15 Expert Design Tips to Transform Your Home With Winter Decorations
From lights to trees to wreaths, use these winter décor ideas to give your home that holiday feel.
There's no better time to transform your home than the winter holiday season. With trees, lights, wreaths, and more, there are so many ways to spice up your home with winter decorations. And there's really no reason not to go all out. But if you're unsure how to step up your décor for the perfect winter wonderland, we've talked to the interior design experts and rounded up the easiest ways to turn every inch of your home into a festive treat for the senses.
Create a stage for your decorations.
A grouping of winter decorations placed on a mantle or tabletop can look haphazard, unless there's a unifying theme. But by using holiday-inspired fabric, it's easy to create a simple stage for those décor items, turning them into a cohesive collection in no time.
"Look around for fabrics and textural items," says design expert Lori Wiles. "Plaid neck scarves are a great base for casual or rustic groupings and silk scarves are a great backdrop for clear glass groupings. The kitchen may have ceramic or metal platters, wooden cutting boards, or placemats that can be repurposed for the holiday and put back into service later."
Connect your favorite winter pieces.
A little physical connection between the design elements in your holiday vignettes can go a long way toward making them look like a coherent collection.
"This is the piece that makes any collection look finished and truly holiday special," says Wiles. "Place long, linear things between your items and visually connect them. You can tuck small pieces of evergreen or bare branches into the gaps, drape long beads and ribbon from piece to piece, or scatter fake snow in a loose line. Be sure to overlap each surface, not just connect them."
Create an overhead installation.
Who says that your home's horizontal surfaces are the only place to incorporate some festive holiday design? Instead of sticking to your mantle and table, take your winter décor to new heights this year and "wow guests by incorporating a jaw-dropping floral installation to your tablescape," suggests designer Bronwen Smith of B Floral in New York.
"Add an overhead installation, either hanging or elevated on top of a dining table, filled with seasonal flowers in fall-inspired colors. This table-setting element is more than an accent—it's a festive statement piece that family and friends will remember for years to come," she says.
Incorporate natural elements.
While glass ornaments, strands of tinsel, and twinkly lights may be your go-to accessories when it comes time to decorate for the holidays, incorporating some natural elements into your design scheme can instantly brighten up any space.
"I recommend bringing in natural items, such as evergreen clippings from your yard or the local garden center. It is easy to adorn picture frames and candle holders with a bit of greenery for a wintry vibe," says Jessica Salomone, principal interior designer at Lotus and Lilac Design Studio. "I also like to bring in branches with interesting shapes. This allows you to layer on ornaments, faux florals, or even more natural items, such as moss."
And combine more natural elements with a fake tree.
If you're not in the mood to deal with the expense, maintenance, and general mess that come along with having a real Christmas tree, incorporating some branches from natural trees into your artificial one provides the best of both worlds.
"I'm often asked if I prefer to work with artificial trees or real, and the answer is, I love them both," says Erin Swift, founder of Holiday Workroom. "However, with an artificial tree, there will always be gaps, even with the more expensive brands that allow you to bend the branches and create a fuller look. To solve this, I take real branches and foliage like spruce, magnolia, and eucalyptus, and push them into the tree where there are gaps. As an added bonus, it makes the tree smell really, really good."
Put your banister to work.
If you have a multi-level home, your banister is the perfect central spot for adding some holiday decorations. "We recommend natural garland on banisters, mantles, and draped over windows for a truly wintery feel. You can adorn these simply with natural berries and dried oranges for a lovely look that can stay up through January," says Salomone.
Add some twinkly lights to your usual décor.
While you may usually confine your twinkly lights to your tree, adding some to unexpected surfaces throughout your house can instantly turn ordinary spaces into something dreamy.
"Adding fairy lights to your existing bookcases, credenza tops, and vases adds a magical twinkle to your home that is enjoyed by kids and adults alike," says Salomone. And better yet, you don't have to take them down the second you're done celebrating either, as she says this is "another item that can stay up through January to banish the after holiday blues."
Even if you don't have much of a green thumb, you can still turn your home into a winter wonderland by adding a few potted succulents to your existing space.
"Succulents are always a great go-to for décor," says Smith. "Incorporating greenery into a space always promotes comfort for guests. Succulents are also simple to decorate with. For example, simply repot into a fun or elegant vase and set on a table." And to make your easy-to-care-for plants feel a bit more wintery, she recommends placing them on a white fabric backdrop or adding some strings of fairy lights between them.
Think outside the vase.
Those holiday flowers may look great in your favorite vase, but if you want to turn your home into the ultimate magical winter space, it pays to get creative. Using greenery and flowers in unexpected ways inside your home can instantly liven up every inch of your space. Smith suggest making "floral wreaths and even chair garlands to really impress your guests."
Add some flocked trees.
Having more than one tree at home is a great way to make your home feel way more festive. Fortunately, unlike that spruce in your sunroom, small flocked trees are a low-maintenance alternative that will add some unobtrusive whimsy to any room.
"Take a long table that runs behind the sofa and add flocked trees to it. This creates a woodland feel to a room because they look like they're covered in snow," says celebrity designer Courtney Cachet. "And add touches from holidays past with personalized bamboo ornaments. Every year add another photo as your family expands and new adventures are taken. This look can even carry through after the holidays, after the ornaments are removed."
Turn your Mason jars into decorative elements.
If you have a collection of Mason jars in your cabinets, put them to good use this winter by incorporating them into your holiday design scheme for a wonderfully festive look.
"Create a wintry mantle with faux snow in tall glass Mason jars and add different size white lights to it," says Cachet. "The white lights will make the glass jars sparkle, and it looks luxurious. And mix some glass ornaments in to complete the look."
Add cozy lighting.
A little light goes a long way when you're working to create a magical winter paradise inside your home. However, it's not just your Christmas tree that should get some illumination in the pursuit of an indoor winter wonderland.
"Both faux and real candles are a great way to add warmth and coziness for a wintry look in your space," suggests interior designer Rebecca Rowland of Rebecca Rowland Interiors. "You can also take a large glass cylinder and add a mix of pine cones, cinnamon sticks, holly (faux or real), and LED wire lights for a DIY décor centerpiece that will work on any table or shelf."
Lay down some sheepskins.
Decorating your home for the winter is about more than simply hanging some lights and ornaments: It's about creating a cozy holiday feel for your whole space. The good news? Even if you don't have a ton of extra winter decorations to spare, some of your existing design elements may already fit the bill.
"Sheepskins are a great layering piece for your bed, sofa, bench, or any seating area," says Rowland. "You can even layer a larger one on your rug or carpet for a fireplace cuddle spot."
Add some rich fabrics to your existing décor.
By the time winter rolls around, it's time to ditch those beach-inspired pillows and colorful throws in favor of some more seasonal decorations. Luckily, the right fabrics can transform your existing space in no time.
"Take your living room décor to winter by adding pillows with a thicker fabric, and put the cotton pillows away until next spring," says Rowland. "Look for velvets, knits, faux furs, or tweeds and mix them up to add a variety of textures and patterns. Choices of colors are up to you depending on your space, but don't be afraid to mix it up."
Create a tabletop vignette.
Even if you're not the type to trot out a whole holiday village, you can still put your tabletops to good use by creating a stunning tablescape.
"Start by placing a winter white table runner on your surface, then top it with a collection of white trees of a variety of sizes and materials such as glass, wax candles, or ceramic," says Rowland. "Add some clear glass fishbowls, of all sizes, filled with paper snow and LED wire lights, as well as votive candles." Bingo: Your house is now a veritable room-temperature snow globe.