With Halloween behind us, it’s officially the holiday season (as retailers are no doubt reminding you). For many of us, our thoughts turn to our homes, as friends and relatives will be coming over for Thanksgiving dinner, holiday meals, or simply a mug of hot mulled wine in front of the fire. ‘Tis the season to make your home festive and welcoming — but how do you do that on a budget?
You’re in luck. I’ve compiled 10 holiday decorating ideas that will have the biggest impact with the smallest price tag. (You’ve got holiday gifts to buy, after all.) Did I miss something? Let me know your best holiday decorating ideas in the comments.
1. DIY Holiday Wreath
Christmas decorating on a budget starts without an easy wreath you can make for your front door, hallway, or living room. Get a glue gun and a wreath form at a craft store, and then try one of these ideas:
- Pinecones misted with white spray paint to look like snow (or gold paint)
- Holiday bows in green, red, and white
- Photos of family members with some easy red ribbon trim added
- Shiny tinsel in silver or gold
- Old Christmas ornaments that are slightly broken — just glue the good side up
2. Create a Wintry Scene
Remember those vinyl window clings in holiday shapes? You stick them to windows, then peel them off after the holidays? For a DIY version, simply cut out Christmas tree shapes or triangles to depict snowy mountains, then affix them to your front window. Double-sided tape can make this a snap. Tissue paper works for a more delicate look, although it’s easy for little hands to tear. (And if you’re heavy on the nostalgia, you can still buy those window clings. Not all holiday decorating ideas from the ’80s were bad.)
3. Turn a Door or Refrigerator Into a Snowman
You’ll wish all holiday decorating ideas were this simple. With a few black construction-paper circles, an orange triangle, and colorful ribbon, you can easily turn a white door into a happy snowman to greet visitors (or liven up your kitchen, if you have a white fridge). Scraps of wrapping paper also make a great scarf for your snow friend. Use invisible tape to attach the shapes, and it will be pretty painless to remove these after the holidays. This is another fun activity for little ones.
4. Apply a Quick Coat of Paint
If you want to spruce up your front door or entryway, paint is an affordable way to do it, especially when you know those areas will be getting a lot of traffic during the holidays. Even changing the color of your molding can freshen up your living room, if once-white trim is getting dingy. I shared these photos a couple of years ago, but I think they show just how much of a difference paint can make:
Once your handrail or entryway is looking sharp, you’re ready to…
5. Decorate with Recycled Holiday Cards
The ultimate in Christmas decorating on a budget is using something you already have. Dig out old holiday cards people have sent you, punch a small hole in them (or use clothespins), and string them along your bannister or entryway.
If you have a little more time to spend on holiday decorating ideas, consider making a makeshift “tree” from branches and hanging cards on it as if they were ornaments. (Here are 14 more ideas for reusing Christmas cards.) This is a fun one to involve the kids in, too.
6. Create a Snowflake Mobile
Nothing says holiday decor like handmade snowflakes. Create the illusion of snowfall by cutting out flakes in several different designs and sizes, then stringing them from a simple mobile with thread. Or you could just attach them to your existing pendant lights or chandelier to bring some holiday decor into the dining room. We might not see a white Christmas very often here in Portland, but at least paper snowflakes bring a wintry vibe inside.