11 Ways to Make Your Home Holiday-Ready Without Redecorating

Fun living room with green velvet couch and Christmas decorations.

Design: Emily Henderson / Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

As we inch closer and closer to the holidays, the urge to decorate for the season might make you feel like you have to buy all the things and follow all the trends. While it’s always fun to pick up a few new pieces to deck your halls, we’re here to assure you that you can still make your home feel festive without doing a giant overhaul.

We turned to a few of our favorite experts to ask for their top tips for elevating your home to holiday levels without redecorating entirely.

  • 01 of 11

    Declutter and Reset

    Tidy nook with desk and small Christmas tree.

    Design: Emily Henderson / Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    Rather than looking at this as a time of year to redecorate, use it as the perfect excuse to reset your space and start fresh. 

    “The holidays leading up to the New Year are a great opportunity to clear some space, reset, and start fresh,” Shira Gill, organizing expert and author of Minimalista, says. “Consider setting aside a few hours to do a sweep of your home so you can declutter and reset your space.” 

    Samantha Struck, principal designer of StruckSured Interiors, agrees, noting that she likes to keep this in mind all season long.

    “Just like a closet, we have a general rule of thumb that for any new items being brought into a space, you remove something old from the space as a result," she explains. "This helps keep the clutter to a minimum and really allows your eye to rest on the seasonal objects in the space."

    If you're not sure what should go, Struck has advice. "A good rule of thumb is to remove an item that is similar to the item you are bringing in. For example, if you are adding a throw pillow, remove one of your regular daily ones out of the space for the season.”

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  • 02 of 11

    Go Small But Practical

    Minimalistic entryway with small wreath and Christmas trees.

    Design: Emily Henderson / Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    Paul Middlemiss, the founder of Merchant & Found, says that if you do want to add in new pieces, then pick items that serve a purpose and add to or embellish your existing space. 

    “Invest in cushions and throws that are practical and colorful and can be used in interesting ways,” Middlemiss says. ”Or, try baskets in interesting colors and shapes that can be used throughout the year to store items and update a room. Glassware in beautiful colors can be both practical and decorative.” 

    Designer Anastasia Casey agrees. “At the holidays, I always swap my linen throw blankets to vintage wool plaid blankets,” she says. “The cozier, heavier fabric makes a substantial difference visually but also feels exponentially cozier as well. During the spring and summer months, I just store these few wool blankets under a bed.”

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  • 03 of 11

    Engage All the Senses

    Cozy entryway with lit candles.


    Prepping your home isn’t just about adding lots of glitter and twinkly lights—as fun as that is! Gill tells us there are other, smaller ways to amp up the festive cheer. 

    “It's easy to make your home feel cozy just by engaging the senses,” she says. “Light a fire or some candles, heat up some hot apple cider or cocoa, or add some cozy pillows or soft throws to your couch or bed. Put on some holiday tunes...the little things can make a big difference.”

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  • 04 of 11

    Never Underestimate the Power of Candles

    Living room with small lit taper candles.

    Cottage + Sea

    One absolute must-have? Candles. "Integrating more warm candles and candle lighting and tapers are all holiday-related, yet many people have and use them throughout the year regardless," Sofia Crokos of Sofia Crokos Events & Lifestyle tells us. 

    Designer Grey Joyner agrees, and says that scented candles take things to the next level. “Scent is always a big one for me and can instantly change the mood and vibe of a space,” she says. “As it gets closer to the holidays, one of my favorites is the Holiday candle from NEST New York. It also comes in a beautiful and festive-looking diffuser as another option. I’ll always have this burning or diffusing so the instant someone comes into my home, it smells like the holidays.”

    “I love getting and lighting holiday-scented candles,” Cristina Lehman of C. Lehman Home adds. “It's such an easy update and instantly changes the...mood of a space. I just bought pine/sage scented candles the other day and the smell just smells like freshly cut trees.”

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  • 05 of 11

    Decorate With Treats

    Coffee table filled with Christmas treats.

    Design: Emily Henderson / Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    One of Joyner’s favorite ways to decorate isn’t with decor at all.

    “I love to pull out a beautiful cake or dessert stand with a dome top and keep an assortment of festive sweets on display during the holidays,” she tells us. “The treats will really be the decor—the more colorful the better, and your family will enjoy them. They always brighten the mood and bring some joy.”

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  • 06 of 11

    Keep It Simple

    Neutral living room with minimal neutral Christmas decor.

    Amber Pierce Designs

    As fun and cozy as this season can be, it can also be challenging, especially if it’s falling on you to manage everything from decor to gift sourcing to meal preps. Gill says that this is the perfect excuse to pare down and only add in the necessities. 

    “When it comes to holiday decor, I like to keep things wildly simple,” she says. “We like to spruce up our home with a few beeswax candles, some greenery, and a single felt garland that we pull out every year.” 

    "Stick to simplicity,” Crokos agrees. “Pre-plan your decor: rather than decorating everything and hanging things all at once, you take them out of storage. That way, you can never overwhelm the space, and you’re not redecorating anything, just enhancing or embellishing."

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  • 07 of 11

    Embellish the Small Spaces

    Small wreaths to enhance a space

    Lauren Sullivan of Well x Design

    Whether you’re not into redecorating your home for budget or space reasons, Joyner says that sometimes, the smallest embellishments can have the biggest impact. 

    “If you have bar stools or kitchen dining chairs, it’s fun to decorate them with either mini wreaths on the back, or even with some pretty ribbon as a subtle, but special touch,” Joyner says. “A way to bring in some holiday color and texture without redecorating is by wrapping your banister with ribbon, or with a garland and ribbon.” 

    Lauren Sullivan of Well x Design agrees. “I love small wreaths with simple velvet bows throughout the home in unexpected places,” she says. “Incorporating wreaths with ribbon in your chosen color palette instantly gets your home holiday-ready while adding a touch of greenery—without necessarily screaming ‘it's the holidays.’”

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  • 08 of 11

    DIY It

    Christmas presents and stringed popcorn garland

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin 

    Decorating your home can be the perfect group activity—and that doesn’t have to go away if you’re taking a smaller approach this year. Instead, work together to make something beautiful. 

    “Try decorating oranges with cloves or stringing popcorn and cranberries to make a festive and biodegradable garland,” Gill suggests. “Or, instead of making yourself crazy with tangled lights and ornaments, you could cook a seasonal meal, decorate a gingerbread house, or craft if you’re crafty.”

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  • 09 of 11

    Work With What You Have

    Fun living room with green velvet couch and Christmas decorations.

    Design: Emily Henderson / Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    Véra Kempf, the co-founder of SINGULART, tells us that the best way to decorate for the holidays is to add to what you already have.

    "As a general rule, you should look first at the color palette already going on in the rooms you aim to frost with some holiday spirit,” she tells us. “You can build up a holiday palette considering the color of the walls themselves and the furniture's material." 

    If you just want to go with the classics, Kempf says, “Shades of red, blue, green, and gold will always be on the safe side, but don’t use them all at once."

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  • 10 of 11

    Rely on Nature

    Naturalistic bookshelf Christmas setup.

    Design: Emily Henderson / Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    If you really want to decorate in a way that’s only temporary, Crokos says to use natural elements—which is particularly on-trend this year. "Weave in seasonal foliage or flowers,” she tells us. “Red flowers for the holiday season and magnolia branches are great.”

    Kempf agrees. “The same vase can scream 'holidays' just by adding some greenery or even some Poinsettia flowers. Organics are always a sustainable yet elegant way to fill your house with holiday atmosphere."

    “Fresh greenery, even if just cut from your yard, is the easiest way to make your space feel festive,” Carey adds. “Because fresh greenery appeals to multiple senses (it smells so good), it’s going to have a bigger impact than holiday decor alone.”

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  • 11 of 11

    Get Into the Season of Giving

    Kid's bookshelf with books and toys.

    Design: Emily Henderson / Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    As you clean out your space, Gill says this is also the perfect way to get into the mindset of giving.

    “It's a great time of year to donate warm coats, socks, and gently used toys or games,” says Gill. “You can also do a clean sweep of your pantry and make a care package of non-perishable items for your local food bank.”