11 Quick Holiday Decorating Ideas for When You’re Down to the Wire
It’s time you got festive.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:46 AM
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By now, our Pinterest feeds are overflowing with garland-clad mantels, we’ve lit our fireplace-scented candles, and our mugs are steaming with hot cocoa. It’s official: The holidays have arrived. All that’s left to do is put the final touches on our home, like nailing down a festive tabletop scheme and double-checking the lights on the tree. But if you haven’t gotten around to the whole decorating thing yet, don’t panic. We turned to 11 of our favorite designers and industry creatives for their go-to tips. From making a nonworking fireplace feel festive to adding cozy touches to your bedroom, each of these ideas is easy to pull off in a flash.
Hang an Asymmetrical Wreath
Rather than going all in for the holidays, designer Brady Tolbert simply replaced the art above his fireplace mantel with an oversize wreath. For this one, he cut sprigs of eucalyptus, cedar, pampas grass, and spruce and wrapped them around a large embroidery hoop using floral wire. “Evergreen looks the same even when it’s dry, so your wreath will last throughout the entire season,” says Tolbert. He breaks down the full how-to on his blog.
Put the Tree on a Table
Instead of lugging a full-size tree home, this year textile designer and artist Rebecca Atwood opted for two smaller ones (pine and rosemary) that double as table centerpieces. “They smell so wonderful,” she says. “Fragrance can make such a big impact.”
Simplify Your Ornament Collection
When Athena Calderone of EyeSwoon is tight on time, she sticks with simple winter whites. Not only does picking one color look incredibly elegant, but neutral pieces will also seamlessly blend in with your existing decor. “Add a few iridescent or silver-tinged pieces for a festive touch,” she says.
Forage for Branches
Save the fancy poinsettias for another day. The next time you decide to go for a long walk in the brisk air, pick up a few sticks, suggests designer and seasoned stylist Colin King. “It’s a wonderful way to create a unique arrangement, rather than taking an expensive trip to the flower market,” he says. Bonus points for in-season stems with berries.
Focus on the Floor
Magnolia isn’t just for the fireplace mantel and throw blankets aren’t just for curling up on the couch, if you ask St. Frank founder Christina Bryant. “I love using a blanket or quilt as a tree skirt,” says the textile designer.
Spice Up Your Tablescape
Sarah Sherman Samuel took a fresh approach to her dining room with a pink-terracotta color scheme for her holiday dinner. “I am also loving ochre and rust,” she says. “Suddenly, the table feels fresh.” Also key to her display: antique tableware. The designer puts her set of brass vintage flatware to good use.
Move the Greenery Upstairs
Verdant cedar is the first thing design blogger Liz Marie sees when she gets up in the morning during the wintertime and the last thing before she goes to bed. She draped mercury glass ornaments in the middle of each one so they didn’t feel sparse.
Stock Up on Candles
Kate Arends of Wit and Delight set the firewood aside and filled her functioning fireplace with a medley of candles, short and tall. To top it off, she framed the space with vases filled with bay leaves, juniper, rosemary, olive, silver-dollar eucalyptus, and seeded eucalyptus.
Ditch the Red and Green
Molly Madfis, the DIYer and blogger behind Almost Makes Perfect, added a personal touch to her holiday table by cutting up an old pair of jeans, splatter-painting them gold, and turning them into napkins. “While you can easily spend a lot on all sorts of pretty new things, this is an easy way to save money,” says Madfis.
Scour the Farmers’ Market
Camille Styles proves that just one trip to the grocery store can pay off. The blogger made a citrus wall hanging out of air-dried oranges, cinnamon sticks, and pinecones. The gilded walnuts—attached to the place cards—serve as a unique way to find your seat.
Elevate the Bar Cart
You don’t need to do an entire home overhaul to get in the holiday spirit. Leave it to Niki Brantmark of My Scandinavian Home to remind us that no bar cart should be left untouched. The design blogger’s setup got a quick refresh with brass vessels and candlesticks, winter-themed artwork, and eucalyptus branches.
This story was originally published on December 6, 2017. It has been updated with new information.
See more holiday decorating ideas: Make Some Festive Decor Updates With H&M’s Newest Collection How the Everygirl Cofounder Fills Her Home With Holiday Cheer The Best Christmas Trees We’ve Seen on Instagram