8 Ways to Decorate for the Holidays

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A man and a woman decorating a Christmas tree while a young girl sits on the man's shoulders to place a star on top

It’s time to deck the halls.

As the holiday season approaches, you might be looking for ways to decorate your home in preparation for family, friends, and guests. Here are some tips to help you decorate for the holidays in style.

The publications and design ideas highlighted in this article were chosen and recommended by the writer. They aren’t partners of, endorsed by, or otherwise affiliated with YEGisHome.

1. Pick a look that complements your home.

Start by exploring holiday looks that either match or contrast nicely with your home decor. Why not explore a range of colours (or all of them)? Or you can go for a more neutral palette that lets your own decor stay in the spotlight.

Your home might already have more of a neutral feel, in which case you might be looking to add a little more personality. A rustic look can also do this without being too overpowering. Or, if you’d like to make a bold statement, try layering your decor or combining several different festive and winter-themed patterns.

If you have a little more budget to work with and are really invested in your holiday decorating, think about getting a couple of furniture pieces just for the holidays. This could be as simple as picking out a couple of throw pillows or could mean splurging on a new chair or ottoman.

2. Style areas that aren’t usually decorated.

Guests often expect the living room and family areas to be decorated for the holidays. You can beat those expectations by decorating areas of your home that don’t typically see as much seasonal attention.

Make a big impression right away by adding a little festivity to your entryway. This sets the tone for what your guests can expect from the rest of the house. From there, why not infuse some holiday spirit into a room that everyone will end up visiting sooner or later: your bathroom or powder room?

The kitchen is also prime real estate for holiday decor. This is where your holiday meal is made, where family and friends gather, and where the snacks are readily available. The kitchen is just as much a hub of activity as the other family areas in your home. Make sure to give it the same level of attention and it’ll wow every time.

Still have decorations left over? Don’t forget the place where visions of sugarplums dance in your head! Start off your morning on a festive note by waking up in your beautifully decorated bedroom, and end the day by dreaming of all the holiday activities you’ll enjoy tomorrow. If you have guests staying in your spare bedroom, there’s no better reason to decorate that space, too.

3. Go green.

Greenery is a simple way to make your home look seasonally appropriate, no matter what holiday you’re celebrating. Fresh foliage comes in plenty of different varieties and can be used for garlands, wreaths, topiaries, lighting accents, and other purposes throughout the house.

If you don’t have a florist’s eye, don’t worry. You can gather pine cones, logs, and simple sprigs of pine or other greenery for a natural, no-fuss holiday look. Don’t have a green thumb and worried your greens won’t make it to the holiday? Try an artificial tree or other decorations, or better yet, make your plants out of paper for a one-of-a-kind impression.

4. Decorate for dinner.

The dining room is already a popular choice for holiday decorating, but have you tried going all out on your table settings? It might sound intimidating, especially if you’re envisioning something that your favourite Instagrammer or HGTV personality might have on their table. The good news is, you can make a big splash without too much effort.

This is the perfect time to pull out your holidays-only tableware and tablecloth, then accessorize with custom place settings for guests and family members. You can introduce a new colour palette or try adding greenery here, too. Or, if you want to keep it really simple and get it all with one quick trip to the store, an eye-catching centrepiece goes a long way.

5. Think outside the box.

If you like to display gifts before the holiday, why not use them as decor? Using a wrapping paper or even a wallpaper that complements the room is the perfect way to add something unusual to your decor. Bold, colourful prints can make a big splash, especially in a neutral space.

This is also an opportunity to use any leftover greenery you might have—just tuck a sprig into a package for a fresh and natural look. Your gifts don’t have to stay under the tree or in another designated area, either. You can spread them around the house and use them as pieces of decor.

6. Take it outside.

Carry the holiday spirit outside by decorating the exterior of your home. Tree and garden lights are a great starting point. You can add wreaths, garlands, and other greenery to make sure your front door looks welcoming for all your guests.

But don’t stop there. Your patio and outdoor seating could use a little seasonal cheer as well. If you have an unusual piece like a birdbath, include that in your decorating plans, too. A simple arrangement of ribbon and pine branches can go a long way.

7. Add some light.

Classic lights are a surefire way to tell that the holidays are here. Hang string lights anywhere in your home that’s feeling a little dark or could use some extra attention. You can use battery-operated lights in tricky areas or inside lanterns, which you can place on your stairs, in your fireplace, or anywhere else you like.

Candles are another great way to create seasonal ambience in your home. If you’re a crafty DIY-er, you might even enjoy making candles yourself. And don’t forget about your existing lights—they’re already in place and they just need a little love to create that holiday feeling.

8. Try unconventional decorations.

Your style might be out of the ordinary, and you should show it off. For example, there’s always one thing you can expect from the holidays: candy, and lots of it. This can be a theme for your decorating and can influence your colour choices. This time of year also means gifts, and just about anything in your home can look like one.

If you have a small space, you can save on valuable floor real estate and still make a statement with a tiny tree or one that lives on your wall. Alternatively, if you have more room to work with, lay out sleeping bags so family and guests can enjoy your decor all night long.

We hope this article has given you some ideas to help you decorate for this winter season. Happy holidays!