10 Ways to Enhance Your Holiday Decor

From fairy lights and DIY garlands to bows, bells and bedding, these ideas are sure to bring plenty of holiday cheer to your household.

The festive season is officially upon us, which means if you haven’t already begun, it’s time to start decking the halls—and the rest of your house, too. Whether you like to keep your decorations simple and understated or prefer to go all-out in every room, here are 10 ideas for making your home feel merry and bright over the holidays.

1. Swap out your photos

If you’ve got lots of framed photos on the side tables, shelves or walls in your home, swap some of them out with holiday pictures from previous years. Showcasing festive snapshots of loved ones is a heartwarming way to remember cherished moments from holidays past and spark feelings of nostalgia among the family and friends who look at them.

2. Put a bow on it

Bows and ribbons may be the best way to fancy up a wrapped gift, but they’re also great for fancying up your home’s everyday decor over the holiday season. For a playful yet pretty look, tie silk or velvet ribbons in jewel-toned hues around selected artwork, lamps and other household items, or weave the ribbon into your garlands and wreaths to add a touch of warmth and contrast to your evergreen decorations. You could also attach classic red bows to the backs of chairs, along the tops of large mirrors or, of course, to exterior light fixtures, porch columns and more.

3. Bring on the trees

For many of us, one large, beautifully adorned Christmas tree in the living room or great room serves as the focal point of our holiday decor. But placing trees of all shapes and sizes in other rooms can really help to boost that sense of festive cheer. Consider putting a faux mini tree on the desk in your home office, placing a collection of artificial bottle brush trees on your bathroom vanity, filling empty corners with tall, snow-flocked pencil trees or flanking your front door (interior and/or exterior) with potted trees adorned simply in glittering lights.

4. Speaking of glittering lights…

Adding strands of twinkling fairy lights to different interior spaces brings instant warmth and cheer to any room. In shared spaces like the living room, TV room or kitchen, try draping one or two strands along the tops of cabinets, weaving them subtly among items on bookshelves or wrapping them around your staircase handrail. You could also create your own festive “lamps” by artfully arranging these tiny lights in a few empty mason jars or vases and placing them on tables, fireplace mantels and other surfaces. Fairy lights also look magical in bedrooms, where they can be strung along a headboard, hung vertically from curtain rods or arranged as a starry canopy above the bed.

5. Getting crafty with your kids

Most kids absolutely love the holiday season, so if you’ve got little ones, why not get them in on the decorating? Spend some time together making paper snowflakes and then hanging them from the kids’ bedroom ceilings, attaching them to walls and windows, or turning them into festive garlands. You can also create DIY garlands with other materials, like shatterproof ornaments, popcorn and cranberries or twisted pipe cleaners made to resemble candy canes. Finally, if you’re up for it, put a small Christmas tree (real or artificial) in each kid’s room and let them decorate their own personal tree with ornaments they’ve crafted or collected.

6. Change out your linens and household accessories

Replacing everyday items like bed sheets, hand towels and dish towels with ones featuring holiday- or winter-themed patterns is a fun way to infuse yuletide cheer without taking up too much space in your home. Go a few steps further with a holiday welcome mat for the front porch, Christmas mugs, plates and canisters for your kitchen, and cushions and throws in festive colours for the living room or TV room.

7. Curate a display

Horizontal surfaces like console tables, fireplace mantels and even dresser tops are ideal for creating curated holiday displays. Arrange decorative pieces like snow globes, figurines and heirloom trinkets alongside pretty accents like illuminated garlands, frosted pinecones and pillar candles in muted or festive colours. No matter what elements you choose to include in your displays, try to mix items of different heights for visual interest. Floral arrangements are also a welcome addition to any empty tabletop—think eye-catching holiday flowers and plants like holly, ivy, poinsettias, paperwhites, amaryllis and roses.

8. Use traditional decorations in unexpected ways

Showcasing classic decorations in new or unexpected ways lends a sense of whimsy to your home’s overall holiday aesthetic. In addition to hanging ornaments from your Christmas tree, consider dangling some of the prettiest baubles at different lengths from light fixtures or curtain rods, or try placing them into a crystal bowl or large glass vase for a pretty countertop display. You could also lay a wreath at the base of the bowl or vase for an extra touch of greenery, or turn that wreath into a mobile by suspending it horizontally from the ceiling and attaching ornaments to its base.

9. Add some old gear to the mix

Winter gear like ice skates, skis, snowshoes and even mittens are all fun additions to holiday decor. Try filling a pair of classic white figure skates or knitted mittens with mixed evergreens and berries, then hang them in a cozy corner of your home. If you’ve got a vintage sled stored somewhere in your basement or garage, adorn it with a simple red bow and some jingle bells, then lean it against the side of the wall in your foyer or on your front porch. You can do something along the same lines with vintage skis and snowshoes—adorn them with ribbons, greenery and ornaments, then hang or place them in your foyer, mudroom or back deck.

10. Turn your backyard into a winter wonderland

While most of us tend to focus on the front of our homes when decorating outside, a backyard festooned in holiday cheer is just as special. Backyard trees, shrubs, deck railings, fences, even humble garden sheds—they all look magical when they’re aglow with Christmas lights. Complement the lights with garland around back windows and archways, a wreath on the back door and the odd decorative reindeer on the back lawn. Finally, if your patio set is still out, accessorize it with plaid pillows, faux fur blankets and glowing lanterns for an extra-cozy outdoor seating space where you can sip a hot drink while taking in the pretty holiday scene.