Christmas decorating ideas – 39 ways to style a festive home

These Christmas decorating ideas will get your guests approval and fill your home with seasonal interior style

A Christmas-themed living room with navy blue wall decor, large mirror, and traditional fireplace with three white stockings
(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Putting your favorite Christmas decorating ideas into practice is one of the many many joys of the festive season. And to help you create a striking and stylish display in every room of the house, we've rounded up the most inspiring looks that we've come across this year.

Though you may have your own holiday decorating traditions (the kid's questionable, but sentimental salt dough decorations, a creepy-looking fairy who's been through the wars, and the nativity scene that's been annually plundered and is now made up of Playmobil characters), all do have their charm, but that's not to say that there isn't room for improvement. 

When you see just how glorious you can make your surroundings look, you will want to change things up a little in not just your living room, but in your entire household. 

From the best trending color schemes (that aren't just red and green), to the choice of accessories and more, we've covered it all and there are some top tips from designer experts also to ensure that you 'sleigh' your scheme.

Christmas decorating ideas for seasonal style

If you're unsure what to do this season, you really can't go wrong with a traditional Christmas decorating scheme as one expert explains...

'Red and green are the classic festive favourites, inspired by the holly and the ivy, berries and sprigs, garlands and wreaths made from foliage,' says Jason Billings-Cray, partner and Christmas buyer, John Lewis & Partners.

'It’s a timeless look updated for the modern day with novelty baubles and a hint of woodland foraging.

'The Scandinavians do this so well with wreaths of hanging baubles, candlelight and hand-made details in natural materials. And think about building new traditions of your own, from Christmas Day walks, to who gives out the tree presents, to a special plate for Santa (and Rudolph). Make your Christmas everything you want it to be.'

1. Create humor with hallway signage

A living room with black wall decor, round mirror and 'No gin, not coming in' wall plaque

(Image credit: Next)

It's courtesy to bring a gift to friends and family you are meeting over the Christmas holidays. So add a bit of light humor to your interior spaces with this jokey admission criteria sign.

This No Gin Not Coming In Wall Plaque by Next is the perfect signage for homeowners who like to host and make a statement. In terms of positioning, it makes the perfect Christmas mantel decor message. Alternatively the slimline design means that it's also ideal for the most narrow room in your home: your hallway.

2. Don't be scared to mix old with new

A Christmas-themed living room with blue wall paint decor, alcove with wood-burning stove, animal print rug, metallic pouffe and velvet blue sofas

(Image credit: Future)

If you ask us what the best and worst thing is about Christmas decor – it's the fact that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to styling. So while this might be great for a confident stylist, this comes as grave news to a newbie who needs some guidance.

One thing's for sure – you can't really go wrong. So be experimental this season and have fun mixing old with new, fusing classic and contemporary styles. We love how the original alcove and wall and decorative wall trim has been styled with both classic Christmas decor and more modern accessories in this period home.

Don't be afraid to mix and match eras. Here we have Art-Deco-inspired velvet sofas with a 70s style metallic pouffe... Marvellous!

3. Get creative with your Christmas card display

A set of two wooden window shutters which have been used to display Christmas card decor

(Image credit: Future)

The festive period is the perfect opportunity to add rustic elements into the home, without it looking too shabby or novel. One quick way to do this is to repurpose or upcycle existing wooden furniture or find some for cheap at a thrift store or yard sale.

Check out this Christmas card display, for example. Using a second-hand set of wooden window shutters and some forest green paint, you can quickly add color, texture, and organic materials into your home.

4. Deck the halls (and living room) with candy decor

A Christmas-themed living room with pink and white striped wall decor, pink velvet sofa and baubles on banisters

(Image credit: Matalan)

Transforming your lounge this Christmas into the ultimate winter wonderland doesn't mean that you have to opt for traditional red and green decor or create a frosty pastel scheme. No matter what time of year it is, if you have a pink sitting room, you don't have to scrap your wall decor and start again.

Create a fun and 3D, Willy Wonka-style Christmas living room scheme by fixing candy canes and other hard candies to striped wallpaper or paint decor. Then, add fun slogan scatter cushions to your sofa for even more fun.

Remember to keep candy in its plastic packaging for hygienic results. You don't want sticky handprints or your walls, or to attract pests in the home. 

5. Invest in vibrant velvet sofas

A living room with bold and bright velvet sofa furniture with assortment of velvet scatter cushions

(Image credit: DFS)

The start of the holiday season gets earlier every year, so make sure you're guest ready with the best velvet sofas for your family and friends to take a seat on. Rather than going for something nondescript that'll go unnoticed, make a statement with bold, mismatched velvet sofas.

'Gone are the days when sofas and armchairs all had to match. Mixing things up with different patterns and shades will give your room bags of personality,' says Ben Frost, furniture designer at DFS.

6. Create a pink scheme fit for a princess

A pastel pink dining room scheme with ornate wall arch decor

(Image credit: George)

While grandma and grandpops might prefer a more traditional Christmas color scheme, we prefer something a little more... Instagrammable. So, this season we're swapping ruby reds for pastel pinks, pistachios and purples to create a soft scheme.

This colorful, chateau-style decor remains demure because of the muted tones and organic materials. Opt for linen tablecloths and position your dining tables near ornately-decorated walls in the home. This gorgeous arch with chandelier in view is the prime place to dine with your party.

'This is a purely magical trend combining icy blues, pinks and champagne golds. Whimsical woodland prints give an enchanting ‘fantastical’ feel.' says Julie Varma, senior director, George Home.

7. Create a swimmingly modern nautical scheme

A contemporary Christmas-themed living room with patterned rug, plush whale toy and decorated Christmas tree

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

‘We’ve woven all kinds of natural patterns and textures into this trend, from willow, grasses and sprigs to details such as the puffins and shells you might spot along the shoreline,' says Billings-Cray.

'Sea creatures feature heavily in the decorations, from the popular turtle bauble to quirky jellyfish, crabs and lobsters, to the whimsy of sand castles and mermaids which are new this year.’

'And who can resist a giant sparkly whale? Vignettes and mini décor-scapes are becoming an established part of the Christmas theme so make yours fun and Insta-worthy.'

8. Add hallway lights to create a carnival atmosphere

A hallway painted with red wall decor, with arched wall, set of string lights, hula hoops and pillar-effect side table with lightbox and Christmas tree

(Image credit: George)

We love this circus-style idea which uses the wall arch, red curtain and a set of string lights to create a nostalgic scheme that most of us can relate to. Dig out those hula hoops from the garage and repurpose them as props for this seasonal setup. 

And don't forget to use your light boxes to create a custom message for the family too. A great idea for apartment Christmas decor, it's one way to create mystery and excitement in your entryway.

'The build up to Christmas this year is going to be more exciting than ever, as families look forward to quality time spent together and the thrill of getting the home ready for the festive period,' says Varma.

'Our "Roll up, Roll up" theme is Christmas with a twist. This trend combines candy cane stripes and festive performers to create a fun-filled experience.'

9. Warm up a dark blue scheme with copper

A Christmas-themed living room with navy blue and copper decor including lit Christmas tree, mustard colored seat, traditional fireplace, blue patterned rug and blue velvet sofa

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

We can always count on department store, John Lewis & Partners to deliver the goods when it comes to Christmas decor. Their TV adverts tease us with just a sprinkle of seasonal magic, but their Xmas interior trends are the real gift. Here, their Copper River theme is a grown-up take on navy and rust orange.

'Like the moon across water, the play of light through rich shades of copper and iridescent blues brings decadent splendour with a sprinkle of sparkle,' explains Billings-Cray.

‘In our copper-colored theme of the season, we’ve included highlights in blue,’ says Jason. ‘It’s a look inspired by the beautiful iridescence of freshwater fish, where you get metallic coppers offset by cooler shades. And while wildlife is behind the color scheme, there are some fun motifs in the decorations, wrap and garlands.’

10. Create an unexpected asymmetric display

A Christmas-themed living room with navy blue wall decor, large mirror, and traditional fireplace with three white stockings

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

We've said it before and we will say it again, an empty mantel at Christmas is a sad one. They are so easy to decorate too, just pick some greenery, add some candles and there you go, your very own marvellous masterpiece. 

We love this asymmetric look though, with the large houseplant, it's unexpected because of the height but definitely adds interest to the space and a clear focal point. 

11. DIY a rustic advent calendar 

A DIY advent calendar using brown paper bags with rattan chair and white and peach wall decor

(Image credit: Curated Living Limited)

This rustic Christmas decor idea is so simple and effective!  Pick up some brown paper bags from a craft store or Amazon and then hang them using ribbons and strings to start your own DIY advent calendar.

Use stickers to add the numbers, or a chalk pen to add patterns. You could hang it anywhere too but we think it would look so cute in a hallway so the kids can just grab their bag as they leave for school.

12. Add some subtle festive decor to your kitchen 

A grey and white Christmas-themed kitchen with two ceiling lights with seasonal foliage, white dresser, wire star decor and patterned floor

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Despite being the heart of the home over the holidays, your kitchen decor scheme can get a bit overlooked when it comes to Christmas. We say that needs to change.

Sure, you might not have room for a tree in there, but copy this Christmas decorating idea and hang some foliage around a doorway, in your cabinets and over your lighting. Add some cute hanging decorations on your handles too to complete the look.

13. Pick an alternative color palette this year

A living room with pink wall decor, black piano, rocking horse and real Christmas tree decorated with pink ribbon and star decor

(Image credit: Joyce Vloet/Coco Features)

A pink Christmas tree is our dream. We love the soft, vintage-inspired look, and we are up for sporting what is one of the cutest throwback Christmas decorating ideas around.

Create this sweet scheme by tying ribbons to the branches and pair your pink decor with silver and gold metallic touches to bring in some sparkle too. 

14. Paper stars make Christmas decorating easy

A Scandinavian-style black and light wood hallway decorated with green foliage on bannister and star decor

(Image credit: Garden Trading )

The easiest, most effective Christmas decorating ideas we are going for this year? Paper stars. Or just any paper decs actually. They look so stylish and like you have really put in some effort, but all you really did is order a couple of packs of Amazon and hang them all over your home. 

Order them or make your own paper snowflakes for an even more magical touch. 

15. Or hang paper decorations from the ceiling

A wooden ceiling with various honeycomb paper decorations

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Again, another one of the most easy, effective and budget Christmas decoration ideas is to hang an abundance of paper decorations from the ceilings or around mantles, doorways, up the stairs. 

Pick a mix of styles and sizes and bundle them together to create a proper feature. 

16. Embrace the dark and moody trend this Christmas

A hallway with black wall and floor paint decor with Christmas tree decorated exclusively with red baubles

(Image credit: Annie Sloan )

Dark, moody interiors are all over Instagram, and if you're well into the look, but aren't sure how to match it with your Christmas decor scheme, we have some really easy ideas.

Easiest option? Go for dark colored baubles – black, navy, dark green – will all create a dramatic feel. If you have a dark living room already, go for a contrasting color to create a striking look.

Fill your rooms with lots of dark evergreens, too, trail firs and ivy over mantelpieces, up banisters and around door frames. Stick to candlelight, or low, warm lights to add to the atmosphere. 

17. Go for a Scandi-style Christmas

A cozy Christmas living room by Neptune with concrete grey floor, geometric motif white and grey rug, Christmas tree, L-shaped grey sofa, and white shiplap walls and ceiling

Furniture, all Neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)

Christmas and Scandi style really were made for each other: it’s chilly out, the fire's lit and the mulled wine is going down a treat. So, if yours is an (almost) all-white room, embrace it with our Scandi Christmas decorating ideas

Go for white or pale wood, and then add pops of color with red or deep green. Give your room a festive feel with candles, and evergreen sprigs on every surface and of course a Scandi-approved Christmas tree. 

18. Love vintage style? Make your decs old-style

A traditional red and green Christmas-themed living room with large decorated Christmas tree, check rug and red sofa furniture

(Image credit: Heather Gunn)

The best thing about decorating a vintage style tree? You can mix and match colors, bauble styles and all the rustic Christmas decor you'd like to create an artfully thrown-together look.

Kitsch Christmas tree decorations are a fab option for the vintage look, but opt for muted, smoky colors rather than bolds (which will look too contemporary). Etsy have some lovely 1950s Christmas decorations if you are after the real thing. 

19. Love bright colors? Neon is a big trend for this holiday

An assortment of Christmas-themed neon lights in living room with Aztec patterned rug and Christmas tree

(Image credit: John Lewis )

Yup, the neon Christmas decorating trend is here – and it's pretty simple to recreate in your own home. Think tacky but stylish at the same time. Baubles in rainbow colors and funky shapes, pick up some cheap bright colored tinsel too; feather bowers in bright pink, strung over your tree would look really cool also. 

‘We really want to encourage creativity, escapism and fun with a bright, punchy color palette that kids will love. Rip up the design rules and go all out on fun. More really is more.' says Billings-Cray.

Brighten up your Christmas decorating with the best neon lights.

20. Use blackboard paint to create an instant Christmas

A child's bedroom or playroom with chalkboard wall decor with tree drawn in white chalk and decorations fixed to wall

(Image credit: Homesense)

Thinking of redecorating before Christmas with a dark, moody scheme (you know, the type we've labored on about above)? 

Why not opt for blackboard paint in a strategic way? Create a Christmas tree that takes up zero room (perfect for a child's room or a kitchen) by drawing one onto a blackboard wall. As an alternative Christmas tree idea, you could even use some Command Hooks to hang actual decorations from it.

This is a great idea if the kids want to get involved with decorating a tree (just not YOUR Christmas tree in your living room).

21. Small home? Downsize your decs not your ambitions

A hallway with three mini Christmas trees on console table

(Image credit: Bloom & Wild)

If you're resigned to small living room ideas forever (or perhaps embracing them), you may not have the room for a full size Christmas tree or anywhere to store the decorations the rest of the year. 

Well lucky for you, mini trees, like these from Amazon are a massive trend this year. Decorate with diddy baubles and a string of fairy lights to add some instant holiday cheer no matter how small your apartment. 

22. Make an entrance with an OTT garland

A hallway with black wall decor, white painted front door and Christmas foliage decor on banister

(Image credit: Laura Ashley)

There's no denying that once a year, it's worth going over the top to make your home look festive. As a failsafe hallway decorating idea, a garland will create a welcoming first impression for guests. Just a few tips – whether you go real or fake – one threaded with wire will make it easier to wind around the banister securely. If you do go for a real one, pick foliage known not to drop, wilt or brown quickly. 

For our pick of the best Christmas garlands, head over to our feature. 

23. Switch up how you display a wreath 

A Christmas-themed dining table set with garland suspended over ceiling and wooden floorboard

(Image credit: Neptune)

Over the past years, have you learned how to make a Christmas wreath? If so, then you definitely need to hang it with pride! Why not do it with a difference and suspend yours horizontally like the Scandis do (above)? Over the dining table is best, with droplet baubles hanging beneath.

A fire surround loves a garland, too, but ensure yours is well out of the way of any flames (it's a legal requirement). Put it atop the mantelpiece or swag it, with baubles at its centre for a traditional, formal feel.

24. Use baubles imaginatively (ie, not on the tree)

A marble fireplace mantel with Christmas wreath and accessories by John Lewis


(Image credit: John Lewis)

Remember what we said about using the baubles on the stair garland or within the one on the fireplace? There are tons of places you can dot baubles about – in the living room, as Christmas table decor (that Kelly Hoppen would fully approve of), on your bar cart and beyond – to create a gorgeous festive look, without having to buy anything new. 

25. Go overboard with Christmas lights

An outdoor space with Christmas-themed lighting including star and LED reindeer

Dobbies Garden Centres' Christmas lighting

(Image credit: Dobbies Garden Centres)

You can't go over the top here: literally go crazy with Christmas lights (well, you can go over the top, but we're talking tasteful crazy here). As well as hanging them around window and door frames, across the mantelpiece, around the banisters and on the tree (obviously), you can put battery-run, LED lights in a sturdy glass vase to create an instant table centerpiece – and don't forget outdoors, too.

Find some of the best Christmas fairy light designs in our buying guide.

26. Don't ignore the kitchen Christmas decorations

A white kitchen with monochrome kitchen island with round bar stool and Christmas foliage on shelves

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

We know it might not be that practical to have a full on tree in your kitchen but why not try adding a garland or two – they take up zero room and bring in just as much of a festive feel. String them along your shelves or create a Christmas window display for an even more festive touch.

27. Create a festive feel outdoors, too

A Christmas tree outdoors by a door with a wreath and a swag


While not many of us have room, budget or extra outdoor Christmas decorations for a real Christmas tree outside the front or back door, we all have a front door that's crying out for a Christmas wreath. 

Pushed for time? Buy a ready-made Christmas wreath for a gorgeous display.

28. Pick a neutral color scheme for an understated look

A neutral, open-plan living room with black dining room table, light wood bench, round mirror above black fireplace and trio of rattan ceiling lights

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

How dreamy is this Christmas decor? It works so well with the style of the interiors – looks like it should be there all year round. 

Copy this look by keeping your color scheme nice and neutral and instead add interest with textures. Mix glass baubles with larger paper ones and make sure you add in lots of greenery too.

29. Go for a beautiful berry background

A festive Christmas-themed dining area with dining chairs covered with faux fur rugs and Christmas chandelier

(Image credit: Pooky)

If you have a beautiful paint color on the walls like this winey tone, then you can be a little more subtle with your Christmas decor.

Should you be painting your dining room or another room in the house in time for the festive season, choose warm colors and complement them with your tableware or furniture.

30. Light up every single space (no matter how small)

A Christmas-themed dining table with fairy lights and miniature tree decor

(Image credit: Amazon)

'Lighting brings a certain kind of magic when setting the scene for the festivities,' says Rohan Blacker, founder at Pooky.

'To keep things merry and bright, fairy lights are your secret weapon - pinned around window sills, mirrors, doorways, lacing bookshelves. Such a simple yet effective way to set the tone and fill everyone with the excitement of Christmas.'

'Dress your lanterns and pendants with ivy and tinsel to create a decorative ornament out of them. Alternatively, you can opt for lovely colored lamp in warm tones or reds and greens to bring in the colors of the season.'

31. Be a little bold 

A metallic blue and teal cozy reading corner in festively-themed living room

(Image credit: Pooky.com)

'People never seem to shy away from the classic greys and silvers, however at Christmas time we recommend velvet fabrics,' says Patricia Gibbons, design team member at sofa.com.

'Velvet has lovely shimmer properties, catching and reflecting light from all angles with incredible depth. The perfect material to add a layer of extra shine and warmth to your living room space, especially during the festivities. We have a selection of beautifully silky velvet cushions, footstools and sofas that will help do just that.'

'In terms of color, bolder tones are very much on the rise, people are becoming more adventurous with their interior choices. Reds and pinks such as our Rhubarb and Claret hues and bright fuchsia pinks are often the go-to option for these brighter contrasts. Muted, neutral velvets in Butterscotch and Olive tones have also seen quite a surge in popularity, and both work brilliantly with a grey palette.'

32. A super quick decor idea? Stockings and greenery

A living room with earthy terracotta wall decor, brass frame above Christmas-themed fireplace, wooden chair and logs stored in woven basket

(Image credit: Neptune)

Only got half an hour to decorate? Stockings and garlands are going to be a saviour. They instantly make anywhere feel more festive – you could do some classic mantel decor but if you don't have a fireplace, wrap some greenery around your staircase and hang some stockings on the bannister or even decorate around a door frame.

33. Adorn a mirror

A Christmas-themed living room with black wall decor, statement black ceiling chandelier light, cream upholstered sofa, and mirror framed with foliage

(Image credit: Neptune)

Well is this living room not the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? That mirror design is the star of the room, and could be a really easy look to replicate – just use your mirror to build foliage around, you could even just wrap a garland around it, or find a wreath to fit. You could even add a fairy lights for a welcome dose of twinkle. 

34. Go for a brighter scheme this year

A modern fireplace with blue paint decor and neon light Christmas decorations

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

If you want to stray away from the classic red and green or snowy whites, you need to check out the rest of this Christmas house. It's fun and modern and just so cheery – fill your home with colorful paper decs, glitter balls and bright lights for something a bit different this year.

35. Add dried flowers to your Christmas decor

A farmhouse-style Christmas tree with frosted effect, woven stand and brown paper decorations

(Image credit: Becky Mickelson)

Dried flowers and grasses have been such a trend, so why not bring some that boho style into your Christmas tree?

Add in pampas grass or dried flower stems in amongst the greenery to add a ton of interest  and texture – plus this is a great hack for filling any gaps your tree might have.

36. Quick Christmas decor idea? Go for the mantle 

A fireplace with white mantel, framed wall art, festive foliage garland and various paper honeycomb decorations

(Image credit: Hill House Vintage x Wayfair)

If you have left your Christmas decor a bit last minute, or have neglected a room you want to add some quick festiveness too, a mantel piece is the best place to decorate. 

And if you don't have a mantle piece, try adding foliage or a garland and paper decorations above your pictures and prints or along some shelves. Remember it's meant to look a bit rustic so don't worry if yours doesn't look perfect. 

37. Switch up your cushions

A modern Scandi Christmas-themed living room with trio of garlands on wall, cassette fireplace built into wall, and two Christmas trees

(Image credit: H&M)

Another super easy way to bring some festive vibes into your living room is to switch up your cushions. And we aren't just talking full on cheesy holiday cushions, if you like a more subtle look, add in some faux fur cushions, maybe a touch of dark green and red. Check out H&M for all the best wintery cushions. 

38. Use food as decor for a last-minute idea

Festive table decorations with melted wax on dripping candlesticks and oranges studded with cloves

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Where would we be without oranges at Christmas, they smell great, taste great in festive tipple, and make for fab last minute decor. 

We love the look of dried oranges but you could also go for the classic clove studded orange as table decor. 

39. Light all the candles

A table with assortment of Christmas candles, two wreaths and a fluted grey vase with Christmas berries

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Make every room feel instantly more cozy and festive by lighting all the candles. Go for a mix of heights and trail some ivy along the base to add in some greenery. 

If you've got kids or pets, the latest LED, battery-operated candles look so lifelike – and you don't have to worry about fire hazards or the mess of dripping wax. Just take a look at these Truglow candles by Lights4Fun on Amazon.

'If you’re thinking of switching up your Christmas decorating theme to a rustic one this year, think stylish and pared back with a limited color palette,' says Jess Martin, decoration expert at Ginger Ray.

'We’ve all seen those gorgeous Scandi Christmas set ups on Pinterest thinking how amazing they look and how it would be the perfect feel for Christmas – you can achieve it!'

'An easy way to get that feeling is to add textures throughout your home. Fill the space with chunky knits, candles, wooden logs and natural materials. Fill your home with soft lighting to set that cosy Christmas atmosphere. Try to avoid using overhead lighting and stick with lamps or candles to really get the ambience perfect. While candles may not be the best to have lit all day long, there are many led candles out there that will replicate the feeling closely.'

'Lastly, fairy lights are a given at Christmas so make sure you have some at the ready. If you’re sticking with the candle light feeling, go with warm white fairy lights so you have consistent hues of light throughout your home.'

'A rustic Christmas theme is all about embracing nature in your decor. To achieve the look you should focus on pared back materials like wood, hessian or foliage and stick with these neutral color palettes. One of the main goals of decorating in a rustic way is bringing the outdoors in, so the more greenery the better!'

'The key things to remember for a rustic Christmas theme are to keep things clean, simple and natural. Add a trendy rustic feel with our gorgeous wooden buntings, all of their designs are simple and elegant. They would look perfect hanging above a mantlepiece or against a wall around your home.'

'If you don’t want to buy all new decorations, then why not try and repurpose some of your old ones? You could try re-painting some baubles in more neutral colors, we’re sure it will look great! (As long as you don’t want to revert back to the old theme any time soon).'

'A foliage table runner would look amazing with a rustic theme, so if you have the space add in a lovely thick garland. And again, if you’re trying to achieve your look on a budget, why not go and see what you can find during a nature walk, gather pine cones and twigs or seasonal berries to scatter on the table. You could also paint or customise what you find so it becomes a fun festive activity to create the table decorations during the run up to Christmas.'

Hebe Hatton
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer. As a renter, she is always looking for creative ways to make her flat feel like home. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration.

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