27 Holiday Décor Hacks So Genius You'll Wish You Did Them
Deck the halls with these easy hacks.
According to one survey, 43 percent of individuals polled planned to buy Christmas decorations in 2017, with 12 percent planning to spend more than $100 on their holiday cheer. Perhaps that explains other research, chiefly a survey conducted by UNITS® Moving and Portable Storage, which reveals that 37 percent of individuals find decorating for the holidays stressful. Furthermore, 38 percent of those polled claimed that the pressure to decorate was a total buzzkill.
So, before you start shelling out your hard-earned cash on new ways to deck the halls (and increasing your stress level in the process), it's time to start decorating smarter, not harder. With that in mind, here we've rounded up 27 holiday décor hacks sure to make every part of your home a little more festive. And if you're debating when to start decorating, know that This Is the Date When You Should Put Up Your Christmas Decorations!
Zip tie your ornaments to keep them secure.
If you're eager to keep those precious ornaments intact for next year, despite the havoc your pets, kids, or clumsy partner might otherwise wreak, try securing them to your tree.
"Keep zip ties and green floral wire on hand—use these to secure fragile ornaments, to reshape a few lopsided tree branches, or secure light strands," suggests interior stylist and creative director Erin Swift, founder of Holiday Workroom. And to sidestep a holiday faux pas this year, make sure to avoid The 22 Worst Christmas Traditions.
Work your way from the top of your tree down.
While many people start decorating their tree from the bottom up, doing it in the opposite order will improve the look of your holiday decorations in the long run.
"To light your tree, string the lights from the top down, alternating between pushing them towards the interior of the tree and back out to the branches," says Swift.
Hang your biggest ornaments first.
Instead of placing your itty-bitty ornaments your tree first, hoping to secure them prime spots where they'll be seen, start with your bigger ones instead. "When hanging the ornaments, start with your largest finish it off with the smallest," suggests Swift.
When the tree is largely covered in with large ornaments, you can fill in any gaps with the smaller ones. And for more ways to improve your design scheme, check out the 30 Best Stylish Home Upgrades.
Put translucent ornaments closest to your lights.
Want to make your tree look like a million bucks? Make sure that your translucent ornaments are placed closest to your sources of illumination.
"Keep the clear and frosted ornaments close to the lights to maximize your tree's glow and glimmer," says Swift. And for more ways to illuminate your space, discover these 20 Amazing Ways to Brighten Your Home.
Ditch that tree skirt for something more stylish.
That tiny plaid tree skirt you've been trotting out for years may serve its purpose, but there are more stylish ways to make your tree shine.
"For your tree skirt, opt for a sheepskin rug or soft throw blanket," suggests Swift. Not only will this add some whimsy to your holiday setup, it means that you don't have to buy an expensive accessory that only gets brought out once a year if you don't already have a tree skirt handy. And for more ways to infuse your home with holiday cheer, check out these 20 Super Fun Ways to Spend Christmas Eve.
Buy way more lights than you think you'll need.
A few strands of lights may seem like enough for that small tree, but if you want your holiday display to wow, you're going to want to have extras—and plenty of them—on hand.
"You always need more lights than you think," says Swift. "Some say 100-plus lights for every foot of tree, but we say 200-plus."
Trim your tree with flowers.
"Have you ever seen a Christmas tree composed of flowers? Substitute string lights for florals and succulents to create a photo-worthy installation for your home. Fill a foam base will an assortment of flowers and a touch of ornaments to complete a unique piece," says Bronwen Smith, owner and lead designer of event design and management B Floral in New York. And for more incentive to add some blossoms to your tree, discover these 8 Amazing Benefits of Having Flowers in Your Home.
Bring the outside indoors.
While keeping ice and snow out may be a top priority when the winter rolls around, that doesn't mean you have to forgo all reminders of the natural world.
"While creating holiday arrangements, incorporate elements such as silver brunia and dusty miller to add texture. Non-floral accents like pinecones and branches will add a festive flair, while also elevating a standard flower arrangement," suggests Smith.
Don't sleep on those winter trees.
The snow-covered branches of a winter tree are plenty picturesque outside your window. Better yet, once you dust them off, they make the perfect indoor holiday decorations, too.
"Winter trees make great add ons!" says Smith. "For a rustic holiday tablescape, incorporate branches from winter trees such as pine and birch. One way to bring these elements into your tablescape is to place pine branches throughout the center of the table to create an inviting table runner. Attach branches to the back of guests' chairs for an additional rustic touch."
Incorporate a lavish tablescape into your décor.
"Make the table runner the focal point. Your Christmas table is a place to make memories, so it's important to create a stunning tablescape that guests will remember. An overflowing natural table runner comprised of a variety of red florals and winter greenery will create height and elevate the festive ambiance of your dining room," says Smith. And before you sit down to a holiday dinner, make sure you know these 23 Old-Fashioned Etiquette Rules That Still Apply.
Make light your main priority.
"Lighting is everything especially when it comes to the holidays. Make sure to add areas of warm cozy lighting in addition to the brighter areas where you have your Christmas Tree," says Nicole Gittens, principal designer at New Visions Interiors and Events. "Spread your lighted areas evenly around your home to give it the inviting glow every holiday home deserves."
Engage multiple senses with your decorations.
Who says that holiday decorations have to be a treat for your eyes alone? If you want to make every inch of your home feel festive, incorporate some scents into your design plan.
"Nothing says the holidays better than the smell of freshly cut trees, sprigs of cinnamon, or peppermint when you open the door. Use essential oil diffusers to spread the smell of the holidays and welcome in guests to remind them that our favorite time of year is here!" says Gittens.
Put your current color scheme to work.
Let's face it: Those red and green or blue and white decorations don't necessarily go with every design scheme out there. Instead of trying to make those traditional holiday decorations work within the confines of your existing décor scheme, buy some in non-traditional colors instead.
"Traditional colors are always nice—however, be creative and think outside the box! Have a living room with blush pink or pops of orange or magenta? Make those colors spell 'cheer' and accent your existing decor in those same hues in your tree ornaments, mantle displays and vignettes," suggests Gittens.
Make your packages pop.
"Don't hesitate to wrap faux presents to place beneath your tree leading up to the holiday," suggests Gittens. "Spring for a few higher-quality rolls of paper that will give your gift wrapping game a level up! Coordinate your wrap with the colors of your holiday décor and you will add a finished, unanticipated look beneath your tree."
To make these accents even more festive, "Use fun, outside of the box items to finish off your packages. Think burlap twines or small twigs, silver or gold bells or festive holiday faux flowers to add a special pop of color."
Add some texture to your design scheme.
It's not just color that makes a holiday design scheme—texture is every bit as important when it comes to making your home pop. "Adding texture gives all the 'feels' of the holidays," says Gittens. "Utilize burlap, velvets, and holiday plaids throughout your home, from garlands to throw pillows, and use them in places you might not expect."
Put your decorations in unexpected areas.
While your living room or front yard may traditionally serve as the focal point of your holiday décor, adding some seasonal accents to your kitchen can make your whole house feel more festive in a hurry.
"[Put] a few Christmas ornaments in a bowl on the breakfast table, in a small bowl next to the mixer and toaster, or even a small faux Christmas tree (less than two feet) that can stand on a kitchen island, peninsula, or other featured spot," says designer Susan Serra, CKD, CAPS, president of Susan Serra Associates, Inc. and founder of Scandinavian Made.
Make your kitchen photo-friendly.
The holiday season is all about spending time with your loved ones, and what better way to celebrate than with photos of your inner circle?
"Have an area of wall in the kitchen to temporarily take over? Print out the year's Insta or other images, put them all next to one another in the shape of a Christmas tree for a large, happy, graphic display," suggests Serra.
Gussy up your cabinets.
Even those areas of your home that favor function over form, like your kitchen cabinets, can get in the festive spirit with a few seconds of decorating.
"Hang Christmas balls on a few cabinet handles," suggests Serra.
Make your kitchen window pop.
For a "fun, graphic look," Serra recommends making the most of your existing kitchen tools. "Have a kitchen window? Put a wreath on the inside of the window, get a collection of smallish wooden spoons and crisscross them in twos all around the wreath."
Add some garland to your kitchen décor.
A little garland goes a long way when it comes to making your whole home feel merry. However, instead of simply draping it over doorways throughout your home, try adding some to those blank spaces in your kitchen, too.
"Get roping, put it around the kitchen, on top of the wall cabinets," suggests Serra. To make the look even more fun, she recommends that home decorators "Add a mix of small kitchen utensils and Christmas decorations."
Put your Mason jars to work.
"Grab a few Mason jars and fill them in with greenery branches or berries for some color and glitter to act as snow. Stick a branch or two to the cap of your mason jar, turn it over and let it dry completely," suggests Deemer Cass, a Christmas tree delivery and decoration expert at Fantastic Services.
Add some throw pillows into your design scheme.
"Add a touch of festivity to each room with several throw pillows and blankets. Create a cozy atmosphere inside with classic plaid patterns or glamorous sequins. There are plenty of styles and designs you can choose from. Just make sure to keep your decoration balanced….You won't be happy with the final result if you overdo it," says Cass.
Mix up your stocking design styles.
"A useful tip is to stick to your color palette and try to maintain a balanced look. You can alternate between plain designs and patterns to achieve that," says Cass. "If you are a family of four, for example, grab two plain colored stockings and two more with the same pattern. Also, don't forget there should be a reasonable distance between your fireplace and your stockings to prevent them from catching on fire."
"Organization is the key to getting ready for the best holiday décor and vignettes for the coming season," says Gittens. "Hopefully, the end of last season afforded you the opportunity to label and organize. Spend some time pulling out what you have to see what you're working with. If you're in a new home this year, determine which items you want to stick with and identify possible new pieces while you're out shopping to blend in with the old."
Make a plan—and stick to it.
"Plan your work and work your plan. Visualize specific spaces in your home that you identify to be décor-worthy," says Gittens. "Where will your tree be placed? Have room for multiple trees throughout? Space plan and determine exactly where those trees will go. Have an amazing fireplace mantle you want to adorn with greenery, bulbs or lights? Determine which décor will shine best in that space."
Don't overdo it.
"Show your guests your best holiday decorations and décor and know when it's time to stop. A tastefully-decorated home for the holidays shows that your planning and organization has paid off. Too much holiday décor can easily come off as too busy and overdone," says Gittens.
Skip the stress.
"The holiday season can be busy and exciting but can also be stressful. If you have grand intentions for your holiday decorating but don't have the time reach out to a professional! Many interior design teams have lighter schedules during the holidays and offer holiday design services to help you get your home holiday ready in no time. Enjoy the season!" says Gittens. And for more ways to keep your cool this holiday season, check out these 17 Top Tips from Psychologists for Dealing With Holiday Stress.
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