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Tips & Hacks

12 Days of Christmas Decorating Ideas from Interior Designers

by DecorMatters|Dec 07, 2022

It’s the most beautiful time of the year! If you’re reading this, then it’s nearing December and you’re looking to add some Christmas decorations to spruce up your festive home. We know it can be a struggle to decorate our homes and spaces for the holidays. As our Christmas present to you, we asked 12 interior designers for their top Christmas decorating tips and hacks to help you this holiday season! From DIY festive decorations to winter home decor upgrades, there’s a piece of advice for everyone that will help you in your Christmas decorating journey!

On the first day of Christmas, we have tips from Alee @whitewoodfarmhouse 

Christmas tree ideas, red holiday interior design, fireplace decor

📸: @whitewoodfarmhouse

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating?

The most important tip/hack would be to switch things up each year, move decor around to different spots and it looks brand new and fresh without having to buy new.

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

My advice to someone struggling with decorating during the holiday season would be to take one space at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to do it all in one day.

Turn on some Christmas music, make yourself a warm drink and enjoy the moment.

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it?

One might say the center point of Christmas decor in a home would be the Christmas tree however, I beg to differ. I think a kitchen table centerpiece consisting of a beautiful garland, and some candles with a touch of Christmas colors is a must to bring people together. The kitchen is the most important place in a home. Where food is, people will gather and make it special for those precious memories.

On the second day of Christmas, we have tips from Donna @donnadelaine_home

Christmas island decorating, small holiday decorations 

📸: @donnadelaine_home

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating?

Choose a theme or color scheme to maintain a cohesive flow throughout the space.

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

Layer your Christmas decor. Start with the big pieces (tree, mantel), add in smaller items (tabletop trees, centerpieces) and smallest items last (candles, decorative objects)

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it?

A Christmas tree. It can be left natural with only lights. Can be decorated minimally ( just ribbon and/or a few ornaments). Or fully decorated with lights, ribbon, picks, and ornaments!

On the third day of Christmas, we have tips from Lyndsey @neutralhabitat

Christmas front door decorating ideas, Christmas wreath ideas

📸: @neutralhabitat

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating? 

For my holiday decor I always keep on hand some command strips, fishing line and hairspray. Command strips (or something similar for temporary attachments & hanging) are an easy way to affix decor to walls, mantles or tables without really damaging your home structure. Just make sure they’re removed properly and you read where sticky adhesives should not be used. I use fishing line to sneakily keep decor in place like filler on a Christmas tree or garland to a mantle. Lastly, I use hairspray to keep items that tend to shed a lot from falling apart all over my home. For example, I’ll sometimes use pampas grass in holiday bouquets as a soft & fluffy addition. Pampas tends to shed its fibers, so if you spray it with hairspray it’ll help hold the fibers in place. (Not always perfectly but it does help!)

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

If you struggle to figure out where to start, first ask yourself “what brings you joy?” Start with the items, pieces, colors or figurines that spark true happiness to you and then set them in places that you will always be able to see and admire. Regardless of what decor looks visually online or in social media it’s most important to lean into what makes you happy and then go from there. Holiday decor for your home is first and always for you - so start with what you love and then you can’t go wrong!

If you’ve already figured out that piece and are looking for more tangible advice, I recommend figuring out your decor style and coming up with a cohesive color story that corresponds with it. For example, identify the 3-5 colors that your holiday item or decor all shares and add in additional pieces within those same color options, being sure to add a mixture of all the identified colors. This will help ensure that your decor shares the same pallet and maintains that cohesive look.

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it?

I love to incorporate items from nature in my holiday decorations, so I always love to forage for items that are in my natural surrounding areas. Since we reside in the mountains, I love to include pine cones and pine branches if I can find them! Pine comes especially are some of the most versatile fillers and I love the beautiful rich brown color and texture they bring to any setting. You can use them as bowl or vase filler, on a table scape or even in a bundle on a mantle if you have one. They’re always also a wonderfully scented addition!

On the fourth day of Christmas, we have tips from Jen @gallagherboyfarm

Christmas staircase decorating ideas, garland design tips

📸: @gallagherboyfarm

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating?

My most important tip/hack is that battery-powered fairy lights and flameless candles add an instant feeling of cozy and magic to any decor you have. They are easy to find, can be purchased inexpensively, and are a perfect last-minute solution to holiday decorating needs.

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

Decorating for the Holidays can feel overwhelming with all of the pretty (and vastly different) options available. If you are struggling with Holiday decorating, a good starting point would be to hone in a color scheme by pinning a few inspiration photos, or creating a mood board to dial in how you want everything to look and feel. It is helpful to take inventory of what decor is already on hand, and decide what newer items, if any, would help bring your inspiration board to life in a cohesive way.

Don’t feel like every nook of your home needs to be decorated, if you feel intimidated with the process, simply start with three areas and focus on making an impact there. For example, you could prioritize a tree, your entrance, and the mantle.

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it?

I feel like garland is a must-have Christmas decor item. You can buy real greenery from your local nursery or find really great faux garlands at most craft stores. While I use real cedar garland for my front porch, I use faux garlands for our stair rail and mantle. My favorite faux garland at the moment is the Norfolk Pine variety. The trick to styling greenery is to layer a few garlands together with wire ties to create fullness. I also add eucalyptus stems for more dimension and interest. Lastly, adding silk or velvet ribbons and brass bells completes the look.

On the fifth day of Christmas, we have tips from Emily @emilywelchstyle

Holiday living room ideas, festive design tips

📸: @emilywelchstyle

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating?

Start early! If you aren’t down for before Thanksgiving, make a day/weekend out of after thanksgiving and slowly start decorating. Depending on the size of your home it can take a while so just start with one thing at a time. I start November 1, because it’s so much work (and our house is small) and I want to enjoy it for as long as possible. 

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

Try the minimalist style. Only lights and one or two types of ornaments on your tree. Dried oranges, greenery, lights. You don’t need a lot to make it feel festive. Less to get out, put up & store! 

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it?

Warm white fairy/Christmas lights! My favorite thing about the Christmas season is sitting in your glowing room at night. I buy a pack (or three) of fairy lights on Amazon and put them on greenery garlands, mini trees, kitchen shelves, wreaths, and of course your Christmas tree. Go for the ones with a remote!

On the sixth day of Christmas, we have tips from Jen @theholidayhousedecor

Festive living room design ideas, holiday home decorating

📸: @theholidayhousedecor

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating?

I think first and foremost, the most important thing to get started is you have to be inspired! I like to look at pictures, then I look at what I have. Start in the places you enjoy decorating the most. I usually start with my dining table, (I love tablescapes) so after I finish that, it gets me in a groove and I continue on with the rest of the house!

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

I know holiday decorating can seem like a lot of fun to many, but it can also be overwhelming! (I get it) Even interior decor enthusiasts like myself get stressed out! So to get me in the mood, I love to play Christmas music, have a glass of wine, light a seasonal candle, (whatever makes you happy) remember this is a time to celebrate! You are going to make beautiful memories in your cozy home. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, decorating for Christmas is a lot of work! Make sure you take breaks, and just put out what you love to look at! It’s ok if you don’t get it perfect. You have a whole season to move things around and get things where you want it.

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it? 

I would say floral pine stems and lights are a must-have! I love to place my Christmas greenery throughout the house. Whether I put in vases, shelves, or to decorate my fire mantle. It really fills in the bare spaces! What I also love about greenery is you don’t have to spend a lot of money! You can go outside and pick holly, pine, and branches to give your house that Christmas lodge feel! Then you incorporate lights in with the greenery and your house already feels more like Christmas, and smells like it too!

On the seventh day of Christmas, we have tips from Angela @a.house.yarn

Christmas entryway decorating ideas, subtle holiday design

📸: @a.house.yarn

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating?

Be thrifty! You can do so much with items collected from nature. Collect pine cones when out walking, fill bowls with them and place a pillar candle in the middle. Collecting pine branches are great for placing in vases, making wreaths, swags, etc. Slice up oranges and bake in the oven to make decorations. Raid the spice rack for cinnamon sticks and star anise, they’re great for scented decorations. Similarly, eucalyptus and rosemary are great for decor like wreaths and again for scent. Make paper chains from old newspapers, basic brown parcel paper or print off sheets of music.

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

Get some help by getting all the family involved with the decorating. Set a date (i.e. the first Sunday in December) and make it a tradition! 

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it?

The Christmas tree is a must-have item and should be THE focus of any room. Make it easier by styling it all in one colour (i.e. all white baubles). The handmade natural items will tie in well with neutral baubles.

On the eighth day of Christmas, we have tips from Margy @theoldhouseonmain

Christmas tree decorating ideas, wooden holiday decor

📸: @theoldhouseonmain

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating?

Use neutral pieces that will go from Fall to Christmas to Winter, then add pops of color or specific pieces for each Holiday. 

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

I say do what feels right for you! If you struggle but want a lot of Holiday decor, hire it out, or find a resource that is good inspo, like my page, and simply copy!

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it?

I use faux pine branches everywhere! In Christmas trees, on the dining table, on the coffee table, in baskets, bins, and it instantly makes your home feel like Christmas!

On the ninth day of Christmas, we have tips from Susanne @s.u.s.a.p

Cozy holiday balcony space, warm Christmas balcony

📸: @s.u.s.a.p

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating?

Relax and have fun with it. You can decorate as much or as little as you want to. A lot of Christmas time is about feelings, dreams, memories and hopes. Whoever enters your home will remember the feeling it gives them over all else. A perfectly styled and coordinated Christmas decor by an expert is not necessarily better than one produced with care and love.

There are plenty of batterie operated candles nowadays that are child and pet safe and are pretty close to the real thing. Use them, use lots, and use fairy lights. Even if you do nothing else this Christmas season but string some fairy lights along your curtain pole, or along a bookshelf, it will change the atmosphere of a room. Warm and cozy throws and cushions also go a long way. Then slowly add to that mix and see how it feels. Start with the items that you really want to display. Then see how you can highlight them. Try to focus on one overall style (rustic, modern, traditional...), and do not mix too many styles in one room.

Whoever lives in your home will remember the magic of their past Christmases, too, and all these feelings will mix and mingle with the experience you will give them and yourself with the way you decorate your home. What makes you feel happy when you think of past Holiday seasons? Can you incorporate that or parts of it into your decor? If you have children, then how do you want your children to experience Christmas time? If you can answer these questions then you have an idea already on what you should decorate and how.

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

Everyone will have their own must have Christmas decor item. For me it is a Christmas tree or some substitute of a tree, like branches in a vase. Only during the lockdown two years ago we settled for a large wreath on the wall made from greenery from our garden.

Good styling is not just about a beautiful cohesive look, it also has to work for the people who live in the house. For a family with children, it may be important to incorporate children's crafts or old ornaments with memories into the decor. Concerning the styling, I would always go with at most three main colours in the decor, and only a few accent colours if at all. One possibility is to pick up the room colours in the holiday decor.

On the tenth day of Christmas, we have tips from Elisa @theedgewoodhome

Christmas shelving decorations, holiday shelf ideas, small festive decorations

📸: @theedgewoodhome

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating?

One of the most important tips is to start planning your holiday decor early. You don’t have to set up your decorations early but planning is important because items sell out very quickly. Planning early will give you peace of mind that you have everything you need.

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

For anyone that struggles, I say focus on one room at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the places you want to decorate in your home so use social media to find inspiration and slowly decorate one room then the next. 

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it?

The one decor item I recommend is a garland. You don’t have to have a mantle for it. You can place it on a sideboard, dining room buffet, tv console, or entryway table. Add items like candle sticks, glass or brush Christmas trees, and ornaments to finish the look.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, we have tips from Cait @nest.out.west

Christmas bedroom tips, holiday bedroom decorating ideas

📸: @nest.out.west

What is your most important tip/hack when it comes to Holiday decorating?

Reuse, but reimagine. I’m too frugal to buy new Christmas decor every year just for the sake of keeping up with the trends. That being said, I have a lot of trendy things that I bought years ago that I *could* just leave in the storage bins. Since I don’t want to use them as they are, but I don’t want to go out and spend more money on trendy pieces, I think about how I can rework what I have. That pre-lit faux cedar garland with glittery red balls? I painted all of the red pieces with antique black Rub n Buff, then added in some bronze faux berry sprigs for a moodier, more luxe vibe. Those blue ornaments I have from years back? Spray paint them black, then touch them up with antique gold, copper, and bronze paint or Rub n Buff. It’ll cost a couple hours, but could save you hundreds.

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

Pinterest and Instagram are overflowing with great examples for a whole range of different styles. There are a lot of high end homes and influencers sharing looks concocted with high-dollar products, but a quick Google Shop search, and you can easily find look-alike products for less. You can also get crafty and make your own version using products from the craft store (Hobby Lobby and Michaels are my go-tos). I made three wreaths for less than the cost of buying ONE from a well-known home retailer, and they looked pretty much JUST like the original.

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it?

I’m all about styling a pretty cedar garland somewhere in my home. There are plenty of companies that’ll ship you a fresh garland if you order early enough, or you can sometimes find them at your local grocery store. If allergies are a concern or you don’t like dealing with dried needles during clean-up, you can find some nice, realistic faux cedar garlands. I love to style them along the mantel, over the front door (exterior), along the stair banister, and along the tops of media cabinets, styled alongside some tall candle sticks. To dress up your garland, run a string of dried oranges and cranberries for a more organic vibe, or tie in some gold, black, copper, or bronze glass ball ornaments.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, we have tips from Kasey @sbkliving

Glam Christmas decorating ideas, luxurious holiday home, Glam Christmas tree

📸: @sbkliving

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with decorating during the Holiday season?

Remember this is for FUN! Close your eyes and envision how you want your decor to make you feel, what do you see? Are you surrounded by flocked trees and garland that make you feel like you're in a winter wonderland or are you more inspired by decor that evokes a sense of nostalgia featuring bright colored lights, ornaments, and even tinsel? Also, keep in mind that you don’t need to decorate your entire home, it’s totally ok to select a few areas to focus on.

What is a MUST-have Christmas decor item and how would you recommend someone styles it?

This may be obvious but...a tree! Consider the overall vibe you want your tree to give off and the space in which your tree will live. Perhaps you lean toward a gorgeous, tall, full spruce tree adorned with lights and ornaments all carefully selected within a specific color pallet, making sure to mix textures for visual interest OR maybe you love a tree that's a bit sparser, a nod to the iconic Charlie Brown Christmas tree with quirky ornaments that have special meaning to your family. If your tree decorating feels authentic to you, you can't go wrong!

Thank you for reading!

With that, fasten your sleigh belts and have fun decorating because the holiday season is one of the most fun times to spend in our homes! We hope your Christmas decorating goes smoothly using these tips from 12 amazing interior designers. Be sure to follow them on social media and let them know which holiday decorating tip you enjoyed the most. 

With our free home design app, you can design your dream holiday home and visualize cozy furniture, Christmas decorations, and personal items on multiple layouts or even your real room. From everyone at DecorMatters, have a very safe, cozy, and stylish Christmas!

UP NEXT: How to Choose and Design the Right Christmas Tree for Your Space

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