42 Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas | Midwest Living
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42 Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas

Give your home holiday style in a flash with these simple yet creative decorating projects.

Touch of glass

For easy elegance, showcase oversize pinecones, bird figurines and ornaments under cloches. A dusting of faux snow adds wintry sparkle.

Go step-by-step

Spell out holiday greetings on tree containers that climb the stairs. We made paper letter ornaments for white ironstone pitchers and pots and planted a lacy Goldcrest cypress tree in each.

Showcase glass and glitz

Pull glassware out of the cabinets and onto a mantel for a last-minute arrangement. Let curled ribbon drape out of a champagne flute. Place one ornament in a martini glass. Stack mini ornaments in a beer glass. Or create a "flower" in a clay pot with a wine glass and ornaments. Put a votive holder upside down inside the pot as a base for the glass. Secure the glass to the top of the holder with double-sided tape. Crumple tissue paper around the base of the glass, and fill with mini ornaments.

Decorate an entry table

Ice skates with red pompoms made an easy entry table arrangement, while an apothecary jar filled with twigs adds an unexpected accent. A mix of faux and real evergreens brings holiday spirit throughout the area.

Serve up a centerpiece

To make a showy centerpiece, place solid-color ball ornaments inside a clear-glass vase and "serve" on a silver tray. Sprinkle faux snow (or coconut) over the display, and wrap it up with matching ribbon.

Ornament plain frames

Make a basic white frame a pretty focal point by hanging an ornament from the hanger in back. For a pretty arrangement above a buffet or mantel, flank the framed ornament with framed holiday wrapping papers. To ensure a perfect fit, wrap the cardboard that comes with the frame.

Make candlestick cones

Top silver candlesticks with silvery painted pinecones for an elegant display. Group several on a tray, and add some blue or silver ornaments for even more impact.

To paint pinecones, apply several thin coats of metallic silver spray paint.

Play with paper

Turn holiday-theme scrapbooking papers into an inexpensive tabletop display. Cut and fold papers to create simple cone "trees" of different sizes. Secure seams with double-sided tape.

60-Second Video: Easy Christmas decor

Decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. These unique ideas take household items and spruce them up for the season.

Give rooms "gifts"

Tie wide ribbons around solid-color pillows as if they're presents going under the tree. Place on chairs, sofas or beds for an instant spot of holiday color.

Create a scene

Make a charming winter scene inside a glass bowl using faux snow, spruce or fir spigs, and props such as artificial birds and a nest (from crafts stores), along with mini ornaments.

Make it clearly Christmas

Layer silver and paper snowflakes or Christmas-theme confetti between clear plastic plates for frosty fun at the dinner table.

Bedeck worn-out boots

Have a pair of boots you won't wear this winter? Dress them up with twigs, greens and ribbon for a welcoming display. To protect boots, line with plastic bags. Add weight with rocks to keep the boots from tipping. Insert twigs and small evergreen branches. Tie a bow around each boot, and drape an evergreen sprig down one side.

Tie twigs

A bundle of brown twigs makes a great hanging decoration to put on a door or above a mantel. To secure, wrap a wide rubber band around twig ends. Tuck one branch of greens, such as eucalyptus, inside the rubber band for color. Cover the rubber band with a ribbon.

Make cranberry ice

Freeze cranberries in just enough water to cover them; add pieces to your ice bucket.

Set an effortless table

A set of kitchen canisters -- filled with crinkled newspaper, topped with moss and set amid scattered apples -- forms a simple centerpiece. Perched atop glasses, store-bought felt polka-dot ornaments with name tags attached act as place cards and make fun take-home favors for guests.

Make organic art

Switch out art in existing frames, or buy inexpensive shadow boxes and/or frames with mats. Cut new backgrounds out of burlap or colored paper, then use hot glue to mount twigs or varied evergreen sprigs for art naturally themed to the season.

Arrange artfully

Our casual place setting shows simple can be beautiful. Its personality started with a cleverly folded "pocket" napkin. Then we added artfully arranged silverware, a $2 place mat, layered dishes and a frame of grapevine twigs -- all on a table runner cut from bargain burlap.

Display your favorites

Turn a shallow basket or tray into a fun arrangement for your dining or coffee table. We arranged rows of feathery moss, smooth stones, green apples and spiky pinecones, but use what's easily available to you: other fruits or vegetables, ornaments or bits of nature.

Create an easy entry

Clothespins hold holiday cards on burlap ribbon tacked to the back of a mirror frame. Old wood rice scoops act as vases for unusual arrangements of stones and cut evergreen branches. Display a cut tree in a basket. We wrapped its trunk with yarn for a spot of color.

Do linen tricks

Temporarily transform your bed. We layered holiday-theme hand towels on our headboard. Red-striped napkins and place mats work as "covers" for pillows. Attach with safety pins or basting stitches to remove later.

Make a tote-ally easy display

For a fresh-from-the-yard front door display, fill a tote with greenery and twigs. (Line the inside with a plastic bag to protect the tote.) Attach two ornaments to the handle with wire. Tie on a ribbon as a finishing touch. To protect it from elements, bring the tote inside overnight.

Create a better buffet

Who says lanterns have to hold candles? Filled with apples and cherries, ours "light up" this buffet with red-and-green holiday style. A red table scarf, cut from $1-a-yard burlap, amps up the color. (Pull threads to finish the edges with a fringe.) Our three "trees" are evergreen branches set in wet florist foam in clay pots. (We hid the foam tops with dried moss.) A vintage window stands in as a message board. We spelled out holiday sentiments with stick-on letters.

Float a flower

Create a fluid floral centerpiece with a 17-inch-wide glass bowl and flowers in floating glass tea-light holders.

Touch of glass

For easy elegance, showcase oversize pinecones, bird figurines and ornaments under cloches. A dusting of faux snow adds wintry sparkle.

Eye candy

Filled with peppermint candies, inexpensive glasses make quick centerpieces, decorations or party favors. Tie a coordinating ribbon around the stems for an added festive touch.

Card display

Create eyecatching holiday decor from your Christmas cards. Use this year's cards as they arrive or save them from year to year. Showcase cards on a unique surface, such as a salvaged shutter (pictured), wooden sled, ladder, garden trellis or empty picture frame.

More ideas for Christmas card displays

Tiered beauty

A tiered serving tray is great for serving up decorations as well as holiday treats. An assortment of white and clear ornaments tucked into faux snow dresses up this tray in style. 

Small touches

Small touches can have a big impact. Here, a miniature wreath of fresh greens looks lovely hanging from a display shelf, and a tiny present tucked among white tableware adds more charm.

Fragrant decor

For a fragrant chair-back decoration, bundle bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and marjoram with twine. Bouquets can be made several days in advance, then refrigerated. Once dry, use them for cooking!

Holiday dress-up

Sprigs of pine and berries dress up framed photos in the home's entry.

Beautify a birdbath

Fresh greenery, a large red ball, red-painted pinecones and a bright bow look festive in this wintry scene.

Create vignettes

Small vignettes, such as this one with pinecones, nuts and cinnamon sticks in crystal apéritif glasses on a silver tray, add surprising and sparkling detail to a room.

Cover with a cloche

A potted poinsettia becomes a pretty centerpiece underneath a cloche. Or cover a miniature evergreen tree, large ornament or holiday figurine.

Renew a wreath

A basic twig wreath can be decorated differently every year. We tucked in faux berry branches, a burlap ribbon bow, live greens and a purchased turkey feather for a natural look.

Pretty paperwhites

Place paperwhites in a large compote or bowl. Cover the potting soil with mini ball ornaments in colors that coordinate with your holiday scheme.

Display heirlooms

Heirloom silver pieces make a pretty holiday tableau with family photos and ornaments.

Use what you have

A use-what-you-have philosophy inspired a creamer “vase” hung from a chandelier.

Put up trees

A pint-size dwarf Alberta spruce gives a candle sconce new holiday style. Remove soil and bind the roots in damp cheesecloth to fit into the candle hole. Tie a holiday-hue ribbon at the base.

Card-display tree

Show off Christmas cards on a centerpiece "tree" made with twigs from the yard. Arrange twigs in a pitcher or vase, and clip or tie cards to twig ends. For an added burst of holiday color, weave a red ribbon or piece of rickrack through the display.

Mix up your centerpiece

Stack three or four mixing bowls to create tiers for displaying mini ornaments, dried pods or nuts, clipped greens, hard candies, ribbons, tinsel or fruits. Place an upside-down cereal bowl between the layers so mixing bowls don't sit inside each other.

Decorate a headboard

Faux candy letters spell “Christmas” on a headboard.

Think small

Holiday decorating doesn't have to be elaborate. This tiny natural arrangement in a clear bowl reinforces the season in a big way.

Add silvery shine

Group votive candles on a silver tray to multiply their star power. This easy project will light up a powder room.

Star-bright streamers

Bring stars inside the home with cascading streamers made from wrapping paper. Mount wrapping paper to both sides of card stock with spray adhesive. Using a die-cutting tool, cut out pairs of stars in three sizes. To connect stars, thread embroidery floss through a hole punched at the bottom of one star. String two plastic barrel beads, then pull both ends of the floss through a halved plastic coffee stirrer. String two more beads. Thread floss through a hole punched at the top of a smaller star (for descending size order), and tie a knot to secure. Repeat to achieve desired length.

Bedeck a mirror

A guest bedroom mirror invites sugarplum dreams.

Acorn tree

A coat of paint transforms acorns into tiny ornaments. Hang them from a branch with twine loops glued to the caps. The long serving tray, filled with more acorns and a bowl, visually balances the display. Adjust the colors of the paint to coordinate with your table linens.

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