Decorating the house for the festive season is a Christmas tradition. Whether you covet a minimalist look full of rustic charm or plan to turn your home into a glorious winter wonderland, Christmas decorating is a fun custom that the whole family can enjoy.
Get the kids involved and make hanging the Christmas decorations a fun family activity for a dreary December day.
Maybe you're spending your first Christmas in a new home. Or perhaps you're looking forward to welcoming extended family back for Christmas after Covid, and want to go all out with the decorations. Or maybe you simply want some inspiration for a fresh festive look.
Whatever your situation, we have plenty of ideas and advice to help you create the perfect Christmas setting for your celebrations.
When should I start decorating for Christmas?
Some people like adding Christmassy bits around the home as soon as the Halloween decorations are down. Others prefer to wait until the first Sunday of Advent or the beginning of December. Yet others enjoy setting some time aside in mid-December. Some even wait as late as Christmas Eve before dressing their home for the festivities.
Whether you decorate as soon as the advent calendar comes out or wait until Christmas eve, there is no right or wrong time to start decorating your house for Christmas.
There really is no right or wrong answer, and you can start displaying festive bits and pieces whenever you like, without judgement from us.
However, if you wish to have a real Christmas tree, garland and/or wreath this year, you will be somewhat more restricted. A fresh-cut Christmas tree will last up to 4 weeks indoors, so if you want your tree to last into the new year it's best to pre-order for delivery in mid-December. A real garland and wreath will look good for around the same period.
The other thing to bear in mind is having the time free to decorate. It is easy to underestimate how long it will take. Bringing smaller pieces, such as an advent calendar, Christmas cards or a scented candles, into the home doesn't take long. But if you want to decorate the tree or do a whole room in one go, you'll need to set aside a decent chunk of time.
Finally, it's worth considering the weather forecast when planning your Christmas decorations. If you plan to add festive accessories to the outside of your house, you don't want to be doing so in the pouring rain!
Plan your Christmas decorating ideas around the time you have available.
What rooms should I decorate?
Again, there is no rulebook when it comes to which rooms should or should not be festively decorated for the Christmas period. It's entirely down to personal preference. But that's not to say there aren't certain expectations.
Again, there is no rulebook for which rooms should or should not get decorated for Christmas. It's entirely down to personal preference. But that's not to say there aren't certain expectations.
Ideally, you want your tree to stand out without overwhelming the room. The Christmas tree is the focal point of your Christmas decor and is probably the aspect you'll spend most money and time on. Before you start decorating it, take some time to consider how you want it to look. Do you want an explosion of colour or a collection of more muted hues? Would you prefer it had a classic or contemporary feel? Gather your lights, ribbon, tinsel, baubles and other ornaments before you start and space them evenly over the tree. For a truly stylish look, choose gift wrap that complements the tree decorations and pulls the whole room together.
A tree skirt and coordinating gift wrap can really pull together your Christmas tree decorations.
If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace, then Christmas is the ideal time to make the most of it. Stockings hanging (carefully!) above a roaring fire is an image often seen in Christmas books and films. A garland draped across the mantel with a couple of festive figurines, or standing ornaments will complete the look. Just make sure to extinguish the fire properly before Santa makes an appearance!
The living room is usually the part of the house that is decorated most elaborately for Christmas.
Complement what you already have
Consider everyday decor when choosing decorations - how will they fit with what's already there? For example, a neutral living room will suit almost any style of Christmas decorations. On the other hand, if your living room is vibrant with colour, you may wish to make sure your Christmas decor doesn't clash. It's always best to complement what's already there, rather than try to mix 2 completely different styles.
Colour coordinate your Christmas decorations with your existing decor.
Adding some festive touches to the hallway is a lovely way to make guests feel welcome as they enter your home. It also offers a lovely warm feeling when you come in from the cold.
Hallways are often limited in space, but things like mini trees can have an impact without taking up too much room. Turn your console table into a colourful focal point by dressing it with a garland adorned with red berries. Add a candle lantern for a warm, cosy feel.
Garlands are also fabulous for twisting round stair bannisters. Start with a plain garland and use a hot glue gun or floral wire to attach your chosen decorations. Entwine lights into it for a magical glow. Matching your hallway garland with your front door wreath is a great way to create a cohesive look.
The dining room is the setting for Christmas dinner - arguably the most memorable meal of the year - so you'll want the room to look the part. Depending on the size of your family and how many people you are hosting, there may not be space for a Christmas tree once everybody is seated. However, there are plenty of other ways you can give your dining room a festive makeover before the big day.
Start with your table centerpiece and plan the rest of your decorating ideas around that. Use leftover materials from making your wreath to create a table centerpiece lush with greenery. Or get the kids to come up with a crafting project that will keep them busy over the school holiday and be a talking point among your dinner guests.
The dining room table is the perfect place for Christmas decorations.
Don't worry too much about the size, as it can be moved across to a side table if you need the extra space for serving the meal. Cake stands work well as a base for a portable centrepiece.
If you know you won't have space for a traditional highlight, create your own hanging centrepiece. These have gained in popularity over the last few years and are a great way to save table space. The simplest way is to hang baubles from the light fitting above the dining table. Depending on the effect you're aiming for, use ribbon or clear thread to hang your decorations. Ensure the baubles are hung at different heights and are high enough that they won't get in the way.
Other ideas of how to incorporate a hanging centrepiece include:
Hanging ornaments and lights from a branch for a charming rustic effect.
Hanging a wreath or garland above the centre of the table. Trailing ivy or ribbon will help give it some depth.
For place settings, wait at least until Christmas Eve before laying them out. Doing this prevents them from gathering dust and means you can tweak them to suit any last-minute changes. Placemats, crockery and glassware can be coordinated to complement your centrepiece. A cohesive look can also be created by adding ribbon bows in your chosen colour scheme to the backs of dining chairs.
It may not be the most obvious of rooms, but more and more people are decorating their bathrooms for Christmas. And, when you think about it, it does make sense to decorate at least your downstairs loo, as guests are likely to pay it a visit.
Don't panic though - we're not suggesting you adorn your toilet with one of those matching toilet seat covers and mat sets! Even if you love to go all out with Christmas decorating ideas, the bathroom is one room where less is definitely more!
Some stylish Christmassy ideas for the bathroom can include:
A poinsettia on a shelf or window sill.
Lights or a simple garland around the cornice.
A Christmas-themed hand towel or liquid soap dispenser.
If you really can't bring yourself to decorate your bathroom for Christmas then a diffuser with a wintry fragrance is a lovely touch.
Unless they're staying overnight, it's unlikely that your guests will go off to explore the bedrooms in your house. But even so, you might still want to add some Christmassy touches. This is especially true of kids' bedrooms. If you're the kind of person who is meticulous when it comes to Christmas decor, allowing children free rein to decorate their own rooms is the perfect solution. You get your perfectly neat display downstairs, while the kids can show off their creations upstairs.
The beauty of this idea is that you can have more than one theme.
While tasteful garlands, wreaths and centerpieces may dominate the communal areas, bedrooms can have a completely different aesthetic. If there's space for another Christmas tree, adorn it with candy cane decorations, tinsel, colorful baubles and multicolored lights. Rummage around in school bags to find Christmas cards to hang from red or green ribbons. Let the children choose a new Christmas ornament every year to display in their room, and by the time they leave home, they'll be all set for their first Christmas in their new place.
Should I decorate the outside of my home?
The exterior of your home isn't just the first thing guests see when they arrive to visit, it's also visible to your neighbours and passers-by. Every year it seems like adding lights and other decorations to the outside of properties is increasing in popularity. If you like the idea but are unsure where to start, we have a few ideas for you.
Browse our Christmas decorating ideas to brighten the outside of your house this holiday season.
Lights are the most obvious way to brighten up the outside of your home during those long, dark December evenings. Whether you opt for bright multicoloured, cool white or a warm creamy glow, Christmas lights are a simple way to bring festive cheer to your neighbourhood. String lights from soffits, drape them on porches or place them in windows, where they can be enjoyed from inside and out.
Lights create visual interest and are hugely popular when it comes to Christmas decorating.
If you already have a conifer growing in your garden, you're at a serious advantage here. Just hang lights and a few robust decorations from it, and you're good to go.
Otherwise, you can always buy a pot-grown tree to display in the garden. These sturdy trees are grown in pots from seedlings and will continue to grow until they're too big for the pot. At this point, the tree can be planted out in the ground. Pot-grown Christmas trees are available in a range of types and sizes to suit your outdoor space and look fabulous adorned with pretty twinkling lights over the festive period.
Pot grown Christmas trees can live all year round.
If you fancy something a little larger or don't have space for a tree all year round, you might want to consider displaying a freshly cut tree in the garden. This involves a little extra effort as you'll need to ensure it doesn't get blown over, and it will need to be watered every day, even on rainy days. Our fresh-cut Christmas trees are available in sizes up to 9ft, so you can really make a dramatic statement!
A freshly cut Christmas tree can make a huge impact in the garden.
A wreath hanging on the front door is a classic Christmas decoration that will never go out of style. It's a welcoming sight for guests and neighbours and will even bring a smile to the postie! Wreaths can be as simple or as fancy as you like and last up to 4 weeks when cared for properly.
Cover fresh greenery with candy canes, pine cones and other festive items for a unique Christmas decoration.
Many of us enjoy filling and displaying hanging baskets of flowers in spring and summer, but they're often neglected during the winter months. However, seasonal hanging baskets make great Christmas decorations and continue to brighten the garden long after the festivities are over. Try pairing trailing ivy with Cyclamen blooms for a traditional red and green colour scheme.
Alternatively, go foraging and use floral foam as a base to create a unique hanging basket from freshly cut greenery, pine cones, holly and berries. You can even add lights or ornaments for some added Christmas cheer.
Choosing a colour scheme
Settling on a colour scheme for your Christmas decorations can be quite tricky. For both environmental and financial reasons, it makes sense to use the same baubles and ornaments again and again, rather than buying new ones every year. However, committing to one particular colour palette for several years can seem a little daunting.
Using the same Christmas decorations every year is better for the environment.
One of the best tips for picking out a colour scheme is to work with the hues you already have in your home. Choose decorations that complement the everyday decor but still have a festive feel. Doing this will produce an effect that looks pulled together and well thought out.
These days, you can buy Christmas decorations in almost any colour you can imagine, which means you can get creative. Consider the overall feel you're trying to achieve before choosing your colour palette. For example, ice blues, silver and white are perfect for a winter wonderland feel. Alternatively, deep reds and gold metallics have an air of warmth that will make your living room a cosy respite from the chilly winter weather outside.
As with all decor, Christmas colour trends will come and go. But there are some staples, such as gold, silver, green and red, that will never go out of style. If you plan to keep your baubles and ornaments for years to come, you can't go far wrong sticking to a classic colour scheme.
Get the family involved in coming up with decorating ideas for the holiday season.
There is no better time than Christmas to let your creativity shine through and adorn your home with a host of beautifully thought-out festive decorations. From colourful candy canes on the tree to a simple garland on the mantel, decorating your home for the festive season should be fun.
Compile some ideas, run them past your family and choose your favourites to run with. There's no right or wrong, so use your imagination and, if it doesn't turn out quite as you expect, you can always change things up next year!