If you keep to your theme, decorating will go a whole lot easier."
Of course, that doesn't mean you can't think outside the box (and your living room) when adding some holiday décor to your home. "Some of the most unique items I've purchased have come from unexpected places, and some of the most memorable installations have been in areas outside the living room, including bedrooms, foyers, offices, and even a bathroom," Swift says. "A simple hanging ornament can bring a festive touch to any area of your home."
In need a few simple ideas guaranteed to add seasonal cheer to any room in your home? We asked Swift, as well as a few of our favorite interior designers and tastemakers, for easy ways to decorate your home for the holidays. Here's what they had to say.
White Birch Logs
A few embellished birch logs can go a long way when you're looking for simple, easy ways to decorating your home for the holidays. "Add cedar sprigs to a basket of logs to make a simple but elegant holiday statement," Swift says. "Or, wrap a birch log in a bow and use a fabric marker to write your family's name on the ribbon to personalize it."
Plenty of Sparkle
Never underestimate the impact of a little glitter in your holiday décor setup. "Small pops of shimmer and sparkle—like twinkling lights, silver, gold, and mercury glass—feel super festive," says Nicole Gibbons, founder of Clare. "They're also relatively neutral, so no matter where I live or what my home may look like in the future, my collection of shimmering metallic holiday decor will always work!"
If you're trying to decorate your home for the holidays on the fly, it helps to focus on small details rather than the large ones. "Have some fun and get creative with smaller surface areas that aren't used for day to day," Becky Shea says. "We love creating little villages out of white porcelain houses and using twinkle lights to illuminate them. We prefer the twinkle lights to standard string lights because they're a bit more dainty and soft and give the appearance of incandescent interior lighting inside the homes."
Put a Wreath on It
Whether you hang one on your front door or above your fireplace mantel, even the simplest wreath will bring instant holiday cheer to any area of your home. "Wreaths aren't just for hanging on the door," Swift says. "They also look beautiful hanging on coat hooks or as a dining table centerpiece."
Get Creative with Décor Placement
Your front door and mantel shouldn't be the only place in your home that gets the holiday décor treatment. "Tie a miniature wreath with a satin or gingham ribbon on the back of your dining room chairs for an unexpected touch," says Roxy Te, founder of Society Social. "Not only do they look fabulous around the holidays, their vibrant green color adds a punch of personality to a room no matter the season."
Reconsider Your Color Palette
Thinking outside of the traditional red-and-green box can make decorating your home for the holidays a whole lot easier. "Try mixing things up with a new color palette that offers a refreshing change from the traditional holiday color schemes that we're so used to seeing," Gibbons says. "Instead of focusing on autumnal colors for Thanksgiving, try classic blue and white. And for a whimsical take on conventional Christmas colors, try pink and teal with silver metallic accents instead."
Take Advantage of Fixtures
Holiday ornaments look festive strewn from all sorts of places inside your home—not just trees. "Utilize the elements that already exist in your space as a starting point," Swift says. "For example, take beautiful ribbon and hang ornaments from a light fixture, or use Mardi Gras-style beads to add some sparkle."
Nothing invokes holiday spirit more than a whiff of a fresh pine, fir, spruce, or cedar tree. "Faux garland and trees are easy and economical, but I recommend incorporating bits of fresh greenery into your decorations," Marie Flanigan says. "The scent alone will bring extra holiday cheer into your home!"
Make Room for a Tree
No matter how small a space may seem, Swift says there's always room for a holiday tree. "I often say there is no space that is too small for a tree, and that includes tabletops," she says. "Place a small faux tree in your entryway, at your desk or in the guest room to bring some holiday spirit into any room."
The More Glitter, the Merrier
When all else fails, you can always count on some glittery décor to turn a humdrum surface into a sparkling holiday display. "Take advantage of holiday materials that you don't typically get to use in your home, like glitter," says Frances Schultz, author of California Cooking and Southern Style. "Embellish a table or mantlepiece with a beaded ornament or a dash of glitter to create a festive scene."