Every year my husband, Stephen, and I put our Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. It is a tradition from his family we carried into our married life, because my family tradition was: put the tree up a few days before Christmas and leave it there until it becomes a fire hazard, then maybe take it down before Valentine’s Day. His was the obvious choice. We have made it our own by launching a full-on house decoration day complete with John Williams’ Christmas playlist, hot cocoa, and feeble attempts to keep our animals from wrapping themselves in all of the garland. Because decorating can quickly become expensive, I’m sharing a simple guide I like to follow when styling for holiday home decor on a budget.
How to Create Festive Holiday Home Decor on a Budget
1. Create A Mood Board/Pinterest Board
The first step in my decorating process is always a mood board. If I don’t organize all my thoughts and ideas in one space, I’ll end up with 57 different color schemes and a look that is more chaotic than cohesive. It can be fun to make a physical board of images if you have that kind of time, but since I’m usually on the go, my favorite way to do this is through Pinterest. It’s the perfect place to gather looks for seasonal decorating without the added clutter and cost of a physical board. You can find all the inspiration for images in this post via my Pinterest board.
2. Upcycle/ Use What You Have
Before purchasing anything, I check our inventory from previous years to see what I already have on hand. This prevents me from impulse-buying glittery knick-knacks from the dollar section of Target (sometimes). It also encourages creativity to design an entirely new look with previously used items. Many of us have more items to work with than we think, and I often find I only need to purchase a few things to complete an entire look.
3. Thrift or DIY
After taking inventory, I write a list of items I still need and start shopping at a local thrift store. Other great resources include Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and asking friends and family if they have the needed items. Besides the unbeatable price point, thrifting and borrowing is a great way to shop sustainably in a season that is fraught with consumerism. Also, I know I am really romanticizing the $3 throw pillows with this statement, but I love thinking about the history behind the items I find while thrifting. Sometimes I imagine how they were used and loved by another family and how Stephen and I will make them our own.
If you are extra talented in the craft department, there are so many great resources for DIY decor. I am especially loving this DIY card display I found on Pinterest, and it looks super simple to recreate.
4. Purchase When Necessary
Despite the treasures to be found from thrifting, sometimes I am unable to get exactly what I need for holiday home decor on a budget. If all of the above tactics fail to keep me from purchasing items at full price, I peruse a few of my favorite stores: Amazon, Target, Dollar Tree, Michael’s and places like HomeGoods and Pier 1. The latter are last resorts, only because they are the most expensive. Let’s be real, if I could afford to, I’d march right over to HomeGoods this minute, buy the entire store, and proceed to live in it.
5. Make it Personal
I love adding personal touches to our holiday home decor, tying them in to the overall look. We usually display Christmas cards with ribbon and clothespins, frame family Christmas photos from previous years, and add our favorite prints and a Nativity scene to our display.
How do you decorate your home for the holiday season? We’d love to know in the comments below!
Katie Waldow is a wife, youth minister, and blogger living in Ocean City, NJ. You can sometimes find her sipping lattes, often corralling her dog and two cats, always on Instagram. She loves praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet and dreams of one day buying an old house and converting it into a coffee shop. You can find out more about her here.