Renovation DIY & How To

Designers on the Low-Key Decor Project They Save For the Holiday Break

Boredom begone.
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There’s nothing like the first day of a long holiday weekend. With a glass of wine in hand, notifications set to silent, and your feet up on the sofa, doing sweet nothing has never felt better. That is, until day two rolls around and the inevitable boredom of relaxing at home officially sets in.

At some point over the holidays, we all reach that moment when we subconsciously start praying for a pipe to break just so we have something to do. Know that you are not alone. As inherently creative people, interior designers know this struggle all too well. Which is why we asked a few of our favorite designers how they stay sane when the fatigue kicks in.

From cleaning the curtains to wallpapering the powder room, they’re all for tackling simple decor swaps and small home projects on a dreary winter day—in fact, they actually look forward to it. Stop twiddling your thumbs: Tackle these simple, designer-approved DIYs instead!

Try: A Eucalyptus Wreath

Want something seasonal and crafty? When it comes to holiday florals, eucalyptus is proving to be a chic and breezy alternative to heavy evergreens.

“A really easy and quick DIY I plan to tackle this season is a eucalyptus wall hanging. The simplicity is beautiful and it will double as seasonal holiday decor,” shares Natalie Myers of Veneer Designs.

Photo by Jessica Antola

Try: A Low-Budget Kitchen Reno

If you really have time on your hands and are looking for an impactful project to take on, designer Robin Wilson has mastered the art of the budget kitchen remodel. Seriously, she recently pulled off her own kitchen refresh in five days for $800!

“We removed a 1970’s ceramic tile and replaced with a grey glass tile that will reflect light from the undermount LED lights that will be installed after Thanksgiving! [We] had some friends over already and got a lot of compliments. They think I redid the whole kitchen…” she tells Domino.

Here’s a peek at what her schedule looked like:

Day 1 – Demolition and wall prep

Day 2/3 – Purchase tile on a mesh back for easier installation

Day 4 – Set the cement

Day 5 – Grout the tile

Try: Color Coding the Closet

“John and I love cleaning out the closets and color coding clothes,” shares Jason Oliver Nixon, one part of the design duo behind Madcap Cottage. “If we haven’t worn something in a year, we consider it and then—if it doesn’t pass the timeless test—pass it along to our local Salvation Army. Same with shoes. It’s very cathartic and sets off to the year ahead in a fresh way. Plus, we shop our closet and find all sorts of new combos that look like we hit up Neiman Marcus.”

courtesy of the home edit

Try: Revamping the Pantry

“My favorite thing to do when we have down time during the holidays is to pick up and reorganize from the chaos of the season. Never underestimate the power of a label maker and reorganizing the pantry with cute gold and white labels! It’s an instant pick me up with little effort!” says Ashley Rose of the DIY blog, Sugar & Cloth.

Photo courtesy of Anthropologie

Try: Wallpapering the Powder Room

Wallpapering an entire room is not simple feat. But if you’re working with a space as tiny as Joy Moyler’s 84-square-foot bathroom, the task doesn’t seem so daunting.

I think powered rooms are unsung jewels! This season I’ve decided to wallpaper mine [in] Anthropologie’s Geo Mosaic. It’s graphic and carries a big punch.”

Try: A Custom Lampshade

“One of our favorite projects this year was creating our own custom lampshade. Changing out a plain white shade not only updates the look of an old lamp, but it can transform the aesthetic of an entire room,” says Stephanie Andrews of Balance Design

Total DIY time? One hour. Get the full tutorial for this same project at I Like That Lamp.

Photo by Ben Jack

Try: Cleaning the Curtains

Forget spring cleaning, save yourself the headache by getting some chores done now. “I am looking forward to taking the time to washing all of our curtains—including the shower curtain!” says Joanna Hawley of Jojotastic.

While it’s easy to forget about drapery once they’re up, curtains accumulate dust and stains over time. Your living room will thank you for doing an extra laundry load later!

Try: Setting a Fresh Tablescape

Denver-based interior stylist and designer Elizabeth Bear is all for a simple dining table swap that wall last past the holidays. Her essentials? A quality roll of children’s easel paper to drape down the table like a runner, a wood cutting as a centerpiece to stage flowers and candles, mixed greenery with paper magnolias, and cut-out letter place cards.

“If it’s a festive party and you want that little extra something, it’s fun to buy a dozen or more helium balloons all in the same color with the same color ribbon and let them float to the dining room ceiling. I ask them to leave the ribbons uncurled so I can cut and curl them at home to be above everyone’s head when sitting,” says Bear.

photo by meghan mcneer

Try: Tidying Up the Kids’ Room

“My low-key decor project prior to the holiday season is to clean out and organize my kids’ toys and closets,” says designer Lauren Rasken. “In NYC, storage is always challenging so my motto is one thing in….one thing out. I love using the container store storage shoe boxes to put stuff in so that all stays in one place neatly and the kids know where to find it by category. I try to organize their books by age and story type and within that by size. It’s a great time of year to purge and get organized!”

courtesy of Dee Murphy of Murphy Deesign

Try: Custom Closet Details

Over the holiday break, I always tackle my closets for a little refresh—whether it’s a purge, reorganization, or even adding a decorative element,” says Dee Murphy of Murphy Deesign. This Fall, I had the honor of being a part of the One Room Challenge, and California Closets came to the rescue—turning a pretty bleak storage space into a functional dream. What we added to it, anyone could do!”

Here are three simple swaps Murphy made to elevate her closet:

  1. Customize drawer pulls

“You can do this to your closet drawers, or any other drawers in your house. We added Emtek crystal knobs to the existing drawers for added texture and reflection and to keep with the aesthetic of my 1920’s home!”

  1. A “backsplash”

“Small sections of vintage cabinets, or in this case our closet, can be papered with a gorgeous pattern to create a “backsplash,” which is super fun and definitely DIY. This paper is by Milton & King.”

  1. A mirror

“I use mirrors EVERYWHERE, and if you can fit one into a space this small, you can fit one into any closet! A mirror creates a mini “vanity” for yourself (or for guests in my case). This one is from Rejuvenation!”

Try: Purging

Brooklyn-based interior designer, Lauren Wills, is on the same page as Murphy when it comes to switching up the closet. If you don’t have time for a decorative overhaul, consider sticking to a simple clothing purge!

“Brooklyn has its space limitations, and nothing feels better than gaining some space between hangers in my closet,” says Wills.

Prop stylist Heather Bullard is also looking forward to a major pair down this winter. Her goal? Clear her prop closet, clothes closet, and kitchen drawers and cabinets of clutter. “It always helps me embrace the whole “clean slate/fresh start” come Jan 1st and sets me on a path of intentional buying for the year ahead,” she says.

See more simple DIY ideas:

The Easy Way to DIY Colorful Pom-Poms

9 Easy DIY Projects Using Leftover Wallpaper

Try This DIY Before You Throw Away Old Napkins

Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.