I remember an article I read in a magazine years ago about a room that was completely transitioned from a spring/summer look to a fall/winter look by changing out some accessories and the slipcovers on the furniture. The entire room went from feeling fresh and cheery to homey and warm without the addition of any traditional seasonal or holiday decor. I love how the transition was relatively simple, probably done in an afternoon, but it completely transformed the room. (Does anyone else remember that article? I think it was in Country Home…maybe 15-20 years ago.)
I think many of us make some of these changes naturally. The throws end up draped over the arm of the sofa instead of folded in a basket. We might play with the accessories, swapping out things that feel like summer and spring, like flowers and seashells, and trade them for pinecones and evergreens.
One of the smartest, most budget-friendly ways to decorate for the seasons is to use the things you already have that can “speak” to the season you’re decorating for. By doing this, you don’t have to store a bunch of bins of decor or spend money on new things each year. You just craftily rotate and rework, so rooms look and feel different and festive.
Here are some of my favorite everyday things I use as “holiday decor” when I’m decorating for Christmas…
I love baskets year-round for holding everything from plants and magazines to art supplies and rolls of fabric. They bring so much texture and warmth to a room and double as functional, beautiful storage. These attributes make them perfect to use for holiday decor. Put your tree in a basket, fill one with large pinecones, small gifts under the tree, or reflective ornaments on a bed of greens, use them as a reusable “gift box” with a big ribbon tied around it or a piece of fabric hiding the present in an open market basket. The possibilities are endless.
Pedestals are handy for serving cakes and baked goods or adding height to a buffet table, but they are also great for decorating. If you put something on a pedestal, like a homemade gingerbread house (you can find my templates and recipe HERE), an advent wreath, or a collection of small putz houses or snowmen, they immediately look more important. It’s an easy way to literally elevate your holiday decor to feature it.
Fill large bowls with ornaments, nuts in their shells, greens, a large candle, a collection of sleighbells, or even balls of yarn or spools of ribbon. Stack several graduated bowls to add height and even put them on a pedestal! We layer our clothes during the winter months, so let’s mimic that idea by layering holiday decor.
Bowls are also perfect for planting paperwhite bulbs! (HERE is a tutorial on doing that.)
Boxes can pretty obviously be used for gift boxes…just put a coat of matte paint on them and they can be reused year after year. If you paint them in a neutral color, they can be used for birthdays, too. But, larger boxes can be used in the same way as baskets. Think antique shipping crates with cool typography or those painted in a really beautiful color. Fill them with greenery or use them as a “skirt” for your tree. You can also fill them with firewood and put them next to a fireplace. Even a gas fireplace will look a little cozier with a pretty box of wood at the ready.
As I put my dining room tree in the goat wagon again this year, I was wondering if it looked a little too 1990’s country, but I think this idea is timeless. A tree in a wagon or cart just works. Look for a cart or wagon that will accommodate the base of your tree if you plan to use it in that manner. If the wagon is too small or shallow, fill it with gifts and put it under the tree. They also look sweet outside with a potted green inside or a Christmas lawn ornament. (I’m imagining a small lighted deer, not a 10′ Santa.)
These might be my favorite on the list, because small trees look so sweet in a crock or a bucket. Just plop a real or artificial one inside and it’s a quick and easy decorating win.
If I’m putting a live tree in a bucket or crock, I’ll line it with a plastic bucket and secure it with rocks borrowed from our yard. I always make it up each year depending on the particular tree shape and size, but the general idea is the same.
One of my favorite Christmas decorations ever was a live blue spruce put in an antique bucket.
Knits naturally speak to cooler weather, so take advantage of that. Put out knit pillows, blankets, and stockings, but you can also display knit mittens, hats, and sweaters.
I like using yarn for winter crafts, like making yarn “snowballs”, ornaments, finger-knit garland, or gift embellishments, but yarn also looks pretty piled into a bowl or basket and put on display. You can find my tutorial for yarn snowballs HERE. I use them for all sorts of things…nestled into a garland, used as “tassels” on lamps, and even as cat toys. (That kitties added that last idea.)
Jars are handy for so many things and holiday decor is just another thing on a long list. Use them as homemade “snow globes” to showcase miniatures or even protect fragile glass ornaments. Fill them with nuts or candy canes. You can even use them as candle/votive holders sans lid.
I like using large glass jars as “upside-down cloches.” Fill them with moss, pinecones, and a string of warm LED fairy lights and it’s an easy, wintry centerpiece.
I like slipcovers, anyway, for their washability and the way they change the look of a piece of furniture with a great shape, but they can also be a way to change out the look of your room with the seasons. I’d eventually like to make a cream slipcover for our checked sofa so that I can change out the look with the seasons and extend the life of the upholstery.
I rarely buy ribbon from the Christmas section. I almost always hit the non-seasonal ribbons and select ones that work with the color palette of my home. The ribbon is more versatile and it makes my holiday decor feel more cohesive.
I hope this post gives you some great ideas for using what you already have to make your holiday decorating even more special and beautiful this year!
What are some non-Christmasy things you like to decorate with?