Christmas Decorating Ideas for Your Home

Simple Christmas decorating ideas for the home that will inspire you to add holiday sparkle to your home. 

Colorful gift wrapped presents under a Christmas treeSimple Christmas Decorating Ideas

Since I began blogging 14 years ago I have shared a lot of holiday home tours with you. All of them full of color. The last two years, I decorated with red accents and red plaid all through the house.  Five years ago, I used turquoise, pink and lime green. That year my house was featured in BHG Christmas Ideas magazine.

This is the first Christmas that I am decorating with a more neutral color scheme.  In my previous post, I mentioned that I still love color and added it in the way of colorful satin ribbons on the gifts I wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree.

Neutral color scheme living room decorated for Christmas

I am keeping not only the Christmas decor simple this year, even adding more festive holiday decor from nature, but also simplifying everything about the holidays to reduce stress and provide more time to relax and enjoy the season. Isn’t that the point anyway?

Bubble glass hurricane and large white candle table decorated for Christmas.

I took my time to edit out the decorations that no longer spoke to me.

What Makes Christmas Magical for Me

It read as follows:

  • White twinkle lights on the tree
  • Candles everywhere
  • Christmas music all through the house
  • Logs on the fire
  • Natural greenery
  • Jingle bells, glitter and a few favorite ornaments.

I also wanted to use items from the nature that surrounds my house as my go-to shopping destination, instead of buying “Christmas decor” at a chain store.  The part that I enjoyed the most though was challenging myself to re-style and re-purpose items I already owned into the mix.

pinecones mounted on silver candlesticks on a mantel decorated for Christmas

Here is one idea where I made decorative use of something of which I have an ample supply out in my yard… pinecones.

How to Attach Pinecones to a Candleholder to Create Instant Christmas Decor

  • Line a baking sheet with foil, place the pine cones on and place in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes. This will kill any bugs and lessen the sap. Let them cool. 
  • Apply a dab of hot glue to the bottom of the pinecone and place on top of the candle holder.
  • When the holidays are over, simply snap the pinecone off. Remove any hot glue residue from candleholder by holding it under very cold water. The glue will become hard and you will be able to peel it off.
Christmas-Mantel-Decorating-Ideas using a large chalkboard with drawn pine trees on it.

When it came down to deciding what to do over the mantel, I went back and forth with a few ideas, but wasn’t too keen on any of them.  When I saw this Christmas mantel idea, I remembered that I had…

Garage sale bought framed art before being made into a chalkboard

…a $3 fake oil painting that I bought at a yard sale up in my attic. I had planned to make a chalkboard out of it one day.  It finally happened.  My yard sale find kinda goes with the pine cones :-)

My chalkboard drawing of pine trees covered in snow is still a work in progress. In keeping with my stress-free holiday, I didn’t rush to get it completely done for this post.

It is done enough for you to get the overall idea of re-purposing a thrift store or yard sale item into Christmas decor.

How to Make a Christmas Chalkboard Using Framed Thrift Store Art

  • Lightly sand surface of art with 220 sandpaper, clean off grit. Mask frame with painter’s tape to protect it from overspray.
  • Spray over the existing art with black chalkboard spray paint until you get desired coverage. 3 – 4 light coats applied about 5 minutes apart works well. Let dry and season it before using.
White framed Christmas Chalkboard drawing ideas

To get the pine trees a dense white, I experimented and came up with a way to paint with chalk that can still be removed from the chalkboard. I will post how I did this next week.

White stockings with brown fur lined cuffs on a mantel.

I hung the stockings by the chimney with care.  If you have been reading my blog for a long time, the stockings may look familiar.

They are the stockings I made using white quilts and bedspreads back in 2012.

How To Restyle a Christmas Stocking

  • I restyled them for my simple and nature theme this year. The cuffs were trimmed in bright colors.  I kept them intact by flipping the colorful cuffs inside the stockings and made and attached a new cuff with scraps of fur on each stocking. On the center stocking, I pinned a rhinestone brooch.
Christmas Decorating with tree branches

In the bare corner that never gets any love, I added 3 long tree branches I gathered on my daily walk around my neighborhood.

I placed them in a large vase. The tops of the branches lean on the wall.  I left them just as I found them, but in past years I have been known to make them sparkly with glitter.

The throw pillows on the seating have new covers that I made by taking apart the bed shams that used to be in the guest room of my previous house. 

One of the items on my edited list of must-haves for a magical Christmas… jingle bells. I have a leather strap of sleigh bells hanging from my front door so that when we open it, the bells jingle, welcoming in whoever is standing outside.

I didn’t get a photo of these, but tie them on the doorknob each year with a festive ribbon. This year I tied it on with the black buffalo check ribbon that I used to make the Christmas tree topper and wrap the presents.

Staying with my theme to not overthink the decorations, I simply lined a shallow bowl with cedar sprigs and piled my stash of silver jingle bells on top.  Placed on a stack of favorite Christmas books they look holiday-ready.

A trio of mini faux Christmas trees lined up along a sofa table.

Pine trees surround my yard, so adding a trio of faux pines along the sofa table seemed like the thing to do.  These trees came with burlap covered bases. I am not a fan of burlap and came up with this repurposing idea to make them more to my liking.

3 pine trees on sofa table with a large metal clock behind it.

I have used these trees in my foyer the last few years and am searching for mini faux cedar trees to use as I like the lighter color of the cedar more than the color of these trees.

DIY black and white HO HO HO coasters on table

I posted about how I made these coasters using small frames and a printable I made on my computer…HO HO HO!

Shiny silver Christmas ornaments on white pedestal.

A few ornaments placed together on a white pedestal adds a simple festive touch next to the trees on the table.

A stack of mini boxes wrapped in French Script paper with pretty green velvet bow

I don’t decorate every room, just the living room, kitchen and foyer. I haven’t gotten to the foyer yet, but when I do, I will share photos with you.

No matter what the room is there has to be candles every where. Battery operated and real wax candles that fill the house with a warm glow.


Ever think about lighting a candle at breakfast to light up a dark morning?  I have this candle right by the stove in my kitchen.

And finally…

Bubble glass hurricane with large white candle inside.

The Simplest Way to Create Christmas Decorating Magic is to Turn off the Lights

  • Candles and Christmas lights create a warm and magical feeling all on their own. It begins to get dark around 5:30 at my house and the evenings can feel so long. 
  • When I stop work for the day, I look forward to turning off all the lights in the house and sitting in my living room with Christmas music playing and all the Christmas lights glowing. They are the best Christmas decorations, adding exactly the magical mood and feeling I love in my house for the holidays.

To read more details about all the Christmas color schemes I have used in the past, check out my previous post: My Simply Decorated Christmas Tree.  And you can also read about all of my holiday decorating ideas.

More Festive Christmas Decorating Ideas

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  1. Hi Diane! It’s been too long since I’ve dropped in to say “hello”. Wanted to share. For years, 30+, I have used a green and white color scheme to decorate our home for Christmas. My husband and I love the soothing tranquility of green, white and candlelight. Last summer, I did a major decluttering of all of our holiday decorations. After being confined to our house for so many months, I realized I felt better with “less” throughout the house. I was thinking about decorating for Christmas this year and this post popped into mind! I remembered I’d pinned it the first time I read it. Your simple green and white Christmas creativity is exactly what my heart desired! Our Christmas home this year will be a Diane Henkler design, I can’t wait! Your creativity has inspired me for years, thank you!

  2. I love your simple mix of fresh greens and winter whites. Just lovely!!

  3. We live in rural Scotland and surrounded by a forest. I too try to incorporate the outdoors and the decor to be a reflection of where our house is situated. I agree with adding candles and fairy lights. I put some around the lounge window and close the curtains at night while we watch telly and they give a lovely glow. We brought tons of fallen pine branches and hang them or place them in vases.

  4. We live in rutal Scotland and surrounded by a forest. I too try to incorporate the outdoors and the decor tp be a reflection of where our house is situated. I agree with adding candles and fairy lights. I put some around the lounge window and close the curtains at night while we watch telly and they give a lovely glow. We brought tons of fallen pine branches and hang them or place them in vases.

  5. Stacy Risenmay says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! I love your artwork :)

  6. Linda Irene says:

    Merry Christmas Diane . . . Quick question on the ho, ho, ho coasters. When I printed one copy it printed out close to 8″ by 7″. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for your help.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Check your printer interface and make sure in the print size option it says actual size or as is. Every printer is different, but look into the advanced settings in your printer interface to find it.

  7. I love this neutral decor. Your house is perfect!

  8. I love the chalkboard project. You can’t beat the $3 price tag. All the simple touches add up to a big wow. Thanks for sharing all your ideas Diane and being a part of the tour.

  9. Simply lovely!! I’ve heavily edited too, this year. It’s really made a difference in my attitude. I just wanted to enjoy this holiday season…and not feel so overwhelmed. I thought the best place to start was with the decorations. You’ve obviously mastered that part…elegant simplicity! ;)

  10. Sharon Hines says:

    I love this concept so much and am doing the same thing in my home. And of course, I LOVE seeing your creativity and ingenuity come to life. Everything looks so pretty.

  11. Sandy Stevens says:

    Your blog is such an inspiration to me, I love everything you do!

  12. Diane, it’s been too long! It was so fun to come “see” you and enjoy your fun holiday tour. I love those stockings stuffed with gifts!

  13. Such fun – I have been in love with checked things for years – your tree and decor is just lovely.

  14. Love all the inspiration you’re giving us with great pics and ideas!! I think I’ll put together some pine cone candlestick trees myself ?

  15. Diane….always such beautiful ideas and pictures. I switched to twinkle lights after you wrote about them a few posts ago. LOVE THEM!

    Being in Minnesota…it is almost like winter year round. This year I am just enhancing my rooms with a hint of Christmas colors
    and Im loving it. More serene feeling. So pretty against the snow falling outside.

  16. Enjoyed your post and love the idea of painting over an ugly painting to make a chalk board! I still miss my door sized chalk board I left behind when we moved… I was wondering if you could just add a few faux stems of cedar to your current set of mini trees to make them fuller and closer to the green you’d like. In keeping with your idea of “work with what you have”…

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patricia – Excellent idea!!! I will experiment and see what I can do to make me like the color of the trees more. Thanks for the idea.

  17. This is so perfect. I’ve been following you for a few years and this is my favorite holiday look. We also retired to the Carolinas and are opting for a more natural look! Looks like you’re all ready for a relaxing festive season!

  18. I am in awe of how you keep coming up with wonderful decorating ideas. Love this natural Christmas!

  19. Helen Moss says:

    Hi, Diane — fellow lover of jingle bells!

    I have a short strap of large sleigh bells bought from an Amish harness maker. They are always on my (inside) front door, and I love hearing them. It just never gets old.

    Have you ever come across Japanese jingle bells (suzu)? They have a lovely ring to them. Japanese ladies usually put a jingle bell with a small ornament on their coin purses, so they’ll know if the purse falls out.

    Beautiful home this (and every) year!


  20. Love love love your living room and the pretty black and white check. Your mantel caught my eye too, such pretty stockings and what a fun idea to add the pinecones to the candlesticks. Gorgeous tour.

  21. Laura @ Inspiration for Moms says:

    You had me at the first picture with all the wonderful buffalo check! I love your neutral black and white decor. And those ho, ho, ho coasters is such a genius idea!

  22. Pinecones on silver candlesticks for the win!

  23. Jennifer @ Town and Country Living says:

    The pine cones on candlesticks are adorable! Love the chalk board art too. Happy Holidays, Diane!

  24. Maybe it’s our age, Diane, because I’m finding myself going the “simple” route this year, too! And I’m loving it!! We’ve always entertained at Christmas but this year since I’ve not gone overboard with the decorating, I’m having more energy to have more people in. And what better way to decorate than with the beautiful friends and family who visit!

    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!