50 Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas | Midwest Living

50 Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Festive winter mantel

    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.

  • Christmas centerpiece ideas: silver candlesticks

    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.

  • Triple trees

    Bring a little winter wonderland to your house with this white window box. Create the look by placing three small faux Christmas trees in a metal trough planter and decorating the planter with snowflakes. Place on a wooden bench or other high surface to raise it off the ground or floor.

  • 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.

  • Wrapped pillows

    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.

  • Christmas-theme confetti

    Make it clearly Christmas

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

  • Evergreen boot decorations

    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.

  • Twig door decoration

    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.

  • Red and green table setting

    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.

  • Christmas mantel decorating ideas

    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.

  • Red place setting

    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.

  • Apple basket

    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.

  • Wooden chest

    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.

  • Holiday bed decorations

    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.

  • Picture this

    Decorate your walls with this no-water Christmas tree. Make a tree by forming a large triangle from 16-gauge wire and cutting progressively smaller pieces and twisting the ends to create branches. Hang the tree from an old picture frame and attach a decorative bow if desired. Add ornaments using small S-hooks.

  • Christmas purse

    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.

  • Holiday table

    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.

  • Floating flowers

    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!

  • Festive and framed

    Spray-paint an old ornate frame with green spray paint and repeat with glitter spray paint. Write, paint or stencil "Noel" onto the glass, being careful to center the words in the frame. Once dry, place the glass back in the frame and secure it with small brads. Using 2" wide wired ribbon, tie a large, loopy bow and attach to the top of the frame with florist's wire.

  • 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.

  • Twig wreath

    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.

  • Christmas centerpiece ideas: paperwhites

    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.

  • Decorative tree

    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.

  • Christmas centerpiece ideas: card tree

    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.

  • Stacking table centerpiece

    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.

  • Present sentiments

    A good view is always a gift! But make it even more special by wrapping it like a present by crisscrossing ribbon and adding holiday good wishes. Our treatment layers thin white ribbon over a wide red one (fold ends and tack or tape to the window frame). Secure wood letters in a fun font via double-faced tape or straight pins pressed into the grille. Underscore the sentiment with glass jars of sweet treats.

    Resources Ribbon and letters Michaels Crafts Stores. (800) 642-4235; michaels.com Wall color SW6868 Real Red. Sherwin-Williams. (800) 474-3794; sherwin-williams.com

  • 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.

  • Pink and silver tea lights

    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 streamers

    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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