Our Favorite Holiday Decorating Ideas of All Time
Deck the Rails
In the Galveston, Texas, community of Beachtown, homeowners Carol and Michael Linn deck their deep, wraparound porches with a pine-and-magnolia garland. “We built this as a place to get away with our family,” says Carol. “We love combining the festive feel of the holidays with the relaxed mood at the beach.”
Shell it Out
We used premade shell garlands and dressed them up with winter citrus to create this sea-inspired stunner. The trios of oranges are topped with small bouquets of tropical leaves. The result? The most tropical swag ever for a merry holiday season by the sea.
In the guest bedroom of this tiny Maine cottage, the Christmas spirit is alive with mini wreaths hung with seaglass-blue ribbon, a tiny bedside tree, and a handmade sea star and shell rope garland hung from the antique bed.
Add Cozy Elements
A former customs house on the Chesapeake Bay gets a holiday spin, thanks to pops of bright red in the plaid throw and pillows and the family’s nutcracker collection displayed in the window.
Deck the Windows
Wreaths aren't just for the front door. This Connecticut family adorned their living room windows with small rings of greenery hung with metallic ribbon. They also brought in nautical pillows in punchy red to bring further holiday cheer to the space.
Have a White Christmas
A breakfast area gets a holiday finish with shell wreaths hung with pale blue ribbon.
Trim the Table
Mint is a fresh spin on holiday green and is perfect for celebrating at the coast. Keep the palette shore-inspired with a raffia runner, red stripes, and wine jugs filled with tropical leaves for an easy centerpiece.
Add a Touch of Tropical
Shades of sea foam green and pink mix for a tropical tree. Flamingo ornaments add a playful vibe, and a ribbon topper is an easy and pretty finish.
Deck the Door
Made with palm leaves, Israeli ruscus, and oranges, this pretty tropical wreath is a bright touch for a holiday door, especially one in a pretty shade like this one. No time to put together a hand-made wreath? Here are the store-bought ones we're loving this season.
Show Off Your Tree
Position your tree in a spot where it can be admired indoors and out. If the weather isn’t too chilly, you can take your holiday party outside and still maintain a festive atmosphere.
Let the kids decorate their own space—a white tree becomes the perfect place for funky, homemade ornaments, and knitted sea-themed stockings feel right at home.
Raise the Bar
A built-in cupboard opens to reveal a lively geometric print-backed bar that’s decked with a simple boxwood garland and a wreath of iridescent abalone shells.
Add Charm to Kids' Rooms
In this West Palm Beach, Florida, home, the Christmas spirit is infused into every space, including the daughter's happy pink bedroom. A simple "Merry Christmas" banner adds punch, and a miniature tree and reindeer figurine on the bedside table enhance the cheer.
Take Decor Outdoors
A square boxwood wreath brings holiday cheer to an outdoor seating area. Bistro lights also add ambiance and can be left up all year long for that festive feeling.
Try a Beachy Tree
Painted shells, fishing floats and a woven topper make for a tree full of treasures. Use a woven basket in place of a traditional skirt for a coastal touch.
Bring in the Red
A simple tartan runner and a trio of poinsettias placed in mercury glass vases bring a pop of classic holiday color to this Connecticut dining room.
Turn a New Leaf
Add a festive spin to houseplants. This fiddle leaf fig tree gets a holiday makeover with just a few silver ornaments. Pretty boxwood wreaths hung with light blue ribbon echo the green theme.
Redefine Holiday Swag
When it comes to garland, think outside the box, especially in kid-centric spaces. Playful pompom garland in seafaring shades of periwinkle, turquoise, and white pops against the ivory window treatments in this Florida bunkroom. It feels especially festive during the holidays, but because it’s in sync with the room’s color palette, the garland feels whimsical and appropriate for the rest of the year, too. Plus, because it’s crafted from felt, the pompom garland is more kid-friendly than swags of boxwood or Frasier fir!
Bring in Beachy Colors
This pretty flocked tree takes its cues from its Inlet Beach, Florida, locale. The aqua glass globes and their pint-sized white counterparts mirror the crystalline waters and powdery sand just outside the window. A paper Polish star topper that’s reminiscent of a sea urchin adds to the tree’s beachy vibes.
Tee Up the Trees
At this white clapboard waterfront home on Belvedere Island—just north of San Francisco—homeowners Ginna and Derrek Milan deck the dock. In the winter, the family makes s’mores in the outdoor fireplace and curls up on the daybeds to admire the stunning view from the deck: sparkling waters of Richardson’s Bay and the purple-hued mountains beyond.
Let Your View Be the Star
This Maui dining room offers a front-row seat to the ocean, and the decor reflects the hues and natural vibe that's right outside. That's why simple touches, like the mini faux trees and pretty gifts wrapped in blue and white work so well here.
Mix Traditional & Tropical
A boxwood garland and beautiful aqua ribbon are the perfect way to liven up a staircase for Christmas.
Glass whale ornaments and yellow balls make for a pretty tree. Try a white tinsel table tree for easy decorating—no stand is required, and a pretty vase serves just as well.
Have Fun with Bedding
Give little holiday visitors a festive treat with striped bedding in Christmas colors and a cute stocking garland.
Ready, Set, Glow
Paper lanterns are easy to assemble and light up a dock, drive- or walkway, or beach path in style.
Use Holiday Accessories
Give your traditional decor the holiday treatment. Update everyday interiors with bright and cozy blankets, throw pillows in vibrant holiday hues and trees, and greenery studded with delicate starfish ornaments.
Go Au Naturel
Holiday decorating doesn't have to be all color, all the time, though. In this entryway, cute reindeer décor blends seamlessly with the dark wood chest, and echoes the natural feel of the driftwood mirror and basket for a calm, coastal feel.
Dazzle Up Your Dining Room
Forgo the traditional red and green and go glam this holiday. The owners of this West Palm Beach, Florida, home brought in shimmering holiday accents to their dining room table, which go perfectly with the white and soft green color palette.
Add Graphic Punch
Classic holiday colors look fabulous next to punchy nautical hues. Kick the festive atmosphere up a notch with candy red throw pillows, a red-striped rug, and adorable miniature potted Christmas trees.
Shift Traditional Shapes
Have fun with traditional holiday shapes when adding accents to modern decor. In this seaside home, square-shaped greenery replaces traditional round wreaths for an updated, modern look, while also drawing attention to the spectacular view.
Enhance Your Entrance
Greet guests in style! Try draping your entire front porch in lush, fragrant garlands and filling the area around the door with a scattering of decorative gifts. For a coastal twist, tuck tropical fruit into greenery.
Beautify Your Balcony
This lovely dried magnolia garland adds the perfect touch of holiday cheer to this tropical locale. Tip: Use dried or artificial decorations for warm-weather destinations, especially if your garland sits in direct sunlight.
This fabulous Florida outdoor living area gets the holiday treatment with a giant, decked-out Christmas tree and dozens of pool-lining metal lanterns. The sparkling light from the tree and the lanterns create a romantic, festive poolside atmosphere—perfect for holiday entertaining.
Try DIY Decorations
Use handmade decorations this holiday season. Drill tiny holes through medium-size shells (another good use for your beachcombing finds!) and string them on fishing line. For the mitten garland, simply cut craft felt into mitten shapes and use fishing line to hang.
Opt for Simple Holiday Style
Going for a vintage Christmas feel? In a more rustic space, try using a natural palette with just a few hits of glint, like this dining room’s simple pine and magnolia wreaths, classic white floral arrangement, and distressed silver candlesticks.
Make a Beautiful Banister
This homeowner dressed her foyer’s banister with a lush garland of festive pine branches and Christmas stockings. Tip: Mixed pine garlands are a great choice for transitional spaces, like hallways, back entrances, and stairways, because they’re generally less expensive than other garlands, such as boxwood or magnolia.
Fake a White Christmas
For an ultra-modern look, ditch the old-school green tree in favor of an all-white artificial tree.
Light the Way
Paper luminaries are an inexpensive way to add holiday spirit to a home’s exterior, as well as shed additional light on snowy walkways. These homeowners used hot glue to attach lightweight starfish and shells to heavy-duty craft paper bags. Filled with sand and a single votive, these luminaries create a glowing front entrance.
Set a Sea-Inspired Table
Put away grandma’s traditional china and opt instead for plates in fun coastal colors. To add a touch of coastal, spray starfish and pinecones with metallic silver paint and scatter them along the table. Tip: The pinecones double as place card holders.
Have a Blue Christmas
To update your tree’s swag, try a dressing it in a striking new color scheme, such as aqua and metallic. Glass balls and metallic ribbon are inexpensive replacements for your old-school green and red Christmas ornaments, and beachcombing finds (like this tree’s sprigs of dried coral and driftwood) can be tucked between branches to create a fuller effect.
Dress Your Table
Keep things easy. We absolutely love the metallic ornaments hung from this home’s dining room chandelier, as well as the homeowner’s creative starfish-themed centerpiece. Tip: For a creative and useful party gift, consider draping a bright wool scarf across the back of each chair.
Design a Coastal Theme
Wrap It Up
To give your gifts a nautical look, forgo the traditional red and green wrapping paper in favor of print paper that looks like old-school nautical maps. To make printed paper stand out under the tree, pair with less-expensive solid-colored papers in metallic gold and soft blues. Give all your gifts a finished look by tying bows made of wide satin ribbon.
Deck the Mantel
This dramatic display shimmers with holiday style. Using real or artificial paperwhite narcissus, secure plants in shiny galvanized tins and fill the top of each pot with textural Spanish moss. Display with gauzy fabric, glitter-dipped pinecones, and metallic ornaments to create an elegant, attention-grabbing display.
Plant Your Tree
Try placing a miniature potted Christmas tree next to your front entrance. Guests will be ready for your festive holiday get-together before they even step inside!