Easy Christmas Home Decorating Ideas

Looking for easy and budget-friendly Christmas decorating ideas? In this post you will find doable projects, ideas and inspiration that will have your home festive in no time.

The day my tree goes up, the atmosphere of the house changes dramatically. The everyday ordinary takes on a festive spirit with the glow of Christmas lights and Christmas music playing in the background.

I enjoy decking the halls in my own style – nothing formal or fancy. I change the colors I use every year. I think I yearned for a little extra comfort and joy this year and went with traditional colors.

Part of the magic of Christmas is the many memories we bring to the season. Attic boxes filled with garlands, stockings and ornaments come out once a year and remind us of the anticipation and magic of our childhoods. We have songs we listen to only in December and recipes that are only made for the holidays.

I love this feeling and want to make sure I don’t miss any of it. I tend to go more vintage with my style at Christmas. As well lean more towards simplicity, handmade, nostalgic touches, and all things cozy. The season is all about comfort and joy and I happily oblige.

I also like having the house filled with natural elements and the fresh scent of pine.

red and green plaid doormat on top of a black and white check mat by front door of holiday decorated home

I didn’t buy anything new to decorate this year, except for the pointsettias that line my fireplace mantel.

Instead, I added a Christmas touch to everyday items using these items:

  • White twinkle lights
  • Candles
  • Greenery from my yard
  • Jingle Bells
  • Ribbon
  • Glitter and fake snow
  • Ornaments

The Entry

I decorate 3 rooms for Christmas – the entry/foyer, living room and kitchen.

Red ribbon around large basket filled with branches. Christmas tree in distance.

In the entryway, I wrapped red velvet ribbon around a basket filled with dead branches.I liked that their color matched the basket. I tied a jingle bell and sprigs of pine onto the ribbon with florist’s wire.

  • Another length of the red ribbon also ties the sleigh bells onto the doorknob. I love when we open the door and we hear the bells jingle. Nothing sounds like Christmas to me more than jingle bells.
Faux paint cement paint technique used to create the look of a cast stone planter.

Across from the door is a dresser I use as a foyer sideboard. I made this large lightweight bowl using two plastic bowls. To learn how I made it, here is a link to the post about it:

The faux cedar wreath I bought at HomeGoods. Candleholders are from Balsam Hill.

basket of greenery on floor in foyer

Simple Christmas Decorating TIP:

  • Cut evergreen branches from your yard or the woods. Place in a basket.
    • If you want to keep the greens fresh longer, place a tray or large bowl in the bottom and fill with water.

I love how the smell of fresh pine boughs suddenly makes the house smell like a walk in the woods. Or how the twinkling lights on the tree cast a soft warm glow and dance on the ceiling after the sun goes down.

I placed a 6-foot tree in one corner of the entry and wrapped the base with a faux fur rug. The tree came pre-lit, but I added a few strings of twinkle lights.

Antique music stand with Christmas music on it. Basket filled with branches in front of it.

We keep an antique music stand in the opposite corner. I changed the sheet music to “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.

Living Room

The living room is truly where we live. My house is small and this is the only gathering space. It is open concept with the kitchen. The walls are white, except for the barnwood paneled accent wall corner where the sofa is.

I made sure to make the room comfy, cozy and full of Christmas color.

Christmas decorated living room using red and plaid.

Turn Off The Overhead Lighting

Candles and Christmas lights create a cozy feeling all their own. It begins to get dark around 5:30 where I live.

Lighting can make or break a space. To up the Christmas ambiance, I love turning off all the overhead lights, dimming table lamps and letting the twinkling tree lights and a candle or two create magical lighting while we watch TV or just relax.

I made the oversize Fixer Upper wall clock to look like the one in Chip & Joanna’s house.

Red & Plaid Accents

I used red and plaid accents throughout the room. I made the plaid pillow covers using fabric I had left over from last year. The fur pillow is from my guest room. It works perfectly with the look I wanted for the room.

On the sofa table, I made an ornament finial for the thrift store lamp I recently made-over. You can find out how I made the lamp and the finial:

Rustic Red and Plaid Christmas Living Room

Simple Christmas Decorating TIP:

  • When any decorative item needs a lift, stack books to add more height as I did for the two candle hurricanes above. Cover the books in gift wrap for added style and color.
White candle with cranberries around it sitting on a cedar wreath on living room coffee table decorated for Christmas

A glass vase and candle are placed inside a wreath on my mirrored Farmhouse coffee table. I filled the bottom of the vase with fake snow and faux sugared cranberries.

I made the match holder. The coasters I bought at Pottery Barn a few years ago.

Mantel in living room decorated for Christmas

Adjacent from the sofa and accent wall is the fireplace wall.

Over the summer I found a few aged boards in my garage. I liked the patina and made a long wood planter box to sit on the mantel. I thought I would just use it for the summer, but I like the simple clean lines it creates and have kept it up, but have changed what is in it seasonally.

I didn’t have a red tree topper, so I made one using a piece of scrap wood and paint. I will post how I made it next week.

Stone fireplace with white stockings hung on the left. Christmas tree on right. Fire in fireplace.

I lined the inside of the planter with foil, so if I spill any water when watering the poinsettias, my mantel won’t get wet.

3 white Christmas stockings with plaid cuffs and pom-poms hanging from a fireplace mantel.

I made these stockings when I first started blogging. I change the cuff fabric every few years. You can find the stocking pattern here:

How to Make Merry Christmas Stockings & Pattern

A red pedestal photo cube, a candle on greenery and a planter with pine on a table.

On the side table, I covered a white plate with a seashell motif with sprigs of cedar and placed a candle on top. No more seashells… Instant Christmas decor.

I made the photo cube pedestal a few years ago to showcase Christmas photos from when I was a child.

Plaid giftwrap covering the top of a sideboard is one affordable Christmas decorating idea.

Another way I decorate for Christmas is to cover tables and sideboard tops with gift wrap. It is very budget-friendly and easy to do.

Santa and Me Card on Christmas decorated sideboard.

For instant decor, display a vintage Christmas card or a photo of you with Santa when you were a a child. There is a photo of Ed when he was about 4 sitting on Santa’s lap inside this card.

  • Place nuts in small bowls and use as edible decor.
Living room decorated for Christmas.

The view from the fireplace wall looking into the kitchen.

I live on a large lake and this room and the kitchen have great views of it. There are glass doors across the entire wall, except for a short spot in between the rooms.

This is where we have a wall mounted TV. I can never get a great photo of the wall as the sun makes it too bright and the images are always blown out.

Outdoor deck and dock Christmas decorating ideas

The view out the sliding glass doors is part of my decor.

The Kitchen

Wall Chalkboard in kitchen with snowflakes and the word Joy drawn on.

As you enter the kitchen from the living room, this chalkboard wall is to your left. I like to change what is on it seasonally.

White kitchen with fruit and veggies on wood and silver tiered pedestal. Red Christmas ornament and pine spring on top.

My kitchen is very small so I only add a few festive touches in the way of an ornament, a candle and sprigs of greenery tied with ribbon.

Open white shelves in kitchen. Red and plaid paper doilies line each shelf. Red ornaments and pine sprigs tucked in randomly.

A few years ago, I made these plaid paper doilies to accent the open shelves. I re-used them, but in a slightly different way this year. You can see how I used them originally in this post:

Fast, easy and affordable Christmas decorating ideas that don't require bins of Christmas decor. Clementines on a white pedestal lined with greenery.

Simple Christmas Decorating TIP:

Turn food into decor. Pile fruit on a pedestal lined with greenery. Or fill a glass vase with candy canes.

Kitchen counter with wine bottles and a white pitcher filled with pine. Jingle bells are tied on with a red ribbon is tied around the pitcher. Fast and easy Christmas decorating ideas.

Tie a ribbon around a pitcher and add a jingle bell or two.

Simple Christmas decorating details. Use a tray with a candle and sprig of pine and jingle bells.

Or tie the bells to a sprig of pine from your yard.

Kitchen table decorated for Christmas using red and plaid accents.

It may just be myself and Ed for Christmas dinner this year. No parties planned or guests coming this year. :-(

I had fun rooting through my stash and found the pink/red glasses, fake trees that were on my mantel last Christmas, my favorite Kosta Boda Snowball candle holders and fake snow.

Pinecones with painted white tips becomes place card holders.

Christmas decorated kitchen and table setting.
Late afternoon in my kitchen when the sun is setting over the lake.

The best feeling of Christmas for me is the feeling you get when you fall asleep in the twinkling glow of a Christmas tree, or when you light candles at a dinner table… magical moments I look forward to every day in December.

More Ways to Add Some Christmas Jingle

Christmas ornament used as a doorknob accent that jingles. Easy DIY that looks and sounds like Christmas.

I bought 3 ornaments a few years ago that say Joy, Peace and Hope. I don’t use them on the tree. I use them instead as doorknob jinglers. I tied the jingle bells to a garland tie with red ribbon. The garland tie then simply wraps around the doorknob.

Have you ever used garland ties? They are the best Christmas decorating secret. You can discover all the ways I use them here:

Christmas Sounds & Smells

Decorating is only one part of the getting my house holiday ready equation. Equally important for me is how my house smells and sounds like Christmas.

Make Your House Sound Like Christmas:

I have Christmas CD’s, Spotify playlists and more on my TV, computer, phone and car. Hearing my favorite holiday songs is something I look forward to come December.

Make Your House Smell Like Christmas:

I make homemade potpourri and have it simmering in a pot of water on the stove all day long. I don’t have a recipe and make it differently every time. I like using a combination of water, citrus, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves.

Somewhere In My Memory…

The song from Home Alone, Somewhere In My Memory says it all for me on what I hold dear for Christmas. Holiday decorating comes second to memories for me.

What Christmas decor do you love? Decor that brings back fond memories of Christmases past?

Holiday decor that holds a special place in your heart that goes beyond decoration?

Have you decorated your home for the holidays yet? Do you have any creative ideas or tips to share that you do in your home?

I hope you enjoyed the tour and picked up a Christmas decorating tip or two that will help make decorating your house for the holidays easier. And if you’re hungering for more, this will keep the Christmas ideas and inspiration flowing.

Foyer door open with red ribbon tied sleigh bells and basket. Text overlay says Christmas decorating home tour

More Christmas Decorating Ideas You May Like:

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  1. I love your practical ideas!
    I have a similar tree view from my kitchen/living room …have you ever lighted it during the Holiday season? If so…would you have suggestions on how to go about doing this?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Sarah – I am not sure what you are asking about lighting the tree for the holiday season. Can you elaborate and I will do my best to give you and idea.

  2. Jennifer Dynys says:

    I enjoyed every single picture in this tour! Your house looks amazing, the white and red is so striking! I love the books wrapped in plaid paper! Thank you for taking the time to share your eye for style and creativity with us at Embracing Home and Family!

  3. Your home looks absolutely adorable, warm, welcoming, and festive! I still love the Pompom ottomans! Thanks for sharing such great tips!

  4. Diane and Ed,

    I love this Christmas blog – you are so talented. May God Bless you both for a healthy and happy 2021.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Jane. XO Wishing you a very merry Christmas season.

  5. EVERYTHING looks so cozy and inviting, Diane! I adore the pillows and throw on your couch, the plaid covered books. the plaid tree skirt, the kitchen touches- all of it! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home and all the wonderful, do-able décor tips.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Bettsi – Thank you so much. :-) When I was thinking about how I wanted to decorate for Christmas this year, I knew I wanted cozy layers with a nod to tradition. I hope you have a very Merry December and Christmas.

  6. Kris Gonzalez says:

    Beautiful home !!! May I ask where the small green wreaths around your candlesticks came
    Thank you for your reply in advance : )

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kris – I bought them at Hobby Lobby. They still sell them in the store, but no longer online.

  7. I love all of these ideas, your home is so beautiful! When my kids were younger they always wanted to put up our old, tacky Christmas decorations. Now that most of them are moved out of the house, I can decorate minimally! I’m not used to the simplicity of this decor, but I think it will make decorating a less overwhelming task. My favorite part of decorating during the holiday season is fluffing up the holiday pillows on the couch, and taking a nap after all of the decorating is complete!!

  8. Cathy Clark says:

    Where is your beautiful foyer Christmas tree from?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cathy –

      I bought the tree last Christmas. I have two sizes. The one in the foyer is 6.5 ft and the one in my living room is 7.5 ft. It is a very popular tree and sells out everywhere it is sold. Here is more detail about it: https://amzn.to/2JLns4N

  9. Hi Diane! I love every single Christmas decoration detail you’ve created! Just magical!
    Enjoy it and Have a magical Christmas!
    ❤️ Eliana

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Eliana –

      It makes me happy to hear that you enjoyed my Christmas tour post. I tried to create something special that looks like what Christmas feels like in my heart. Wishing you a very magical Christmas. Enjoy!

  10. I love your simplistic yet elegant decorating style using items that you already own. I get so much inspiration from your posts. THANKS !

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sue – Thank you! :-) I always enjoy finding new ways to use what I already own. I had great training early on in my career when I worked as a display designer and I had to come up with decor for the department store I worked in using only what was in the display prop room. :-) I became very resourceful. Enjoy the holidays.

  11. A beautiful, beautiful post Diane! I just want to come over to your home and snuggle in!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Robin – Thank you. I always like Christmas cozy, but this year I felt I needed to add an extra layer of it.

  12. Kelly Lerena-Elko says:

    Diane! Never have dead sticks looked so good! I love antique music stand and all your fun little touches like the wrapping paper on your tables and adding ornaments to doorknobs with the garland ties. Such fun little touches that really make the season come alive! Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Kelly – I made Ed stop the car when we were driving one day and I saw the dead bush that someone threw on the side of the road. The bleached color was perfect. :-)

  13. Barb Dudas says:

    Love your Christmas your! Your home is so warm and cozy! Wishing you a wonderful holiday (even if it’s a lot different this year).

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Barb – This year more than ever I am yearning for cozy and nostalgia. I just tweaked the ornaments on the tree and added ones that reminded me of Christmas when I was a kid. Most of these are red.

      I hope you are surviving this crazy year in style. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season. XO

  14. Such lovely ideas, Diane! I LOVE how you’ve used every day items with a Christmas twist. Love all your baskets full of fresh greens and those cranberries look so beautiful. Is there any better Christmas-y sound than sleigh bells. LOVELY! Wishing you a lovely Christmas xx

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Danielle – I love getting the house ready for the holidays and this year since I don’t go out much, I made use of what I had – it makes me get more creative. :-) I hope you have a very happy holiday season.

  15. Your Christmas decorating is lovely Diane! I love my Kosta Boda Balls.So elegant. Ever since I saw yours, I’ve picked them up at Goodwill’s. Never paid more than $1.99.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Deanna – I think I will never tire of my Kosta Boda Snowballs. Since posting, I removed the place settings that I did for the post and added the rest of my collection. I have 9 now. I always keep my eye out for them. They hold such fond Christmas memories for me. Enjoy the magical glow.

  16. So festive & pretty! I think my favourite spot is the beautiful tree in the entry foyer with the plaid & fur blankets.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Holly – My entry foyer is practically the same size as my living room. I couldn’t let it go bare. :-)

  17. I am a subscriber to your blog and love the “realness” of you and of it. Your Christmas tour only reinforces all of this. Although I am no where nearly as talented as you nor as brave in tackling projects, you still encourage me here in the middle of Iowa , where things are much more “down home” and “low key” and budget friendly. No one here has big ticket projects financed by sponsors. That most certainly is not any part of our world. So, thank you for staying true and not trying to compete with high budget bloggers. MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda –

      Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it. I was lucky to have found confidence in my decorating style after I wrote my decorating book, Instant Decorating in 1994. It was a best seller for BHG at the time. I learned then, that what I create – there are just as many people who prefer real, small budget and doable ideas. Since I began blogging, I never felt I had to fit in to be successful, just myself. XO I hope you have a very Merry Christmas season.

  18. Love your decorations especially the basket
    The simplicity is perfect!
    Merry Christmas from Macungie Pa!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – thanks. I found the dead branches from a shrub that was dumped on the side of the road when Ed and I were driving. I loved that they were evenly bleached from the sun. I made Ed stop so I could go grab it to use for decor. :-) I hope you have a very merry Christmas season.

  19. Jennifer Rizzo says:

    I adore your house. I love the scent of pine as well. Love that you repurposed old items. The mantel is beautiful and the poinsettias really pop. Thank you for your wonderful talent and taking place in the Holiday Housewalk 2020!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks for inviting me to be in the tour this year. I enjoy seeing each blogger’s personal decorating style.

  20. House looks great….as always! I, of course love the picture in the cube and wish I could see the Santa picture.

  21. Jennifer @ Town and Country Living says:

    Yay! You used poinsettias! I love this Christmas flower but you don’t see too many real ones in homes any more. I knew an elderly woman who would plant hers in the garden at summer time and they got so big! Your home is cheery and colorful – love all the plaids! Thanks for opening your beautiful home to us!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jennifer –

      I wanted traditional this year and poinsettias fit the bill. Red and and not expensive. I have never replanted them in past years when I used them, but I am going to look into it.

  22. This tour is fun and I love tour Christmas home ? Great ideas that are pretty and simple enough for any of us to do!! Love the special touches that hold memories for your family. That’s what I always try to bring to my home too ???

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lynn – Thank you. Fond memories are what make Christmas so special. I enjoy finding ways to make them part of my decor.

  23. Cassie Bustamante says:

    Somewhere in my memory is one of my absolute favorites…. I remember watching my kids sing it at a concert and trying not to cry. It just gets to me. Gosh, I am tearing up just remembering that moment. Love all of the plaid in your home- it has that perfect lake house Christmas vibe!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cassie – I know exactly the feeling you describe when I hear the song Somewhere in my Memory. I tear up, too. It holds such meaning to me.

  24. I love the tartan, it’s my favorite! Everything looks festive, fresh and lovely.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Kim – Plaids and tartans are so full of color and classic. I can understand why you love it so!

  25. jennifer hadfield says:

    Hi Diane!

    I loved your tour! Your tablescape and those little trees are adorable! Thanks for sharing your home with us!