‘Tis (almost) the season to be decorating your home for the holidays. Most stores – from your local pharmacy to major retail chains – have already imploded with Christmas trees, evergreen wreaths, colorful lights, ribbons and other holiday decorations. You, too, can deck your halls with boughs of holly, even if you are on a small budget. Turn your home into a winter wonderland without going bankrupt.
Try arts and crafts. You can find everything holiday-related at your local arts-and-crafts store. See if the store offers classes on home decorating. In most cases, the only cost to you is the cost of materials you need for that certain project. Or check out the store's website for a list of any projects to try at home. Learn how to make festive bell wreaths, peppermint swirl ornaments, waterless snow globes and other decorative items.
Watch the pros. With more than 350 TV channels to choose from these days, chances are someone somewhere has a show that provides wonderful, yet cheap home-decorating ideas. Chill out in front of the tube for some inspiration. Then take off to your local shopping center and buy the supplies you need for your project.
Visit the bookstore, stop by the library or go online. Swing by the newsstand at your local bookstore and you will find dozens of home-decorating magazines. Or browse through the bookshelves or go online to see if your favorite TV celebrity designer has a book out. Chances are, you will find endless do-it-yourself project ideas that are way more engaging than simply plopping down some major green on someone else’s snowman elf stocking.
Candles/tea lights/votives. Not only do candles set the mood or lighten up the mantle, they also come in delightful seasonal scents like gingerbread, Christmas cookie. balsam and cedar. Go traditional with a jar candle. Place some floating holly candles in a water-filled centerpiece bowl. Or decorate your end tables with unscented miniature woodland trees. Choose decorative accessories too, from candle toppers to votive holders.
Tabletop/place settings. For a simple and affordable change of scenery, deck your dining room table with sparkling tablecloths, colorful placemats and holiday-themed tableware. You can find everything from a "snowflake" napkin holder to a "skating reindeer" platter-and-plate set at local major retailers.
Towels. Display hand towels featuring snowmen, candy canes and pine cones to instantly brighten up your bathroom décor. Visit your local home-décor retailer for design ideas for hand, fingertip, bath and guest towels.
Lighting. Nothing says holiday decorating like a string of multicolored lights. Wrap them around railings, bushes and trees, or hang them along the roofline, eaves and windows. Or add a lighted yard figure like an animated pink flamingo, a sledding snowman family or even a soft tinsel cactus for a quick decorating fix. Different kinds of lights are available in a wide range of prices.
Plants. Liven up the dull winter scene with the vibrant colors of winter plants. Choose bright red poinsettias or large and colorful hydrangeas. If keeping an eye on live plants isn’t your style, consider purchasing low-cost festive artificial flower arrangements, instead, from your local grocery store or arts-and-crafts shop.
Welcome mat. If you’d like to keep your home decorating on the simpler side, swing by any local home-improvement, domestic-merchandise or arts-and-crafts shop to pick up a charming welcome mat. There are plenty of welcome mats to choose from -- everything from your typical “welcome” mat to a colorful hodgepodge of designs, shapes and sayings.
Susan Diranian is a writer for various online publications and magazines, specializing in relationships, health, fashion, beauty and fitness. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in nonfiction writing and editing.