6 Easy Ways to Update Your Christmas Decorating

Christmas decorating ideas

Update your Christmas decorating with on-trend gold accessories. Image: Williams Sonoma Home

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We live for Christmas decorating. The planning and preparation for this special day is part of the magic of the season. With so many events and details to handle, it’s easy to reach for the same decorations every year. There are definitely ornaments and decor that are special to you and will always be a part of your Christmas decorating. By planning a little in advance, though, you can give yourself time to replenish your decorations and add new colors and designs to your home this holiday season. You’ll want to start with a decorating plan so that everything will come together for the big day. To help you with your plan, we’ve created a Christmas decorating checklist.

Ready to Update Your Christmas Decorating? Start Here:

Christmas Wreath Pottery Barn

Silver and gold ornaments are the perfect Christmas decorating accent. Image: Pottery Barn

Christmas is about family gatherings and tradition. There’s no doubt that your Christmas decorations are cherished every year, so it’s important to honor that while updating your home’s holiday look. While you’re going over your plans to decorate this year, it’s also a great time to freshen up your Christmas decor.

If you’d like to give your Christmas decorating a fresh look you’ll want to focus on these six things:

  • Freshen Up Color: The easiest way to update your Christmas decorating is through a new color palette.
  • Create a Plan: Use social media like Pinterest to get inspiration for this year’s Christmas decorating.
  • Make Hard Decisions: Deciding what to keep and what to donate is crucial in making space for your new look.
  • Stick With Your Plan: Once you decide on a new Christmas decorating plan, sticking to that plan will save you time and frustration.
  • Make It a Whole-House Project: Carry your new Christmas decor scheme from room to room.
  • Organize as You Go: Stay organized as you’re unwrapping treasured Christmas decor and unboxing new items.

1. Freshen Up Your Color Palette This Christmas

Draper James Christmas Decorating

Your Christmas color palette doesn’t have to be complicated. Neutrals make beautiful accents with traditional holiday colors. Image: Crate & Barrel

We love traditional Christmas colors like green and red — you can use them as your base when you update your palette. Silver and gold metallics are an easy way to add more color to your decor, but you’ll want to consider copper and brushed gold if you’re creating a contemporary color palette.

Choosing colors for your Christmas decorating is easy because you don’t have to limit yourself to just a few. You’ll want to choose three main colors for your decorating plan, then add three accent colors to your palette (and metallics to tie everything together).

2. Create a New Christmas Decorating Plan

Coastal Style Christmas Decorating

Christmas decorating inspiration with coastal style. Image: Pottery Barn

If you’re ready to freshen up your Christmas decor, it’s time to make a plan. Making a decorating plan isn’t as formal as it sounds. What you’ll be doing is looking through your favorite social media (Pinterest is ideal for this) for inspiration and ideas. Once you have a vision in mind, note the colors that seem to pop up in every image you love. When you decide on a theme for your decorating this year, you’ll know exactly what’s right for your updated Christmas decorating plan when you go shopping.

3. Make Room for New Decorations

Contemporary Christmas Decorations

Keep what you love while making space for new Christmas decor that reflects who you are now. Image: Crate & Barrel

Your treasured ornaments and decorations are a big part of your Christmas traditions and will be the center of your updated decorating plan. Like any decluttering project, going through all of your decorations can help you decide which pieces are truly keepsakes and which are not. We’ve all accumulated boxes of ornaments and decorations over the years that are put up out of habit. These are the items that can be replaced by updated decor as part of your new decorating plan.

4. Stick With Your Christmas Decorating Plan

Christmas Decor Ideas

Charming Christmas throw pillows are easy accent decor for your living room. Image: Crate & Barrel

Now that you have a beautiful new Christmas color scheme and decorating plan, your goal is to stay focused as you shop for new decorations. When you know exactly what your new vision looks like, you’re less likely to impulse shop. While it’s best to stay within your plan, allow yourself a few must-have ornaments that you know will become keepsakes for years to come. The secret is in creating a beautiful foundation to highlight your most cherished decorations.

5. Flow Your Christmas Decorating Throughout Your Home

Bathroom Christmas Decorations Wayfair

Decorate your guest bath with fun Christmas decor. Image: Wayfair

Spread the Christmas decorating love throughout your home. Seasonal throw pillows, blankets and wall art can be used in any room. For your guest baths, Christmas towels and even a shower curtain can make guests feel at home during the holidays.

6. Save Time Next Year by Organizing Your Christmas Decor Now

Christmas Decoration Storage Ideas

Pretty and practical ornament storage boxes make organizing easy. Image: The Container Store

We know that the last thing on our minds as we decorate for Christmas is next year, but taking a little more time to organize while decorating can save time and hassle later on. If you’re going to be storing some decorations in their original boxes, labeling the boxes as you decorate makes packing them away later so much easier. There are usually big sales after Christmas on ornament and decor storage boxes and tubs. Take advantage of those before you take everything down this year.

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2018 Ornament Gift Guide for Everyone on Your List

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If you’re looking for a classic holiday gift to give, ornaments are a treasured gift giving idea. An ornament is a gift that ties right into the season; it makes a great memento of holidays past and fits in with popular holiday decorating styles.

You can use ornaments on Christmas trees, but people also get creative by hanging them from picture frames, walls, rustic branches, garlands, banisters or from homemade mobiles. Some pop culture ornaments can even be treasured items year-round in curio cabinets. The options with ornaments are endless. Below are our top ornament picks for the season.

Winter ornaments

Ornaments Plaid Cabin

This quaint, snowy cottage would be great for a traditional holiday decorating scheme. You can find it at Amazon ($9 to $41).

Ornaments Penguins Playing

Cute penguins are always a delight during the holidays, as in this ornament from Kohl’s ($18).

Ornaments Winter Animals

These adorable winter creatures come in a set from Amazon ($30).

Ornaments Log Slice

Log slices make a good backdrop for an ornament that would fit in well with a rustic theme, as this handmade design from Etsy ($8.50) shows.

Ornaments Polar Bear Style

Polar bears always give off a wintery vibe, as in this ornament from AllModern ($30).

Ornaments Snowflakes Set

Crystal-style snowflakes are a great idea if you’re going for a winter wonderland theme. You can find this 48-piece set of acrylic snowflakes from Amazon ($50).

Ornaments White Leaf Pattern

This white leaf design from Amazon ($11.50) is a wonderful look for a Christmas tree.

Ornaments Icicle

Icicles would make a good addition to a wintery theme, like these ornaments you can get from Amazon ($7.75 for a set of 24).

Family-themed ornaments

Ornaments Granddaughter Snowgirl

This is a great gift for any granddaughter from Kohl’s ($13).

Ornaments Grandson Snowboy

This version is a perfect gift for a grandson, also from Kohl’s ($13).

Ornaments First Year Married

Remember your first married holiday season together with this personalized ornament from Etsy ($19).

Ornaments Family Names

This personalized ornament from Etsy ($13) celebrates each member of the family.

Ornaments Married Rustic Design

Here’s another design for celebrating your first year married in a delightful rustic style from Amazon ($19).

Ornaments Girl First Christmas

Celebrate your daughter’s first Christmas with this personalized ornament from Etsy ($13).

Ornaments Boy First Christmas

This personalized ornament option commemorates your son’s first Christmas from Etsy ($13).

Ornaments First Year Engaged

You can celebrate your first Christmas engaged with this personalized ornament option from Etsy ($19).

Pop culture ornaments

Ornaments Two Minions

Nearly every family seems to have at least one minion fan, making this option from Wayfair ($21) a great gift.

Ornaments Harry Potter and Snape

Relive a favorite Harry Potter movie moment with this talking Hallmark ornament, available at Kohl’s ($25).

Ornaments Mickey and Minnie Design

This detailed ornament, which you can find at Wayfair ($21), brings some Disney magic to a Christmas tree near you.

Ornaments Chip and Dale Sleigh

This delightful Chip and Dale ornament, available at Kohl’s ($18), brings some playful fun to the tree.

Ornaments Mario Kart

This gift is great for any video game fan in your life. You can find it at Kohl’s ($18).

Ornaments Snoopy and Woodstock

Snoopy is always synonymous with holiday specials, making this a wonderful addition to a tree. It’s available at Amazon ($7.99).

Ornaments Boba Fett Character

Boba Fett, a Star Wars fan favorite, is a good gift for sci-fi fans; you can find him at Kohl’s ($18).

General seasonal ornaments

Ornaments Blue Santa

This classic, highly-detailed Santa ornament at Wayfair ($28) would make a good addition to a traditional Christmas design theme.

Ornaments Cookie Snowladies

You can find these sweet sisterly characters at Kohl’s ($16).

Ornaments Log Design

These ornaments would be perfect for a rustic theme around the holidays, and the set is available at Etsy ($20).

Ornaments Dog in Scarf

This adorable pooch is available at Wayfair ($23).

Ornaments Penguin Name

This hand-painted ornament would make a good personalized gift and can be found at Etsy ($7).

Ornaments Red Tree Design

Get a traditional Scandinavian look with this little ornament from AllModern ($15).

Ornaments Crystal Angel

This Swarovski crystal ornament catches the light beautifully as it hangs from a Christmas tree. It’s available from Amazon ($87).

Ornaments Metal Reindeer

This reindeer, which you can find at AllModern ($12), is neutral and classy enough to fit in with just about any Christmas decorating theme.

We hope you find some gift-giving inspiration from our list of ornaments. Ornaments make wonderful holiday gifts for family, co-workers, friends and neighbors alike. For more unique decorating ideas, check out our guide on non-traditional tree decorating.

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Don’t Focus on Cosmetic Features When Buying a Home

When you’re shopping for a new home, it’s natural to favor the more aesthetically-pleasing properties. However, cosmetic features are often decorative and trendy extras. Instead, you should base your decision on the underlying features and value of the home. This includes elements like the plumbing, wiring and roof of any potential home.


Tricked-out closets are trendy, but not necessary. Image: G. Terbrock Luxury Homes

“As a home buyer, it is important that you focus on value over the bells and whistles that can distract from a home’s drawback,” advises Evan Roberts, a real estate agent with Dependable Homebuyers in Baltimore, MD. “Many of these bells and whistles are inexpensive to replicate,” he says. So you shouldn’t pay more for them and you shouldn’t base your homebuying decision on them.”

You shouldn’t increase your offer based on bells and whistles. While you may like them, that doesn’t mean the next homebuyer will. “Paying for low value features will make re-selling difficult,” according to Lucas Machado, president of Florida-based House Heroes. “If you need to move unexpectedly and suddenly, prospective buyers most likely will not assign a high value to low cost features that are already worn.” As a result, he tells Freshome, you might end up selling for a loss, or you may be forced to become a landlord if the sale of your home won’t cover the remaining mortgage balance.

While you may have a list of “must-haves” for your new home, it’s important to be flexible, and consider the big picture. “It’s easy to get caught up in the smaller details,” warns J.B. Sassano, president of Mr. Handyman, a Neighborly company. “Before turning down a house because the faucets are out of date, consider which projects are quick fixes.”

Plumbing fixtures

Speaking of faucets, let’s start with sinks and plumbing fixtures. For example, a farmhouse (or apron-front) sink may set your heart aflutter. But are you really going to base the decision on whether to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home on a sink that costs hundreds of dollars?

Plumbing fixtures

Faucets and other plumbing fixtures don’t cost much to update. Image: Fiorella Design

Another “must have” item for some is either a pull-down or touchless faucet. However, John Blackman, a realtor at Keller Williams/Heart of Austin Homes Team, tells Freshome that you can purchase one of these sink faucets for $200 to $300.

If you’re looking at a kitchen or bathroom with outdated hardware, don’t let these cosmetic features be a deciding factor. “Updating your bathrooms and kitchens with new hardware, like door handles, switch plate covers, vent covers, cabinet knobs and pulls, towel racks and wall hooks, only require a traditional screwdriver, and the effects can really refresh a space,” says Sassano.


Crystal chandeliers are all the rage right now, followed by pendant lights. But while they’re fancy, you can choose from a dizzying array of these and other types of lights for just $100 to $200. So take the time you would spend admiring the light fixture to examine the electrical wiring behind it.


Don’t be swayed by a beautiful light fixture. Image: Rugo Raff LTD

Crown molding

Crown molding, chair railing, and other types of millwork add architectural detail to a home, but they shouldn’t add to the price you’re willing to pay for the home. At the time of publication, one home improvement store was advertising 3 feet of crown molding for $13.97. You can even use paint to make one-piece molding look like three-piece molding. This is one example of how some cosmetic features may not be what they appear.

Here’s another example: “A lot of builders will use MDF, or medium density fiberboard, but that material doesn’t last very long,” according to Seth Argo, president of Nashville-based luxury custom home developer Focus Builders. “It’s also not as smooth as higher-quality alternatives and it  doesn’t allow for staining, though you can paint it,” he adds.

Crown molding

Crown molding provides architectural detail, but you can add it yourself. Image: Jane Lockhart Interior Design

Garage doors

“Fancy garage doors look great and add a sense of luxury, but don’t cost much,” notes Blackman. In fact, he says it’s the #1 value add component for increasing the sales price, whether it’s wood or painted to look like real wood. That’s great news for sellers, and it’s need-to-know information for buyers.

Garage doors

You can mimic the look of real wood on garage doors. Image: Affordable Door

Custom kitchen cabinets

Custom kitchen cabinets in the home you’re considering may not even be custom kitchen cabinets. “You might think you’re getting custom cabinetry, but they’re really factory cabinets,” warns Argo. He says it’s standard for the majority of builders to use factory cabinets. “Some of these cabinets might look nice from a distance, but they’re actually mass-produced for cheap and then sold locally as custom cabinets.” He recommends feeling the material of the cabinet and hardware to tell the difference.

But, suppose the house has old, outdated cabinets? Sassano says that replacing them can be costly. “As long as the cabinets are in good shape, new doors, new hardware or a fresh coat of paint can make them look like new,” he adds. Again, it’s the underlying quality of a home’s features versus the style or cosmetic features you should consider.

Custom kitchen cabinets

Cabinets shouldn’t be a deal-breaker when considering a house. Image: Martha O’Hara


If the house is beautifully painted, Machado warns against being swayed by it. “Although a freshly painted bright room is immediately appealing, walls may be marked up in a few months,” he says. “You can also get a brand-new coat in your choice of color at minimum cost.” He warns that wall paint degrades quickly and says it doesn’t really add significant value to the property.

“In fact, fresh paint on basement floors and walls could be masking issues below the surface,” according to Lance Marrs, principal broker at Living Room Realty in Portland Oregon. “Even with fresh paint, a good nose can sniff out potential moisture issues not clearly visible to the eye,” he explains. He recommends having your home inspector check for signs of water issues.


Paint is the most inexpensive way to change a home’s appearance. Image: Michael Abrams Interiors


There are two reasons why you shouldn’t be swayed by the staging. “The staging will be gone at move-in, unless the offer is to include all the furniture and other items, which is sometimes possible, to be sure,” says Michael Hausam of The Hausam Group at Shore Capital in Irvine, CA.

He also adds that a perfectly staged home is almost impossible to evaluate objectively.


Size and functionality are more important than how the room is staged. Image: Merigo Design

What you should look for in a home

So, what should you consider when buying a home? “Major items such as the roof, heating and cooling systems, patios, pools, electrical, and full green lawns are expensive and time-consuming to install or replace,” says Muchado. “Big ticket items add real property value and should be factored in to your decision and your offer,” he advises.

Hausman recommends evaluating and rating the home in terms of its benefits rather than cosmetic features.  “Focusing on questions like ‘Can I picture myself entertaining my friends in this kitchen/backyard/living room?’ or ‘Is this home a relative bargain?’ can help you look past a particularly appealing staging job to determine if the house is really for you.” Just remember to focus on the the home itself and not the easy-to-replace cosmetic features to make sure you find the right home.

What you should look for

A house with a pool, outdoor lounging area and separate living quarters is worth the extra money. Image: ShubinDonaldson 

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5 Minimalist Holiday Decorating Ideas

With the holidays coming, you probably have enough on your plate. Between sending cards, shopping for gifts, cooking large meals and entertaining guests, it can get to be a lot this time of year. One way to simplify your holidays is to go for some minimalist home decorating. With a few key design principles and ideas, you can have your home decorated with as few as one or two large focal point items. Other ideas rely on smaller accent items that are easy to place in the home. Take a look below for several minimalist holiday decorating ideas.

Minimalistic Holiday Decorating Large Ornaments

Ornaments of all kinds are an easy way to add festive cheer. Image: Cortney Bishop Design

Minimalist rafter ornaments

If you have exposed rafters in your space, hanging larger ornaments from them is a great way to get some easy holiday spirit into your space. This works especially well in a rustic chic design, like the space above. The ornaments are a wonderful festive accent and hanging them from ribbon looks simple and traditional. They also go well with the oversized red ornaments on the tree.

Even if you don’t have exposed rafters, you might think about this easy idea in other types of spaces. For instance, you could place a larger ornament in the middle of a wreath. You could arrange large ornaments in clear vases. You might also consider hanging them from the pull chains on ceiling fans. Any way you incorporate them, ornaments add an easy festive cheer that works as a great holiday accent.

Minimalistic Holiday Decorating Color Wreaths

Subtle wreaths can match the existing color scheme in the room, leading to less decorating effort. Image: AMR Design

Minimalist holiday decorating with subtle accent hangings

Another idea is to simply hang some accent wreaths in the space. Wide red fabric for hanging them adds some festive color. This is a great idea if you have a certain accent color in your space, like in the photo above. In that case, you can match the fabric the wreaths hang from to whatever accent color is in your space. This gives you a festive look and keeps to the overall style of the room.

Part of going minimalist for the holidays is to simply add accents to the room. Since you’re using fewer holiday items, you will not be able to overpower the usual style of the room. You simply want to add a bit of festive flair to the style you already have in the space. Another good example of this principle is the festive-themed wall hangings next to the window in the photo above. They keep to the red accent color that’s already in the room, but the holiday sayings add a festive look.

Minimalistic Holiday Decorating Mantel Garland

A larger garland makes a strong focal point. Image: Regina Gust Luxe Seasonal and Floral Décor

Colorful garland

Another key principle for minimalist holiday decorating is to find a piece that works as the focal point. As an example, the garland in the photo above is suitably large enough to stand on its own. Because it hangs from the mantel, it also takes advantage of the fact that the mantel is already a natural focal point in a room. The garland doesn’t have to work to draw attention away from natural focal areas.

With this idea, you can either hang the garland alone or find other subtle ways to add festive cheer. For instance, the ornaments in the tray on the coffee table and in the vases next to the fireplace are nice additional accents.

Minimalistic Holiday Decorating Branch Design

Go for branches over a traditional tree for a stark, minimalist look. Image: Carousel Media

Getting creative with branches

If you really want to go stark and creative with your minimalist holiday decorating, you might think about substituting your Christmas tree with a branch, like in the photo above.To make it festive, a garland and some ornaments hang from the branch. A neutral-colored present even sits underneath.

You might be wondering why anyone would possibly want a branch instead of a full evergreen tree. For starters, the stark look of the branch immediately gives a sense of minimalism. It’s a creative idea that works well in unconventional, artsy home designs. The neutral tone to the branch also helps it fit in with a neutral color scheme, meaning you don’t have to play with color too much. And a natural texture like a branch works well in rustic and country-themed homes, too.

Minimalistic Holiday Decorating Twig Decorations

Twig decorations are a classy, subtle idea that fit just about anywhere. Image: GreenCraft Associates

Subtle twig displays

If you’re looking for minimalistic holiday decorating ideas for your outdoor displays, the photo above shows how some twig designs can work wonders for keeping things simple. The twig reindeer set an immediate festive tone. The twig balls help add a playful style. However, the neutral color and natural texture of the twigs help the look stay minimalist.

You could even put some white holiday lights around the balls and reindeer to light them at night. Going for white lights keeps the look classy and minimalist. The trees in the photo are actually faux Christmas trees with lights on them. The stands are buried out of view.

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Get a Nautical Holiday Theme Using Blue and White

If you want to go for a Christmas color scheme that isn’t the traditional red and green, the second most popular option on the list is a cool blue and white scheme. The icy blue and the snowy white go well with the tones of winter. One way to have a blue and white Christmas is to go with a nautical holiday theme.

Most nautical themes make use of blue colors to match the sea, so a blue and white Christmas goes great with nautical decor. Whether you have a nautical theme in your home now or you’re planning one in the future, take a look below to see how to make seasonal decorating work with this popular home style.

Holiday Nautical Theme Oars on Wall

Hanging oars on the walls gives an instant nautical feel. Image: Robeson Design

Blue and White Tree with Oars

The photo above shows how well a basic tree with blue and white colors pairs with a nautical theme in the living room. The blue on the tree matches the blue tones in the ocean painting on the wall. The white tones on the tree also match the white sands in the painting.

This photo also shows how easy it is to get a nautical theme in your home if you’re thinking of trying it out. By placing a simple painting with a water theme under some wall-mounted oars, you have an instant oceanic look. And that can go great with your blue and white Christmas.

Holiday Nautical Theme Minimal Tree

Go subtle with collage wall art that has water themes. Image: Home At Last Interiors

White Tree and Nautical Art

Another idea for a nautical holiday theme is to go a little more modern and subtle. In the photo above, you can see how a simple white tree with blue ornaments makes an easy, minimalistic blue and white Christmas. The ornaments also match the aqua blue candle on the table and the blue throw pillow.

What gives this space a distinct nautical feel is the wall art. Part of the collage has a fish and there’s a sign pointing to a beach. The beach sign matches the other blue elements in the room. By choosing collage-style wall art with some water elements like in the photo above, you can easily create a subtle beach or water theme.

Holiday Nautical Theme Shells on Tree

Seashells make wonderful additions to a Christmas tree. Image: At Home

Seasonal Seashells

The photo above is one of our favorite ideas for a nautical holiday theme. It incorporates blue seashells right onto the tree itself, making your Christmas tree a natural part of the nautical home theme. If you look closely, there are even textures that look like coral, as well as ships and a life preserver on the tree.

The tree goes well with little wall accents like the nautical wreath and the seashell mirror frame. The throw pillow on the chair also has a fish theme. And then there are the “NOEL” and “JOY” pieces on the table with sand dollars as the Os. It goes to show how you can get a nautical holiday theme with some easy decor choices.

Holiday Nautical Theme Trailer Diorama

Create a feeling of vacations near the water with a conceptual holiday diorama. Image: Jamie Merida


The photo above is an interesting idea for a nautical holiday theme on a porch. The compass on the wall and the lantern on the table already give a nautical look. An evergreen wreath around the lantern gives an instant holiday feel.

But the real showstopper is the interesting diorama under the compass. The small trees and little holiday trailer give a look of holidays spent at the lake for some ice fishing. The white snow, trailer and trees combine well with the blue in the windows of the trailer, too. It even matches the white and blue-gray on the trim and siding of the home.

Holiday Nautical Theme White Tree

A tree with white decorations can fit with a blue and white nautical theme. Image: Jamie Merida

White Tree for a Nautical Holiday Theme

You could also try just going for a tree with white decorations since those are easier to find (not all stores carry blue and white Christmas themes). By adding some simple white decorations to a regular green tree, you can help it fit in with a blue and white nautical theme. If you have enough blue in the rest of the space, like the blue ship painting and upholstery in the photo above, you’ll naturally end up with a blue and white Christmas.

On the mantel, you can also see how natural evergreen fits around nautical elements like the lighthouse lantern and netting. Again, it just goes to show how surprisingly well nautical items fit with Christmas decorations.

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Freshome Holiday Gift Guide: Crafty Boho-Chic Gifts For The Etsy Lover

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. 

Etsy has a wonderful collection of home goods and gifts. But many are one-of-a-kind and go fast. If you’re shopping for someone who loves objects that look handcrafted and natural, check out these boho-chic gifts for the Etsy lover.

boho chic gifts

1. Blue Agate Coasters (Set Of 4) at Amazon, $28

boho chic gifts

These natural coasters make beautiful art objects when not in use.

2. Green Owl Vases at Pier 1, $10 – $20

bohemian gift ideas

Whimsical owl vases in one of the most popular colors of the year: sage.

3. Amped Fleece Throw Blanket at Urban Outfitters, $49

boho chic gift ideas

This fleece throw is soft, inviting and chunky in texture. Plus, the color works well with nearly any decor.

4. Opalhouse Diamond Rattan Pendant at Target, $70

boho chic gift ideas for the home

This easy-to-install pendant light adds a modern bohemian look to any space.

5. Olivewood 2-Piece Salad Serving Set at Crate & Barrel, $25

bohemian gifts

Each set of handmade, eco-friendly olive wood salad servers is one of a kind.

6. Water Hyacinth Placemat at Pier 1, $8 each

boho chic gifts

This placement is lightweight and versatile. Use it at your table setting, as a centerpiece or even hang it on the wall.

7. Tamsin Wall Hanging at Anthropologie, $68

gifts for etsy lovers

This handwoven tapestry adds a global bohemian vibe to any room.

8. Charest Chunky Knitted Throw at Wayfair, $100

bohemian gift ideas

This chunky throw would make a wonderful Christmas gift for cold winter nights.

9. Hanging Glass Terrarium at Crate & Barrel, $30

natural gift ideas

A hanging glass terrarium with a no-maintenance faux succulent arrangement inside can be hung in a corner or window.

10. Janel Foo Glassworks Modern Geo Suncatcher at West Elm, $54 to $88

boho chic gift ideas

These handcrafted stained glass suncatchers work well on a wall or, better yet, hanging in a sunny window.

11. Opalhouse Decorative Natural Basket at Target, $20

natural gift ideas for the home

This handmade, natural fiber basket can be used for many purposes.

12. Papetal Floral Plate at Anthropologie, $16

These unique, hand-painted plates have a zen feel.

13. Opalhouse Round Rattan Mirror at Target, $50

boho chic gifts for the home

Rattan is one of the best-selling materials on Etsy and this rattan mirror would work well in nearly any setting.

14. Opalhouse Macrame Velvet Throw Pillow at Target, $30

bohemian gift ideas

Luxurious velvet and macrame fringe add an artisanal, bohemian vibe to this throw pillow.

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Here’s How To Light A Christmas Tree Like A Pro – In 10 Steps

If you look at the most beautiful Christmas tree displays, you’ll notice the trees are lit to the nines. Designers and visual display experts know that loads of lighting is what makes a Christmas tree magical. You’re about to get a crash course on how to light a Christmas tree in 10 simple steps. Your tree will never look better.

1. Match your light cables to the color of the tree

how to light a christmas tree

Homeowners used white light cords to hide in the silvery grey tree. Image: Jennifer M. Ramos

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but many people don’t think about it. Have a flocked white tree? Go with a white cord. Traditional green pine? Use green cord or cable. Your tree will look far more magical when it looks like the sparkles just float.

2. Use more lights than you think you need

how to light a Christmas tree

This stunning tree is all lights and no ornaments. Image: Rikki Snyder

The Christmas trees you see on TV and in magazines look magical because they are dazzling. When lighting your tree, more is more. LED lights are safer – they don’t heat up like traditional lights – plus they tend to last longer and cost less to run. And nowadays, LEDs are fairly inexpensive, making them worth the upgrade.

As a general rule of thumb for how many lights you’ll want to use, get two to three 100-light sets for every foot of your tree’s height.

3. Check your lights BEFORE you hang them

One of the most common (and annoying) mistakes is to string your lights on the tree only to discover some don’t work. Lay your lights out on the floor or a table, plug them in and check them before you hang them.

4. Use a special tree light extension cord to make life easier

how to light your Christmas tree

The Woods 9-outlet extension cord for Christmas trees is only $8 on Amazon and will make lighting your tree easier.

If you have several strands of lights to work with, pick up a 9-outlet Christmas tree cord. String it up along the trunk of the tree with outlets at the bottom, center and top of the tree. Using this trick saves you from having to run all your plugs to the bottom of the tree.

5. Put your lights on a timer

christmas tree lighting ideas

A timer will let you enjoy the glow of the tree longer and will turn the lights off automatically when everyone’s in bed. Image: Balsam Hill

A simple timer helps you enjoy your tree more without having to keep your tree on at all hours. Set which times you’ll be coming and going and enjoy waking up in the morning or coming home from work to your beautifully lit tree.

6. Focus on lighting your tree in two places

christmas tree lighting tips

Colorful lights add a whimsical look to your Christmas tree. Image: Unexpected Interiors

Most people string their lights along the outer branches. This works well, but the inside of the tree will appear dark. Consider lighting the inside of the tree by stringing lights close to the trunk to cast an outward glow.

For a cool light display, consider lighting the trunk in white and the branches in color. Keep tabs on which plug powers the sections so you can light each section separately. Wait ’til you see how cool your tree will look late at night if you only power the trunk lights.

7. String your tree with the lights plugged in

 secrets to lighting a christmas tree

When you light your tree, leave the lights on and step back regularly to look for dark spots. Image: Llama Group

If you’re working with LED lights that don’t heat up, light them up before you hang them. It will help you see how the lights are looking as you go. Step back now and then, squint your eyes to assess how you’re spacing the lights out, find dark spots and adjust as you go.

8. String your lights vertically and in sections

how to light a christmas tree

Focus on lighting small sections of your tree one at a time. Image: Regina Gust

Most people spiral their lights around the Christmas tree horizontally in circles until they get to the top. The lights often end up too close to the trunk, with most of the twinkly glow getting lost inside the tree.

Visualize your tree in three sections: top, middle and bottom. Run lights up and down each section. Your lights will sparkle more and will be easier to remove later. As you run your lights vertically, wrap around branches and slightly zig-zag your lights so you don’t get an obvious line.

9. Strategically place your ornaments

Christmas tree lighting ideas

Place reflective ornaments near and behind the lights to reflect the glow. Image: Robeson Design

To create the best Christmas tree glow, hang your shiniest ornaments deeper in the tree and next to a light bulb to reflect the tree lights back out.

10. Don’t skimp on the bottom of the tree

how to light your christmas tree right

Light the bottom of the tree well enough to showcase presents and floor ornaments. Image: Lorde Interior Design

Use plenty of lights underneath the lowest branches to create a downward glow that highlights your nativity scene, presents and more.

Now that you know how to light a Christmas tree like a pro, let us know how your tree looks and which tip helped you the most.

The post Here’s How To Light A Christmas Tree Like A Pro – In 10 Steps appeared first on Freshome.com.

25 Ideas for Christmas Decorations for Stairs

You’ve probably got the basics down on how to dress up your porch, decorate your Christmas tree and set your table for the holidays. If you live in a two-story home or loft, decorating your stairs for Christmas should also be on your list. It’s easier than you think and makes a huge impact.

We’ve got 25 decorating ideas featuring creative Christmas decorations for stairs to bling out your banister this holiday season.

How to add Christmas decorations for stairs

Depending on the weight and size of your Christmas decorations, you may need double stick tape, wire, hooks, clear fishing line and twist ties to attach your ornaments. Choose supplies that blend in with your banister and decorations.

The secret to adding Christmas decorations for stairs is layering.

Start by twisting garland around the banister and continue adding some of these to the anchored garland:

  • lights
  • Christmas tree ornaments
  • monogram letters
  • candy
  • ribbon and more
christmas decorations for stairs

Wind garland on your stairs to create a sturdy base for hanging the rest of your Christmas ornaments. Image: Anna Mackie

christmas decorations for stairs

A simple arrangement of florals, garland and ribbon at the base of your banister can be all you need to to decorate your stairs. Image: Traditional Home Magazine

Add Christmas garland to your stairs

Garland should be the base of your Christmas decorations for stairs. You can use fresh garland or artificial, wired garland to get the look. Drape or twist the garland up the stair railing and add other elements like ornaments, ribbon or lights to complete the look.

christmas decorations for stairs

Freshly cut, live garland hung on the banister is both fragrant and beautiful. Image: Lisa Gabrielson

christmas decorations for banister

To get this look, add other rustic, natural elements to your stair garland like Eucalyptus leaves, pinecones, burlap and linen ribbon. Image: Martha Stewart

christmas decorations for banister

Besides the natural garland on the banister, paper ornaments are hung on the wall to replicate the look of snowflakes. Image: Martha Stewart

christmas decorations for stairs

A simple holiday look featuring garland, lights, small ornaments and a red ribbon to complete it. Image: D For Design

christmas decorations for banister

For the ultimate Christmas staircase, generous amounts of lightly-flocked garland are strung with lights, gold ribbon and tree ornaments. Image: Twenty Two Fifty Interiors

Decorating with ribbon on your stairs for Christmas

Ribbon is a fast, easy way to add some holiday cheer to your stairs. Choose large ribbon with wiring so that you can easily mold the ribbon. Take a close look at these Christmas decorating ideas featuring ribbon.

christmas decorations for stairs

A mesh ribbon with silver, sparkly accents was layered over ordinary green garland. Tie in the whole look by adding color-coordinated decor like wall art, floor-standing ornaments and vases. Image: Rikki Snyder

christmas decorations for stairs

Put a big red, plaid bow as the finishing touch to your completed Christmas decorations for stairs. Image: D For Design

christmas decorations for stairs

Layer different colors and textures of ribbons on your stairs for an elegant Christmas setting. Image: Twenty Two Fifty Interiors

christmas decorations for banister

The gold ribbon strung through the banister adds a festive Christmas holiday look to this staircase. Image: Tobi Fairley

Christmas decorations for stairs using lights and candles

Decorating with string lights and candles adds a warm, homey feel to your home for the holidays. If a power outlet is not nearby, or you’re worried about having candles near kids or pets, choose battery-operated LED string lights or faux LED candles.

christmas decorations for banister

A combination of string lights and candles light the stairwell of this Nordic Christmas setting. Image: My Scandinavian Home

christmas decorations for banister

Decorative candle holders are placed on each step to create a warm glow. To keep them from falling, you can also place a small amount of Blu-Tack or putty under each candleholder. Image: Lowes

christmas decorations for banister

Hang lights up and down your stair railing like a waterfall to create a Christmas Wonderland effect. Image: HGTV

christmas decorations for banister

Wind lights around your garland before hanging them on the rails to make decorating your stairs for Christmas easier. Image: On Sutton Place

Creative Christmas decorations for stairs

Want to do something unexpected? Decorate your stairs for the holidays with non-Christmas objects like the ideas below. This is a great option if you’re crafty or want to involve the kids in creating ornaments to hang around the house.

christmas decorations for banister

Paper pinwheels made with newspaper and decorative paper are hung with simple branch garland on the stairs. Berry twigs in a vase also complete the look. Image: Ballard Designs

christmas decorations for banister

Visit your local party supply store for unique supplies you can use to decorate with. These big paper pompoms are lightweight and add a one-of-a-kind look to your stairs. Image: HGTV 

Christmas decorations for stairs featuring stockings

If you don’t have a fireplace mantel to hang your stockings, you can also hang them on your stairwell!

christmas decorations for banister

The striped stockings add a fun Holiday vibe to the small living room. Image: Magnolia Home

christmas decorations for banister

Add ribbon and tree ornaments in colors that coordinate with your stockings to complete your banister decorating for Christmas. Image: Lowes

Advent calendar Christmas decorating ideas for your banister

The kids will love checking the stairs for their daily treats from a stairwell Advent calendar. You’ll need a stocking, basket or holder for the 25 days of Christmas and goodies to put inside.

christmas decorations for banister

For a rustic, country look, choose small copper buckets and add a small card featuring the day of the month. Image: Ideal Home

christmas decorations for banister

Small baskets or mugs filled with treats can be labeled with the day of the month or the person they’re for. Image: Good Housekeeping

Christmas tree ornaments to decorate your stairs

Pull together your tree and the rest of your decorations by hanging some of your ornaments like candy canes, balls or snowflakes on your banister.

christmas decorations for banister

Mid-Century Modern Christmas decorating featuring garland with vintage glass ball ornaments and stars. Image: D For Design

christmas decorations for banister

Use oversized tree ornaments, hung with colorful ribbon, to decorate your stairs and the wall. Image: Live Laugh Love

Pairs of Christmas ornaments, hung at different heights using ribbon, add a great finishing touch to this banister. Image: Lowes

christmas decorations for banister

Nordic-Style paper snowflakes in different shapes and sizes are attached on the stairs for a modern, white Christmas. Image: Ideal Home

Have fun decorating your stairs for the holidays with these Christmas decoration for stairs ideas. Don’t stop at the railings – you can also add ornaments and decor to the edges of the stairs, hang decorations on the walls and create a setting at the landing. You’ll enjoy the look every day you go up and down the stairs this Christmas season.

The post 25 Ideas for Christmas Decorations for Stairs appeared first on Freshome.com.

Artist Heather Gauthier Makes Art of Beauty and Wildlife

San Antonio artist Heather Gauthier captures the beauty and whimsy of our love of animals. Photo courtesy of Heather Gauthier

Artist Heather Gauthier doesn’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t creating things. From her childhood days as an imaginative, home-schooled “weirdo” growing up in Lubbock, Texas to her early married life living in South Africa, Gauthier has been sketching and painting scenes of beauty and wildlife her entire life.

“There wasn’t much to do or see in Lubbock, the flattest, ugliest, cowiest town in West Texas. It meant my inner life was a lot richer,” Gauthier says. Both she and her brother are artists. She attributes their artistry to the fact that both of them had to rely on their imaginations for stimulation.

Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder

A dining room is illuminated with a piece of art from artist Heather Gauthier. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Though she took art classes briefly at Texas Tech (“I left running and shrieking for the hills, far, far away from Lubbock”), Gauthier has mostly been self-taught. Years of practice helped her hone her craft and find her voice as an artist. Her goal is to make art that is beautiful and that makes people happy. With pieces often featuring flora and fauna in exploding colors, Gauthier creates pictures that have a whimsical depiction of life and beauty.

“I am all about beauty. I create art that depicts a reality I wish was real,” she says.

Lions, tigers and bears, along with hippos, zebras and birds of every variety, are often the subjects of Gauthier’s art. Though the animals themselves are gorgeous and glorious and regal, Gauthier often lightens the mood of the painting by adding beautiful bouquets of flowers, hats, beads and other adornments on her subjects. Her art is playful and done with a sense of humor, despite her subject matters being serious creatures.

“I take pride in my work but I can’t take myself too seriously,” she says.

Playing the Artist Card

A client is dressed in black and white to complement her Heather Gauthier original. Photo courtesy of artist Heather Gauthier.

Asked what the best thing about being an artist is, Gauthier responds with “my Artist Card.”

“Why am I wearing hot dogs in my hair? Artist. Why does my house look like multiple factory explosions? Artist. Why can I never remember to sign my kids’ homework? Artist.”

Her offbeat sense of humor resonates with a particular audience and Gauthier has grown a following particularly in San Antonio, her current home base, along with a few other cities like Napa and Aspen. However, she says that New Orleans is her “artistic mothership” and it is there that she has been the most successful.

“People get me there and I deeply appreciate it. I paint the things I do for all the same reasons that I love New Orleans,” says Gauthier. Her work can be found at Gallery Orange on Royal Street in the French Quarter.

“I think the unusual and unique fun spirit of her work fits well into Nola, plus her love for anything flowery, joie de vivre and love of food all resonate with people here,” says Tracy Gielbert of Gallery Orange.

Work and Life Balance

Artist Heather Gauthier has a collection of homewares for sale on her website. Photo courtesy of Heather Gauthier.

Speaking of fitting, as a mother of two young children, Gauthier balances being a parent and an artist and paints in great bursts when her schedule allows. Sometimes, she says, she’ll let her kids pass some time in front of the television and work at a furious pace while they’re otherwise engaged. Often, she paints once they’ve headed off to bed. With school back in session, Gauthier plans to spend more time in her studio and on her easel.

The fall of 2018 will be a busy time for the adventure-seeking traveler. She’s working on a book cover for Harper Collins, a line of china and home linens and larger shows in San Antonio and New Orleans. Despite clocking in many hours painting, Gauthier says one of her goals this year is to take a little more time to just relax and ease up on her pace.

“I really want to chill some more this year,” she says. Gauthier has, to date, packed her schedule with events, launches and lots more painting. Her love for the creative process and painting means she will continue to produce works that will entice fans to keep buying her art – and will undoubtedly keep her busy.

The post Artist Heather Gauthier Makes Art of Beauty and Wildlife appeared first on Freshome.com.

Freshome Gift Guide: Gift Exchange Or Secret Santa Gifts Under $20

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. 

Need some Secret Santa gifts under $20 that nearly anyone would appreciate? Shopping for these types of items can be a challenge, especially when you’re gift exchanging at the office with coworkers you don’t know well. We’ve found a great selection of small and unique gifts to help.The best part is, all of these gift exchange or White Elephant gift ideas cost $20 or less.

Secret Santa gifts under $20

1. Gold Gnome Snow Globe

white elephant gifts AND gnomes

Gnomes have a big cult following, and this gold one with gold snow may be a very lucky Secret Santa gift for the recipient. Gold Gnome Snow Globe at CB2, $20.

2. Wash Appetizer Plates

Secret Santa Gifts under $10

These Asian-inspired appetizer plates can be used as dishes, trays, candle holders or catch-alls. Mix and match as many as the Secret Santa rules allow for. Wash Appetizer Plates at CB2, $3.50 each.

3. Blackcard Playing Cards

gift ideas under $10

These sleek and modern jet black playing cards would be well appreciated by a design lover. Blackcard Playing Cards at CB2, $10.

4. 5-Minute Turquoise Hourglass

secret santa gifts under $10

This small hourglass is not only decorative, it can mark a short, 5-minute break or task. 5-Minute Turquoise Hourglass at CB2, $5.

5. Inlay Wood Black And White Coasters (set of 4)

secret santa gifts under $10 for the home

A stunning geometric coaster set that can also double as a candle holder. Inlay Wood Black and White Coasters (set of 4) at CB2, $10.

6. Small Natural Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamp

gift ideas under $20

Himalayan salt lamps are very popular because the salt has ionic and purifying properties. No two are alike and make great Secret Santa gifts. Small Natural Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamp at Bed Bath & Beyond, $15.

7. Monogram Jewelry Boxes

christmas gift ideas under $20

A lovely porcelain box can work to hold office supplies, jewelry and other small items. Monogram Jewelry Boxes at Anthropologie, $14 each.

8. Self Watering Herb Pot

gift ideas under $20

These modern, self-watering pots are a good way to wall-mount and display an herb garden. Self Watering Herb Pot at Amazon, $20.

9. Betty Smoke Set of 6 Tea Light Candle Holders

secret santa gift ideas

These textured glass votive holders are a good way to create ambiance in any room setting. Betty Smoke Set of 6 Tea Light Candle Holders at CB2, $18.

10. 6-Pocket Armrest Organizer with Tray Top

secret santa gift ideas under $10

Who wouldn’t appreciate a sofa or armchair caddy that fits over nearly any arm? 6-Pocket Armrest Organizer with Tray Top at Bed Bath & Beyond, $10.

11. Buffalo Check Coasters (set of 8)

gift exchange ideas

These fun coasters are a good way to break the ice when hosting a party. Who’s naughty and who’s nice? Buffalo Check Coasters (set of 8) at Crate and Barrel, $14.

12. Jones New York Gym Set Collection

secret santa gift ideas under $15

A simple black workout set includes a water bottle, shampoo and body wash and a microfiber towel. Jones New York Gym Set Collection at Bed Bath & Beyond, $13.

13. Felt Letter Board

secret santa gifts

This board can be wall hung or placed on the easel. The included letters can create custom messages, for a unique Secret Santa gift idea. Felt Letter Board at Amazon, $19.

14. Your Highness Iridescent Crown Bottle Stopper

small gift ideas

This iridescent glass wine stopper proclaims who’s the boss at any party. Your Highness Iridescent Crown Bottle Stopper at CB2, $12.

What are your favorite Secret Santa gifts? Let us know in the comments!

The post Freshome Gift Guide: Gift Exchange Or Secret Santa Gifts Under $20 appeared first on Freshome.com.