Christmas Decorating Tricks & Tips

What is the best way to decorate a home for Christmas? These festive decorating ideas, tips and tricks along with resources will help you decorate your home for the holidays with ease this year.

Trash to Tresure Decorating Ideas for Christmas decorating

Christmas decorating doesn’t always have to be the traditional red and green color scheme. instead. Decorating a home in non-traditional colors is one way to add your own style to your home.

I use red and green for the exterior of my house though, since the classic color scheme goes nicely with the colonial brick facade.

When Decorating a House for Christmas:

  • Use lots of ornaments not only on the tree, but around the house is bowls, hanging from ribbon.
  • Add a nostalgic touch – Make sure to add your family’s favorite Christmas decorations that have fond memories attached to them.
  • Embellish everyday decor to give it a festive touch instead of buying “Christmas Decor”. This could be as easy as place a sprig of pine cut from your yard. It can be placed on the open shelving in a kitchen or in a bowl filled with colorful ornaments.
  • If you use the same decorations each year, move, mix, and match them to give the items a new appeal.

The key to successfully decorating a home for Christmas is that you:

  • First have to love what you place around the house.
  • Second you need to edit, edit, edit so nothing looks cluttered and the decorations take center stage.


Decorating my house for Christmas always starts out with the tree. We go to the tree farm to get it the day after Thanksgiving.

This year we found this perfectly shaped tree, but while we were looking through the field, we came across this…

charlie brown tree

…not even a Charlie Brown tree, but a really sad dead Christmas tree.

It made us sad to see it – no one was going to take it home with them and give it love :-(  That is when I thought I could do something special with it to make it shine.

We asked if we could cut it down and were told yes. It came home with us and then I got to work on giving it a little Christmas joy.


With a little bit of reshaping, some white spray paint, glitter, and my collection of colorful ornaments, the dead Christmas tree is now looking very alive, festive and holiday ready.

How-To Christmas Decorating Tip #1

Make the most with what you have. Look outside and cut dead branches to use. You can do a lot with spray paint and glitter.

I made the mirrors behind the tree using window sashes and a ceramic topper. You can find out how I made it in this post:


I used all my shiny ornaments and a gold tree topper.

How-To Christmas Decorating Trick #2

To hold the tree in the urn, I used Styrofoam.  I save the Stryofoam that comes packed in boxes around fragile items and electronics.

I broke it apart to the size I needed and placed it in the urn. Since the foam is free it makes me feel good that I am reusing instead of throwing it away. 


I wanted to see more white with the urn, so I cut a length of white gift wrap to fit on the top of the stained sideboard.

How-To Christmas Decorating Tip # 3

Fake it!  If you don’t have any decorations, simply wrap up a few boxes in festive gift wrap and ribbons and place them around the house.


How-To Christmas Decorating Tip #4

Lay everything you have to decorate for Christmas with on the floor so you can see it and think of new ways to use it.

Instead of putting it in the same place every year, change it up a bit.  For instance, I had these preserved boxwoods wreaths in my dining room last year. One was on the table and the other hanging above the mantel. They take on new life doubled up on the door in the foyer this year.

To hang them: I wrapped ribbon around one wreath and used a thumbtack on the top edge of the door to hold the ribbon and wreath. (door has to be opened to do this) I used another length of ribbon and tied it around the second wreath and then the first and simply knotted  the ribbon.

I then moved the knot behind the wreath so it can’t be seen.

The sleigh bells are from Ed’s family. They always go on the door knob so we are alerted when Santa comes.

The walls are stenciled using Royal Design Studios – Large Marrakesh Moroccan Trellis Stencil. The sidelight design I created with a craft product called Gallery Glass. You can read about it in this post.


How-To Christmas Decorating Tip #5

I put most of my regular decor away for the month of December. One reader suggested putting your regular accessories in the boxes and or bins that you emptied when you put the Christmas decor out.  


Dining Room


How-To Tip Christmas Decorating Tip #6

Mix and match – shine with rough textures. Old-fashioned with modern. Anything goes as long as you like it.

I found the place mats at JCPenney in the clearance aisle.  They are from the Jonathan Adler collection.  The icicles in the vases on the table are floral picks that I used in the artificial tree I had in the room last year. I used three in each vase and fluffed them up to look like icy flowers.

The chandelier was a builder basic that I transformed with paint and crystals


How-To Christmas Decorating Tip #7

Add a throw to the back of a dining room chair. It can get chilly at dinner time on a cold winter’s night.

  • Use thin silver wire to hang a favorite vintage ornament from a chandelier. 
Vintage christmas ornaments

This pedestal with vintage ornaments was in the family room last year. On the table it adds the old-fashioned touch I like to mix into the decor.


8. Add sparkle in the way of mirrors, candles, and glitter

The books are from the stack of books I painted white to use for my Fall decor. That is one reason I like using white for so many things – it will go with anything making it easy to reuse.




8. Save On Greenery

Save money on greenery. Add real greens to make fake greenery look better.


In the Fall, I used the 2-tier wire basket on my dining room table. I moved it into the kitchen to place boxwood, ornaments, and candy canes.

9. Use Ready Made Items for a Centerpiece

To assemble island centerpiece, I used hot glue and a large glass jar to get the top row of candy canes the height I wanted. I lined the bottom tier of the wire basket with cut boxwood. I filled old-fashioned style glasses with water and placed them in the basket to act as vases for the boxwood so it doesn’t dry out too fast.

Christmas-Decorating in Kitchens

I posted how I made the paper holly garland a few weeks ago.

10. Use Glue Dots

To keep the ornaments secure in the pot on the top of the hutch, I used Glue Dots or Zots. They are pre-made dots of glue that have a lot of “stick” to them, but come off easily when needed. 


Family Room


I don’t spend a lot of time decorating the mantel since the big TV takes over and anything I place on it gets lost or ends up looking cluttered.

I found the light green bottle brush trees at Walmart last year. I bought more of them this year so I could make a statement with them.

I made the stockings a few years ago. Here is the post with the pattern and tutorial on how to make the Christmas Stockings.

I added ornaments to a hardware bin.  I love seeing the shiny color glow.

11. Put Your Favorite Things on Display

Edit – I don’t use everything I have when decorating my home for the holidays  – only my favorite things


More Christmas Decorating Tips

  • To keep displayed ornaments on a flat surface from rolling off, place a key or scarf ring under them. 
  • Primp! Artificial greenery need primping! Take the time to fluff and straighten garlands and wreaths that have been packed away before putting them out on display.
  • Before I start to decorate for Christmas, I gather all the tools I will need.
  • This makes the process much easier. I use lots of florist wire and not just for the greenery, but to hang things.  Cup hooks, wire cutters, scissors, hot glue gun and glue or ready made glue dots, thumb tacks, glitter, spray paint.
  • Repurpose and reuse everything in different ways and in different rooms.
  • Step back and look at everything you display or make with an eye for detail. I do a “squint test” to bring whatever it is I am working on into focus.  It helps me see if color, lights, and shape are evenly placed. 
  • Have fun decorating and try not to stress out thinking it has to be done in a certain way. Just do what makes you happy and in your own style.

Christmas Past Home Tours:

A few years after I started blogging, BHG came and took photos for the 2014 Christmas Ideas magazine.  If you haven’t seen it, here is a quick look.


Since this photo was taken, I have painted the dining room walls white.


I posted about how I made the boxwood embellishment on the lamps in this post.  Christmas Decorating Idea for Lamps


See one of the preserved boxwood wreaths I used on the door in my foyer this year?


And just in case you still want more Christmas decorating ideas be sure to check out all my Christmas projects.


Affordable Christmas decorating ideas for every room in your house with tips and tricks from a display designer. She uses handmade decorations as well as store bought and ready to use ornaments and more in unique and creative ways | In My Own Style

More Christmas Ideas You May Like:

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  1. Diane

    This dead tree idea is genius!

    I have all kinds of ideas spinning for next Christmas 2021 discarded Christmas trees the week after to 1/6/22 Little Christmas

    Each year I see beautiful trees that had cost a bundle $$$ at the curb waiting for pick up.

    I will find 1 or 2 or 3 haul then home and watch the needles drop help the trees along over the next months

    We have spent a lot of money ordering a tree from Jones Tree Farm, Shelton, CT. y’all will spend a bundle $$$ but get a fresh tree for a showcase home maybe for Christmas 2021 I will order a 7ft tree and start the process to recycle the tree next year?

    We will send y’all a picture

    Thank you for the greatest idea a dead tree.

    Sea Girt, New Jersey 08642

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Kevin – I always like to do something different and creative when decorating my house. When I saw the dead tree all alone in the field, i had to have it. :-) When you create yours, I would love to see your photos and will add it to my post.

  2. Lovely ideas, thank you. You and have given me some Christmas cheer that is sadly lacking this year. Here in the UK we have been put into lockdown for the third time and no indication of when it will be lifted, other than for five days over Christmas when the virus goes on vacation.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Di – I am happy to know that my post cheered you up. :-) This year has been a doozy for sure and it hard having to deal with it. I know we are all looking forward to getting back to being able to get out and about again without restrictions. Hard to “Carry On” as usual.

  3. Wow, love all these ideas. I love the kitchen centerpiece and I love the green towel in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Loving the recycled dead tree. I’m doing it!

    1. I will find a 6 foot dead tree after Christmas in the garbage take it home spend the next months helping the needles fall off and when free of needles spay paint the tree green maybe a splash of silver and gold and that will be my new artificial tree that is NOT artificial just dead

      Each year I see beautiful trees at the curb starting a few days after Christmas trees that had cost a bundle $$$.

      This is a GREAT idea a dead tree to the most beautiful tree for NO cost.

      I plan this tree as our main tree not a decoration for the hall

      I will have the pick of dozens of discarded Christmas trees laying at the curb for pick up.

      If I see the most beautiful tree on the round of holiday parties I will ask the host “May I have your tree next week when y’all are done with it?”

      If this works as well as I think it will i may do a blue nautical tree for the deck, entry.

      I will send y’all a picture

      Sea Girt, New Jersey 08642

  5. Stunning !!! The hallway tree decorated with pastel Christmas ornaments is just what we need this year to uplift the holidays !!! It is beautiful and delightful ?

    As a New Englander, I’m usually a traditionalist, but the light & bright decor
    Is a wonderful change !!


  6. Lots of great ideas! Everything is beautiful, but your little “dead” tree is my favorite!

  7. E. Tajima says:

    From Honolulu, Hawaii–Aloha, Diane~
    Many times I’ve walked past a dead tree or branch and thought, “Hmmm. what can be done to repurpose this lovely shape and to honor its past life?” With the gorgeously stunning white tree laden with Christmas ball ornaments in your favorite colors, you’ve shown us a marvelous way how to do just that!
    Thank you so much for generously sharing your creativity through thousands of ideas. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you, your family, friends, and all your online readers!

  8. Jaye M Brown says:

    I just love, love, love this colorful tree. You are truly ahhhhmazing, my friend and oh so inspiring. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Holidays. Jaye

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jaye – Thank you. It was a fun tree to bring to life. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. XO

  9. Beautiful thanks for sharing. I see tons of Boxwoods on the blogs and see how versatile they can be in decorating. I also see they can be an investment if you want nice ones. What company/brand do you recommend ?

  10. Everything is so adorable, and cheerful. I like the colors that you use. Just perfect!

  11. Love that dead tree! I feel inspired to write a Christmas story about it. What a wonderful happy ending that you brought it home and made it beautiful! Merry Christmas!

  12. Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles says:

    Diane, I just love all of your color! Drooling over your foyer and the double wreaths on the door. Every inch is just so much fun! Merry Christmas!

  13. Oh my! Love every inch of your home! I love all the colors you added and so many inspiration! Thank you for sharing your lovely home this holiday season, I’m sure your family will have another wonderful Christmas! I’m definitely following your blog, I can’t believe I just discovered you, big Thanks to Pam!

  14. Vicki @ Paisleyblu says:

    Beautiful, I love the non traditional colors!

  15. Beautiful photos, creative ideas…love it all!

  16. As ALWAYS, so BRIGHT and BEAUTIFUL! I love it all. And such great tips. You are a genius my friend!!

  17. I always LOVE popping over here, Diane – there is always so much color love! Its so fun and festive! Your style is always one of my favorites! And congrats on the BHG feature – YAY! Merry Christmas!

  18. sarah dorsey says:

    LOVE everything, but especially the Charlie Brown tree, such a great idea!

  19. I have been blogging for quite awhile and don’t know how I missed seeing your blog before. I love your crisp clean style! The dead Christmas tree is brilliant!

  20. Brittany Williford says:

    I have a question.. what are the two potted little green “trees” beside your sink? I love them :)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Brittany – They are called Lemon Cypress. I bought them at my local nursery. When you rub your fingers over them they smell like Lemon Pledge. I have had them for a year, they are slow growing and easy to take care of. I water them every other day and give some plant food once a month.

  21. All of your Christmas decor is beautiful! I love what you did with that dead tree!! I reminds me of a song on a record I listened to every Christmas when I was a kid: “The Christmas Tree that Ran Away”. Do you know it? Here’s the link: Merry Christmas! :)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kassie – Cute song. I never heard it before. Have you ever read the children’s Christmas book, Noel? It is so cute. All the trees each year get a name. We have named all of our trees since I read this book to my daughter’s when they were little. We have not yet decided on a name yet for the dead tree, but when we do, it will be pretty name. :-)

  22. So beautiful and I love all of the included tips! BTW – what you did to that dead tree is stunning!

  23. Hi Diane! Your home is so pretty! I love what you did with the dead tree! Fantastic! Thanks for sharing all your tips and tutorials with us! Happy Holidays! Blessings from Bama!

  24. Susan Hosterman says:

    I will subscribe under a different email

  25. Susan Hosterman says:

    Please unsubscribe me immediately.

  26. Gees, Diane, you really are amazing and I love seeing the results of all your hard work, creativity and inspiration come together s beautifully at Christmas. Love all the use of Royal purple and I LOVE what you did in giving the tree a new life I’m sure an angel watches over you and your family Christmas blessing to you all Pat

  27. Just beautiful Diane. I love the dead tree rescue. It is gorgeous. I can see it happily feeding birds after the decorations are taken down.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  28. I can’t believe I pinned everything Diane…you rock! Merry Christmas!!

  29. oh….the pops of pink. L.o.v.e. Oh…..the pops of turquoise. L.o.v.e. Oh, that purple…..l.o.v.e.

    I just love every single thing!

    Well done!

  30. your colors are so fun and so you! the use of the dead tree is genius and so sweet!!!

  31. Beth of designPOST interiors says:

    So colorful and beautiful just as I expected! I love that the little tree got a second life!

  32. I don’t normally post comments as I ogle from afar, but I must comment on your beautiful home! I admit to being a tad jealous of your wonderful talents, and wishing I had one-tenth of your decorating abilities.

    You do, however, inspire me to take on DIY things with more confidence, and for that I’m grateful. I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and a healthy Happy New Year!

  33. Everything is beautiful! I’m on my last day of what has turned into nearly a 5 day ‘Christmas renovation’. I’m sore and exhausted from carrying boxes up and downstairs-but you’ve given me the inspiration to finish it up and enjoy!

  34. I LOVE your tour, Diane! I’m so impressed with that branch tree! Oh my goodness. That is unbelievable! Thank you for joining in on my tour!

  35. What pretty colors. I really like how you used the ornaments on that precious tree, from darker to light. I too, love table top trees nestled in urns or planters. Really great decorating tips! Thanks for keeping us inspired!

  36. Irene Woodworth says:

    I just loved all of the color you incorporated into your home. I have found that I share with my students and friends that my collection took a while to really get in touch with my current style and belongings. I have edited many of my Christmas decor and have done a some traditional and some contemporary ideas into my home. It is all about your own particular style as you share on your blogs. Thank you for all of your great ideas! They are so refreshing and so very practical on a dime which is my favorite!

    Your Fellow Color Lady Friend from Idaho, Irene Woodworth

  37. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    You are the best Diane. Some day I want anything you have done…… I have never seen anything you have done that I did not love and want to copy.

  38. Susie@homemaker-mom says:

    It looks bright and cheery as always :-) yours is the one I admire most!

  39. Your home is spectacular. For living up north your home is always bright and cheery. I love it and enjoyed seeing your tour. Merry Christmas

  40. Caitlin @ Desert Domicile says:

    Your home is gorgeous Diane! I love that you cut down the dead tree – so sweet! Thanks for all the tips and tricks :)

  41. I love that you cut the little dead tree and brought it back to life with all the bright bulbs, it is beautiful!! After many years, I am learning my own style and I see a lot of it in your home. Thank you for the inspiration.

  42. Linda Johnston says:

    Gorgeous. Just simply gorgeous. My personal style is reflected in you home. I think that is why I am so overwhelmed with the beautiful job you did on this holiday decorating. I just love it.

  43. Great ideas and a beautiful home! Thanks for sharing, Diane. Merry Christmas!

  44. Julie Blanner says:

    You amaze me, Diane! So bright & beautiful!

  45. Your decor is gorgeous. I, too, LOVE what you did to that dead tree! Amazing! You are very talented.

  46. Linda @ Living Life in the Village says:

    I entered my website incorrectly! Sorry

  47. Linda @ Living Life in the Village says:

    The colors are great, especially on the “dead” tree. It’s dead no more! Love the way each color blends into the next.
    Glad I found your blog.

  48. The dead tree transformation is genius.

  49. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    I’m floored by the idea to turn the dead tree into something so absolutely stunning! The rest of your home is so so pretty too, you always have the best ideas!

  50. Your turning the ugly duckling dead tree into a beautiful swan actually brought a tear to my eye. I used to feel sorry for dead branches when I was younger; weird, I know.

  51. You are the expert in MEANINGFUL decorating. I have been following you since this past spring and can’t wait to open your email alert to another wonderful post. Like you, I don’t want to just fill up my home with stuff; it has to have a meaning or handmade by me to get a spot. I also am always moving things around and any giving it another look or purpose.

    Thanks Diane for all of your posts, tutorials and helpful suggestions.

  52. Mary Beth|Cupcakes and Crinoline says:

    Everything is so beautiful and inspirational, Diane. I got a lot a wonderful ideas! I love your color combos ~ yowza!!!

  53. Gorgeously stunning as usual!

  54. Beautiful! I love the non-traditional colors against the white! The simplicity of your decorations speaks to me.

  55. It’s all gorgeous! But there’s something really special about the little dead tree spray painted white. In a way, it seems more organic :-) It reminds me of the spray painted tumble weed my mother used one year for a Christmas tree. It really was pretty!

  56. Absolutely loved the tour of your Christmas home. I especially enjoy how you re-purpose things like the poor, sad, dead tree…..voila, pure magic!! Thanks for giving me that push to start looking at everyday things with a “how can it be transformed eye”.

  57. Lois Black says:

    Love your home. You have decorated it so beautifully. What a gift you have for color. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Charlie Brown tree! BRILLIANT! Thanks for sharing your tips. Great ideas!

  58. Love your beautiful ideas for Christmas decorating! Thank you for the inspiration and the how to’s!

  59. Your home looks beautiful – thanks for all of the decorating tips!

  60. So pretty, my absolute favorite is what you did with the “dead” tree! Turned out just so beautiful!! You have such an eye for the potential for beauty! what a gift! Merry Christmas!