Decorate on the cheap for Christmas
With all the money spent on those gift boxes under the tree, it's best to think outside the box when decorating your home for the holidays. By using things from nature, recycling old household décor and more, you can become a seasonal recessionista. And you may even save enough to splurge on those day-after-Christmas sales for next year.
Here, home décor and eco experts offer their favorite tips for decorative savings:
Use branches, leaves
"I love to spray real tree leaves with a metallic finish of one's choice and place them on the fireplace mantle, tuck them into artificial greenery for a more realistic element, and especially place them in the boughs of the Christmas tree," says Jennifer Schweikert, of Just My Style by JMS, LLC.
Magnolia leaves are beautiful painted or left natural, because they contrast nicely with the needles of the pine varieties, but any large leaf will work well, Schweikert says.
Use glass containers
Gather glass containers from around the house and group them on a tabletop. You can use a tray to anchor the arrangement and give it a little more presence, says Lorrie Williams, president of Fluff Your Stuff Interior ReDesign. Use varied heights, shapes and sizes of containers, and mix in some mismatched candles. For a more natural look, use rustic glassware such as mason jars and vintage milk bottles, and surround white pillar candles or tea lights with small pine cones, nuts, Christmas potpourri and cranberries, Williams says. For a little more glitz, use crystal or footed apothecary jars with small Christmas balls in colors that compliment your holiday design plan.
Make a quilt
A really inexpensive way to decorate for the season is to make a holiday quilt or table runner by cutting up fabrics or clothes you already have, says Maria Peagler, quilter and author of "Color Mastery: 10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts."
"You can do the same thing with old table linens, pillows, or whatever you have around the house that would make a nice holiday table runner ? much easier than an entire quilt," Peagler says.
Make napkin rings
Make festive napkin rings by using the leftover cardboard tubes from paper towels or toilet tissue, says Ceil Petrucelli of Ceil Petrucelli Interiors in Bennington, VT. The tubes can be cut into 1-to 1 1/2-inch rings, wrapped or covered with ribbon, then decorated with vintage costume jewelry such as earrings or pins that can be found at area flea markets or consignment shops. For a more country look, she suggests using old buttons, pieces of leftover craft items and more.
Recycle that tree
Instead of buying a traditional holiday tree this year, consider giving back to Mother Nature by buying a small potted holiday tree that you can plant in your yard or donate to a green space next spring, suggests Kim Carlson, eco-expert and founder of EarthSmart Consumer Certified. Boxwood trees and certain types of lily pillies are great options, and you can decorate these trees with pine cones and ribbon, Carlson says. For added flair, paint your pine cones silver and gold.