This holiday season is likely to be more enjoyable and memorable for many of us as we look forward to safer gatherings with our families and friends. And what better way to welcome your guests than a cozy and beautifully decorated home! In this post I'd like to share my process for decorating the main living areas of our home, and also a few words on specific decor elements that may be of interest to you.
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1. Choose a Color Scheme and Overall Style
With so many beautiful Christmas tree and ornament choices available in stores, it's very tempting to choose pieces that catch your eye, and then display everything you've bought or already possess, no matter what the color or style! However, I found that limiting colors to just a few will not only look more sophisticated, but it will also help to save a few pennies here and there!
This year, I chose gold, white, and silver for our family room, and added a few red and blue elements in other areas. The beautiful blue and white ornaments in the photo below are from Frontgate, and were an anniversary gift from my hubby two years ago. The entire set is gorgeous and of a very high quality. Although this particular set is not available at present, Frontgate tends to offer the same set each year. Here is another set that is equally lovely and on sale right now! Other Frontgate ornament collections can be seen here.
2. Tackle one Area at a Time
I started with the mantel this year, then our Christmas tree, staircase, and floral displays. By decorating one area at a time, it's a little easier to carry the color theme from one room to the next.
In the picture below, the stone mantel in our family room looks very festive with a pre-lit mixed pine artificial garland. I added a few greenery pieces, and gold ribbon (24-inch pieces tucked into the garland) to 'dress' it up in my chosen colors and style. A trailing beaded garland (that cost just $3.00), and a buffalo plaid poinsettia add some additional eye candy to the arrangement. Silver cow bells and stockings (hanging on either side of the mantel), and a large multi-ribbon bow (hanging from the mirror) complete the fireplace decor. The bow is from an Etsy store called SimplyAdornmentsss. Trina, the owner, creates beautiful bows for every occasion, and her selections are available in a large variety of colors. To integrate the bow into my overall theme, I added a couple of small gold hearts and a couple of flocked vase filler pieces. You can see more detailed photos of the mantel decor in this photo gallery at the end of my post!
Product Sources: 9' Pre-Lit Mixed Pine Garland with 90 LED Multifunction Lights (eBay) | 9’ Pre-Lit LED Greenery Garland (Costco) | Cream Cable Kit Christmas Stocking (Similar eBay) | Cable Knit Christmas Stockings (Target) | Set of Rustic Hanging Bells (Similar) | Beaded Garland | Buffalo Plaid Poinsettia Pick (Similar) | Buffalo Plaid and Burlap Bow (Etsy)
3. Use What You Already Have and Add a Few New Elements
When updating or adding seasonal touches to our home decor, including for Christmas, I generally use what I already have, but also try to add a few new elements, or combine existing pieces in new ways. For example, this year, I combined two types of ribbon (one was new) to make a couple of bows for our staircase decor. I watched a few bow-making videos on YouTube before I attempted making my own!
I'm not sure I could ever go into the bow-making business with my effort but I am happy with the results! Apart from the bows, I used a few different types of leafy stems, some seasonal eucalyptus picks, a few white berry stems, and a few more pieces of ribbon. Finally, a couple of glittery white butterflies completed the whole arrangement!
4. Create a Beautifully Trimmed Christmas Tree
We have a 7' high unlit artificial Christmas tree that I bought from Balsam Hill (on sale) four years ago. The quality and structure of the branches, and the entire tree, is outstanding. It's also very practical and easy to decorate.
The following steps work equally well for any type of tree, including fresh trees. You can also see photos that show these steps in a photo gallery at the end of this section. In the gallery, in order to see the full tree, click on each picture and then click on the expand symbol.
Step 1. Determine Tree Position
Many people have more than one tree that they can place in different areas of their home. We have one tree that we place in a corner of our open-plan kitchen/family room area. From this position, not only is the tree visible from most areas, but it's also very easy to decorate all the way around it.
Step 2. Add Lights and Tree Topper
If your tree is pre-lit you can skip this section! Our 7' tree is unlit, so we usually need at least five sets of 100 tree lights. Start from the bottom of the tree and work your way to the top. This is also a perfect time to add your tree-topper!
Step 3. Add Tree Picks and Largest Ornaments
It helps to have your largest tree picks and ornaments to hand when you start to trim the tree. I start with my tree picks, then place (or nestle) the largest baubles in an equidistant and zigzag fashion. Make sure to place ornaments and picks all around the tree.
Step 4. Add Ribbon for Color and Texture
I like to use 4-inch wide wired ribbon, cut into 24-inch strips, and then twisted into a spiral shape. I tuck these in to 'gaps' in the tree. I also use 2.5-inch wired ribbon in some areas. I find the 2.5-inch ribbon is a little easier to tuck in to the tree.
Step 5. Add Medium-Sized Ornaments
We have a small dog so we place mainly shatter-proof ornaments in the lower quarter of our tree. Shatter-proof ornaments have come a long way in recent years and you can find some beautiful ones in stores at the moment. By the way, you can find some amazing decor bargains in the two weeks before and after Christmas.
Step 6. Add Smaller Ornaments and Drop Ornaments
At this stage, I start decorating with the lights off so I can see the gaps in the tree more clearly. If you have a tree with sturdy branches, then you can sometimes place drop ornaments (such as icicle ornaments) towards the tip of each branch. We have a few of these and also some lightweight twisted gold metal ornaments that work for smaller branches.
Step7. Add a Tree Skirt
We have a quilted tree skirt that we use every year. It completes the tree and defines the space under the tree to place our gifts. When it's time to put everything away, the tree skirt gets laundered and stored for the following year.
5. Easy and Elegant Christmas Floral Arrangements
Below are some photos of my Christmas floral arrangements and tablescapes this year. I want to emphasize that while I added a few new artificial stems, many of these floral pieces can be used year-round, especially the white hydrangea stems, and the magnolia branches.
For our breakfast room, I used the same ginger jar and hurricane candle holders that I'd used in my post for the Thanksgiving table setting for eight. For my Christmas arrangement, I added width with pine greenery, and height with two strategically placed magnolia branches. I also added a few gold stems to fit in with my theme. There are two new stems on the table itself, and two intertwined gold garlands. Most of my stems and branches come from Target and Michael's.
To update the floral arrangement on our kitchen island (shown below), I added two new flocked stems with red berries, and two red berry picks. You can see how this ginger jar looked before I updated the arrangement for Christmas here. Continuing the gold and white theme, I added a couple of white candles and a gold grasshopper to complete the vignette.
We have a small table near our entryway, a perfect spot for a pair of white ceramic deer. I love these figurines, and try to place them somewhere in our home each Christmas. This year, I placed them next to a Christmas basket. I updated the basket by adding a red berry pick along with a few pieces from a vase filler that I found at Target.
On our dining table, adding a few small Christmassy picks to an existing arrangement of white hydrangeas transformed this floral centerpiece to fit in with my overall theme.
Is anything more wonderful than spending Christmas Eve by the fireplace, with a beautiful tray of coffee topped with cream, and slices of delicious banana cake? I'm afraid it'll all be gone before Santa arrives (lol)! By the way, my hubby makes the banana cake, which is absolutely incredible! Merry Christmas to you and your family!
More Detailed Photos
Below, a few more photos that show some of my Christmas decor in more detail. Click on each photo to expand it further.