15 Easy Ways to Transform Your Home into a Winter Wonderland
Yes, life inside the snow globe is just as magical as it seems.
“When it comes to holiday decorating, there can never be enough sparkle or enough shine,” says Nicole Gittens, principal designer at New Visions Events and Interiors. “Step outside of the box—don’t hold back on displaying your best holiday decorations at the most wonderful time of the year.” With that sage wisdom in mind, we’ve rounded up the easiest ways to turn every inch of your home into a festive treat for the senses. And for more ways to spruce up your space, check out these 33 Genius Ways to Make Your Home So Cozy for Winter.
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 wintery 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. The combination of moss, dried or faux florals with ornaments on a natural branch can feel magical in a large container or vase. Fill the vase with stones, colored glass, or even more ornaments with a bit of faux snow to create the effect you desire.” And for more ways to turn your home into a holiday paradise, discover these 27 Holiday Décor Hacks So Genius You’ll Wish You Did Them.
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. And if you’re champing at the bit to get your holiday décor up, hold off, because This Is the Date When You Should Put Up Your Christmas Decorations.
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.
Better yet, you don’t have to take them down the second you’re done celebrating, either. “This is another item that can stay up through January to banish the after holiday blues,” says Salomone.
Combine some 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! However, with an artificial tree there will always be gaps, even with the more expensive brands that allow you bend the branches and create a fuller look,” says Erin Swift, founder of Holiday Workroom. “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.”
Create a stage for your decorations.
A grouping of 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: Plaid neck scarves are a great base for casual or rustic groupings, 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,” says design expert Lori Wiles.
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 cohesive 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 holiday 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 City. “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.” And if you’re having a hard time coping this holiday season, check out these 17 Top Tips from Psychologists for Dealing With Holiday Stress.
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 decor. 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,” says Smith. To make your easy-to-care-for plants feel a bit more wintery, try 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 a 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. “You can make floral wreaths and even chair garlands to really impress your guests,” suggests Smith.
Add some flocked trees.
If you want to transform your home into a true winter wonderland, having more than one tree at home is a great place to start. 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 look because they look like they’re covered in snow. Add touches from holidays past with personalized bamboo ornaments,” says celebrity designer Courtney Cachet. “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 jars and adding different size white lights to it. The white lights will make the glass jars sparkle and it looks luxurious. Mix some glass ornaments in to complete the look,” says Cachet.
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 a little 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. 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. Gather a collection of different size containers for even bigger impact,” suggests interior designer Rebecca Rowland of Rebecca Rowland Interiors.
Lay own some sheepskins.
Creating a winter wonderland at home 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. “They are a great layering piece for your bed, sofa, bench, or any seating area. You can even layer a larger one on your rug or carpet for a fireplace cuddle spot,” says Rowland.
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 winter decorations. Luckily, the right fabrics can transform your existing space into a winter wonderland 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.” And when you’re ready to start packing up that holiday cheer, This Is the Date When You Should Take Down Your Christmas Decorations.
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. Add some clear glass fishbowls, of all sizes, filled with paper snow and LED wire lights, as well as votive candles,” says Rowland. Bingo: Your house is now a veritable room-temperature snow globe. And if you’re gearing up for the holidays this year, check out these 20 Super Fun Ways to Spend Christmas Eve.
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