Are you looking for some affordable Christmas decorating ideas this season?? I think we are all looking for a budget-friendly way to make our homes look great this year!! Well, let me show you what I did today in my living room.
Just because I’m trying to be budget conscious this holiday season doesn’t mean I’m willing to skimp on style. I’m going to show you how I used thrifted finds, a few quick DIYs, and a couple of new inexpensive Christmas items to start getting my living room decked out for the season.
A Few Affordable Christmas Decorating Ideas
Copycat Expensive Items
One of my favorite ways that you can save a few bucks is by making your own version of an expensive item that you love.
If you have ever dropped by my website before then you already know how much I love to show you ways to recreate expensive items that I see from more expensive retailers like Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Crate& Barrel, etc.
For my first budget-buster idea I am going to show you how I duped the $70 Crate & Barrel Zinc Nutcracker
Hobby Lobby has large unfinished wood nutcrackers that I got for under $5 each. They aren’t available online so you will have to get them at the store. Michael’s stores also sell a larger version (24 inches tall)
Using Rustoleum Metallic Spray Paint in ‘Flat Soft Iron’ I gave the nutcrackers 2 light coats. Letting the paint dry between the coats for the best finish.
Here’s one of the finished nutcrackers. Now, this was a super easy way to get a similar look for alot less!
To stay on a budget when I decorate for Christmas I reuse the same things year after year but in a different way and usually in a different spot in my house. My set of 3 icy trees is probably 7 or more years old now and I bought the mercury glass trees from Walmart a couple of years ago.
Thrift Store Flips
Shopping at a good thrift store is another one of my budget-decorating secrets.
Seriously, I have found so many amazing pieces over the past few years on the shelves of my local Savers thrift store!!
Some of my thrift store finds I use just as they are but others are perfect for a little DIY love.
By shopping at thrift stores and vintage markets you can curate a more stylish home because the older pieces bring a little character with them…not knocking Home Goods at all… but it’s an affordable way to layer in some interesting one-of-a-kind items.
One thing that I am always on the hunt for is vases and vessels. Always check the bottom shelves or behind all the other stuff because that’s where I always find the good stuff!!
I grabbed this glass vase last Spring because it was a pretty shape and was heavy. To spruce it up I gave it a faux mercury glass finish. You can see my step-by-step method (it’s not hard!) and make one yourself.
For a pretty Christmas look that looks expensive but really isn’t I first tied a vintage-looking velvet ribbon around the vase (the roll is $3.99 at Hobby Lobby). Then I added a few faux greenery stems and finished the vase off with 4 pheasant feathers.
The pheasant feathers were also used in my Fall decorating so I am getting half a year of use so far out of my $10 investment.
Next to the vase, I have a small stack of old books. One I found at my college apartment..so that’s vintage…LOL!
Old books are another thing to put on your list of things to be on the lookout for when you are thrifting. You can use them year-round to create different displays when you are decorating.
Forage for Greenery
One free way that I decorate for the holidays is by going outside with my clippers and a basket and collecting greenery from my yard and the field behind my house. Also, look for small branches that you can add to arrangements.
Not everyone has access to pine trees behind their homes I know, but you can check at your local Christmas tree stands to see if they have any free clippings. I always have a pair of clippers in the car to clip winterberries for Christmas…we have lots of them on the sides of the roadways here in New Hampshire…I’m not cutting them from private property!!!!
As the centerpiece of my console cabinet, I’m going to use a large vessel to create the greenery arrangement.
To prolong the life of the fresh greens I hid a vase filled with water inside the larger vessel before adding the stems.
make your own snowy stems
Here’s a great trick to have up your sleeve to save a few dollars when you are decorating! This will only take a couple of minutes of your time too.
SUPPLIES FOR BRANCHES:
- Clear Glue or Mod Podge
- Epsom Salt
Find a few thinner branches either from your yard or check your grocery store or Trader Joe’s to see if they have affordable bundles of branches.
Then I used a sponge brush to coat the branches with clear Elmer’s glue. You have to work fast so the glue doesn’t dry!
Then sprinkle Epsom salts over the branches, you can press them onto the glue for a chunkier snowy look.
Let the branches dry before adding them to your winter arrangements. Another idea is to do a bundle of long branches and add them to a tall container on the floor.
For this quick winter arrangement, I first added all of the fresh pine clippings making sure they were all in the water-filled vase inside. Then I added 2 artificial snowy pine stems, a long pick of pine cones, and dried lotus pods (Trader Joe’s is my go-to for cheap dried pods)
I finished the look off with the snowy branches that I made to add some height to the vase.
Things like dried pods and pine cones are affordable and reusable year after year. I’ve used the pods in multiple ways since I first bought them (for $3.99).
Pottery Barn Inspired Vase
thrift store flip
See the step-by-step tutorial for how I turned an ugly thrift store find into this PB-inspired vase that I love!
Create a Designer Look On The Cheap
Have you been drooling over all those Pinterest images of the garlands with the bells and lights?? Well, I’m going to show you how I got that look for 20 bucks (and a tube of Rub n Buff)!
Both the bell garland and the bulb string lights are from Target and were $10 each, my local store didn’t have them so I did have to order online. Both are still in stock online as I type this. (11/14/22)
The bells were a little bit right and brassy looking, not the look I was going for on this project. To get that vintage look I rubbed Antique Gold Rub ‘n Buff over the bells. If you aren’t familiar with this product you should be…it’s seriously a miracle worker and I swear one tube lasts forever!! You need a very small dab to cover the bell (I did use my finger because it’s faster and easier for me to control the coverage…a little scrub with dish soap removed the gold from my finger).
On the wall, I have 2 large botanical prints that I bought last Spring from the Hearth & Hand line at Target (sold out now).
First I took a 6 ft cedar garland and draped it over the 2 big prints. Next, I hung the bells and then the lighted garland. By layering the bells and lights onto the garland it will give you a designer look.
This would look fantastic across a big wall mirror or on a mantle too.
shop Favorite Garlands
As pretty as this cabinet looks in the day…it’s even prettier at night with the glow of the Christmas lights!
More Affordable Holiday Ideas!
You have to see what Stacy and Kim are sharing today!
Stacy has been working on a thrifted mantle that she refinished and added to her dining room. She has some fantastic Christmas mantle decorating ideas for you!!
Kim has the best collection of vintage goods!! Wait until you see all the pretty ways she has used her collection throughout her home, you will get some fantastic ideas!
10 Days of Christmas
Check out the hundreds of affordable & creative ideas shared by my friends and me to help you get in the holiday spirit! You will love it…
- Day 1 – Christmas DIY Ideas
- Day 2 – Front Porch Decorating Ideas
- Day 3 – Christmas Tree Ideas
- Day 4 – Christmas Table Decor Ideas
- Day 5 – Christmas Cookies and Sweet Treats
- Day 6 – Christmas Decorating Ideas
- Day 7 – Christmas Hacks You Should Know
- Day 8 – Christmas Gift Wrapping Guide
- Day 9 – Wreaths & Front Door Decor
- Day 10 – Winter Greenery
More thrifty ideas for you!
cottage on bunker hill
Thanks for stopping by today! Being able to share my projects, DIYs, and decorating ideas with you is amazing. Leave a comment below; I love hearing from you! Feel free to drop me a note here if you have any questions.
Kim | Shiplap and Shells says
I seriously cannot believe all the amazing DIY projects you do every season. I love what you’ve done with the cute little nutcrackers, Jennifer. And that mercury glass vase is so pretty.
Jennifer Howard says
Thanks, Kim!! Have a great Thanksgiving!!
Looks so good, Jennifer! I love the nutcracker and the ball lights you used with the garland. I’m all about saving money this holiday season and using what I have!!
Mary Anne Russo says
This is such a great craft! I may use this! I’m may create a nutcracker theme this year, because we are going to see the play the nutcracker this year. Thank you for sharing!
Jen I love everyone of your ideas. You are a girl after my own heart. I have to say your Nutcrackers are a great dupe and they look so cool. Thank you for your awesome ideas.🥰
Stacy, your refurbished mantel looks amazing. You did a great job with the transformation and it’s the perfect piece for your dining room. And I love how you styled it for Christmas. The greenery with the brass accents is so classic. I’m going to share your post with my readers on Sunday for my week in rewind. I think they’ll really love it too!
So many great ideas, my friend. I love it. Happy Holidays!
Friend, you are the queen of dupes. I Love the bells and the nutcrackers are so darn cute!
Wow it all looks so pretty and I love the nutcracker figures you have they are the coolest!!!!