Deck whatever halls you have this season—whether you’re working with a traditional fireplace or a very small space.

By Stephanie Sisco with Mary Honkus
Updated November 16, 2018
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If you’ve never decorated before, it can be nerve-wracking to figure out exactly how to dress up your home for the holidays. Start small to make the task less overwhelming. Little touches can still have a huge impact on the space. Don’t be worried that you have to break the bank on decorations, either. A simple strand of garland or fairy lights can help brighten your home—and your mood—for a small price tag.

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Even surprising spaces can be enhanced with a little holiday cheer. Dress up a doorway, deck out your stairwell, or even spiff up a windowpane. The possibilities are truly endless. And if you have a small space or a home with no hearth, you can still outfit your home in whimsical, wintery décor.

Whether you’re a decorating pro or an embellishment novice, these festive ideas will help you spruce up your space, and give you one less thing to stress about this holiday season. Start with one spot or try them all and let the merriment begin.

Nicole Franzen

Fireside Forest

Layer an assortment of tree-shaped objects in varying heights and textures atop the mantel. Use a metallic, leafy garland to reflect the firelight from below.

Nicole Franzen

Celestial Doorway

Trick out a door or window frame with an asymmetrical assortment of stars. Use adhesive strips to hang a strand of cascading star lights accentuated with ornaments and lanterns of various sizes.

Nicole Franzen

Stockinged Stairwell

Hang stockings from a banister trimmed with garland (live or faux) using floral wire or zip ties hidden amid the greenery.

Nicole Franzen

Faux Hearth

Place pretty logs in a wire basket and wrap them in fairy lights for a twinkly glow. A low-profile tree adorned with a few vintage ornaments completes the festive vibe.

  • To buy: Extra-large decorative wire storage bin, $25;
  • Stargazer copper-twine lights, $48 (50 ft.);
  • Velvet pillow by Edie Ure in mustard yellow, $190;
Nicole Franzen

Leaning Ladder

Attach stockings to a decorative ladder and liven it up with a swag of pine garland. In January, replace the stockings with throw blankets.