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How To Ideas for Christmas Decorating

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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.

How To Decorate Any Christmas Tree and Make it Beautiful

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.  


These boxes were used for the BHG Christmas Ideas photo shoot of my house last year. I kept them since they were so pretty.

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.


How-To Christmas Decorating Trick #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.


I used the font Cantoni Basic to make and print out names for the gift box place cards.



How-To Christmas Decorating Tip #8

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.

How-To Christmas Decorating Tip #9

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.

How-To Christmas Decorating Trick #10

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. 


How-To Paper Holly Garland:  Here is the link for the tutorial and free printable

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 them.


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

How-To Christmas Decorating Tip #11

Edit – I don’t use everything I have  – only my favorite things


How-To Decorating Trick When Displaying Christmas Ornaments

  • To keep displayed ornaments on a flat surface from rolling off, place a key or scarf ring under them. 

A few more Christmas Decorating Tips and Tricks:

  • 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:

Last year 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?


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

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  1. 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.

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

  3. 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!