Budget Christmas decorating ideas for a high-impact, low-cost Christmas

All the decorating loop holes for your Christmas budgeting needs
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  • If you’re looking for budget Christmas decorating ideas, then you’ve come to the right place. Budget ideas have never been more needed.

    Whether you disagree with spending so much on festive accessories or you’re just plain broke – for all of the above, we have a suitable budget answer. Who says you have to spend big to see Christmas through in style.

    Want more festive inspiration? Read Christmas decorating ideas to celebrate the season in style

    Budget Christmas decorating ideas

    Decorating your home for Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank. Follow our purse-friendly designs this year for easy updates that are on budget (but look far from it!).

    1. Wrap your front door with ribbon

    Ribbon wrapped Christmas front door

    Image credit: Max Attenborough

    Make an entrance! All you need to follow this simple but highly-effect decorating trend is a reel of ribbon. Simply cross two lengths of ribbon across the door, one smaller strip horizontally across and a full-length vertical piece. To save money on how much ribbon is required – simply measure to the top of the door and discreetly secure the ribbon with drawing pins . The pins will be out of view when the door is closed. It’s easy to do and easy to remove, once the season is over.

    For added flourish adding a floral wreath is a beautiful touch, but if the budget doesn’t stretch you could simply tie the ribbon in a statement bow. To make a bow you will need to allow for extra meterage.

    2. Suspend a decorative branch

    Christmas dining table in green

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    This craft idea is very ‘of the moment’, as a unique way to add impact to a dining area. Simply hang a lightweight fallen branch for free and drape with natural foliage and a few light decorations to create a rustic centrepiece. But it’s not for the faint-hearted, as the branch has to be suspended from the ceiling above the dining table. You need to make sure this is done securely, nothing ruins a meal quite like falling branches!

    3. Fashion a captivating centrepiece for the table

    Bauble display

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    An impressive centrepiece needed cost the earth. Repurpose your cake stands to stack them on the table to add height and drama to the table. Dressed with leftover baubles and add dried fruit for a cheap decorative touch – plus they will help to add a festive scent to proceedings.

    4. Hang an artistic twig bauble display

    tree branch with decorations

    Image credit: Max Attenborough

    Who says baubles are only for Christmas trees? Branch out, quite literally, this year with an artistic twig display to add colour and festive decoration to a plain wall in the living room. Choose to coordinate with your tree scheme or use a different accent colour to embrace more than one seasonal trend.

    It works best above a sideboard or shelf, allowing the surface to house the vase containing the twigs – alongside additional paper decorations and foliage. Alternatively you could suspend the twig from an existing picture hook, using twine or a clear thread. The branch display would replace what was usually hanging in the space – a clear sign of a seasonal refresh.

    5. Forage for foliage to make a wreath

    Maxwell Attenborough

    Trees, wreaths, garlands, sprayed twigs – nature is cool at Christmas, and it’s free. Get your wellington boots on and get foraging for holly, pine cones, herbs, sprigs and twigs before getting home and twisting and turning them into botanical masterpieces. There is no reason why you can’t do Christmas on a budget!

    Above is a wreath from our Christmas shoot, fashioned with fragrant herbs, pretty baubles and decorative dried flowers. A cost effect way to dress a front door in style.

    6. Give a hall mirror a festive makeover with cards

    christmas card ideas 5

    Image credit: James Mitchell

    When decorating on a budget, Christmas cards from friends and family are your best friends. Transform your ordinary hallway mirror into a festive centrepiece by filling the fame with cards. This works brilliantly with window mirrors as shown above. Hang a few fairy lights over the mirror for some added glitz.

    7. Curate a Christmas display

    Christmas display

    Image credit: Max Attenborough

    Make the most of every surface to style a spectacular Christmas display. Use seasonal fruits to dress side tables, sideboards and even mantels to create a beautifully rich display, on a cheap budget. Generous vases filled with pomegranates are an easy decor detail that requires minimal effort for maximum style. Consider alternative seasonal fruits to suit your colour scheme, such as clementines.

    8. Wrap prop presents to add festive abundance

    Christmas advent calendar

    Image credit: Max Attenborough

    There’s no denying Christmas decor always looks all the more cheery once the presents start to arrive. What is they say, fake it till you make it? After years of shooting seasonal scenes the Ideal Home style team know only too well the difference prop fake presents can make. Beautifully wrapped boxes can go a long way to add a feeling of excitement to all Christmas decors.

    *Just be careful not to let the kids get over excited and open them – ruining the illusion, and most likely crying as a result of the empty contents.

    9. Plant a seasonal hanging basket

    Christmas hanging basket

    Image credit: Max Attenborough

    Go one better than hanging a wreath on front doors by planting seasonal hanging baskets. A blooming hanging basket with winter foliage will go a long way to cheer up the exterior. And not just for Christmas, seasonally planted baskets can add colour to front gardens even once the festive lights come down.

    10. Show off decorative stars

    Decorative star

    Image credit: Max Attenborough

    Simple paper decorations, especially large-scale stars can go a long way when it comes to decorating on a budget. Even more so if you can craft the stars yourself, using recycled materials. Hang the statement stars at the window to spread some festive cheer

    11. Dress the table with handmade crackers

    Homemade cracker on Christmas place setting

    Image credit: Max Attenborough

    This year why not make your own crackers to save on costs? To save on budget and waste, because both are much-needed at this time of the year. Plus handmade place settings make guests feel extra welcome. Simply place a treat inside a cardboard roll, wrap crepe paper or even fabric scraps around, then tie the ends with ribbon. You could even write your own jokes for inside, simply ask Google for the best cracker jokes.

    12. Make your own gift wrap

    Photo credit: Annie Sloan

    Keep the budget down by making your own gift wrap. Hand printed patterns create a beautiful authentic paper to add charm to your gifts. Slice a large potato in half and carefully score a festive motif. Cut away the potato on the outside of the scored section, so the shape is raised. Dip this side into a thin spread of paint (use the underside a tin lid as a palette), avoid making it too heavy otherwise it will be blot. Stamp onto a sheet of brown paper, or better still on the reverse of an upcycled sheet of paper.

    Stamp several times before re-coating with paint and repeat until the paper is covered. Leave to dry. Visit Annie Sloan, the home of chalk paint.

    13. Fashion trees for festive place settings

    Max Attenborough

    Creating a charming festive statement by dressing the table with mini trees as place settings. You can cheat this effect by making homemade mini trees. Simply take cuttings of branches from a real fir tree, and place them in a tealight votive. If you have a real tree as your main tree you can easily snip branches from the back, they won’t be missed.

    Add a further touch of personality by dressing the ‘trees’ with mini baubles, that are otherwise lost on the big tree.

    14. Stir creativity by upcycling food tins


    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Upcycle simple tin cans and turn them into twinkling lanterns. To create your own, start by peeling the labels off your cans and running them through the dishwasher for a shiny finish. Next, fill them with water and pop them in the freezer. Once frozen, draw a heart or star on paper and tape the sketch onto each tin. With a hammer and a nail, pierce the tin following the pattern (the ice inside will stop the tin denting).

    After thawing the tins, wash out them out and add a handle using aluminium wire. Finally, light a nightlight inside and line up two or three in a row for a homemade Christmas decoration with plenty of natural charm.

    15. Make your own fragrant fire lighters

    TI Media

    Creating the perfect festive ambience is as much about the aroma as it is the visual. Signature scents can instantly conjure feelings of fun festivities, those such as dried fruits, nutmeg, cinnamon and pine cones.

    What could be better than setting the scene with a roaring fire? Making that roaring fire a fragranced one, that’s what. Make our own scented budget-friendly firelighters by gathering aromatic materials such as cinnamon sticks and woodland finds. Bunch these together in squares of upcycled newspaper, roll up and tie with jute at either end – to look like mini crackers.

    16. Dry fruit to make decorations

    Maxwell Attenborough

    Christmas tree decorations don’t get much more cost effective than oven-dried fruits. Clementines are a Christmas classic, due to the seasonal scent. They are therefore the ideal fruit to dry and attach to the tree, to add a splash of warm colour and rich fragrance. Multiple cuts around the outside, from top to bottom will be sufficient enough to allow the fruit to dry out quicker, and emit more of the sweet fragrance.

    Simply thread string through the top to fashion a loop, for hanging on a tree, wreath or garland.

    17. Create unique garlands from recycled materials

    budget christmas

    Image credit: Ti-Media

    If you are looking to decorate your tree with something other than tinsel, but don’t have the budget to invest in a pre-made garland try making your own. You can string together anything from popcorn to pine cones. Why not give your Christmas a vintage spin by upcycling old vintage lace and crocheted doilies into a unique garland.

    18. String up socks as an alternative garland

    Joanna Henderson

    If you’re on a budget, what could be better than using socks to form an advent garland? You simply need to find 24 socks and some form of ribbon or string. Put a tiny stitch in each to get the socks in place, securely along the length of ribbon. Next you need to add numbers onto a card tag, and attach them using mini wooden pegs – which you can pick up super cheap in most craft shops. All that’s left to do is fill each one with a treat for every day of advent.

    19. Do it yourself


    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Go back to basics with a fun little garland made from string and old-fashioned luggage tags – you can hang it across the mantel, along some shelving or at the end of the bed so Santa will know where to stop. Using a new tag for each letter, write out a family member’s name, a Christmas message or a personalised greeting, then string the tags on a length of twine with mini pine cones in between to separate each one.

    20. Make twig trees

    Budget Christmas ideas

    Image credit: Tim Young

    These will bring a modern woody touch to a side table. Take two long, sturdy twigs and join with a hot glue gun. Twist with wreath wire to support. Now, cut and lay out the crosswise twigs. Starting at the top, cut two short twigs of equal length and lay side by side. Repeat and cut two more, slightly longer, a finger space below the first two. Continue, with the twigs gradually getting longer, until you have two triangular shapes, but leave enough trunk to push into a pot.

    Fix the cut twigs on to the trunk, working on one side first with a hot glue gun, according to the original layout. Cool, turn over and repeat. Push oasis into a pot, then push in the cooled tree. Top pot with moss and berries, and decorate the twigs with twine or wreath wire.

    21. Countdown to Christmas


    Image credit: Brent Darby

    Simple to make, this lovely alternative advent calendar can be used each year. To make your own, buy 24 plain brown envelopes and emboss or print each one with a number, from one to 24. Then, fill each envelope with a sweet treat or a simple written clue to where a small present is hidden. Peg the envelopes onto four short lengths of cord and fix onto your wall. Use red ribbon and stripy string for an extra festive touch.

    Read more: The best advent calendars to make the most of the Christmas countdown

    22. Upcycle knits for style on a budget


    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    With just a few key accessories in scarlet red, snow white and natural materials you can achieve a seasonal Scandi look without breaking the bank. Browse flea markets and car boot fairs for old type-setting blocks so you can spell out a festive greeting. Buy red and white woolly jumpers or blankets from local charity shops and upycycle them into festive cushions or home-made Christmas stockings.

    23. Add a sweet candy cane wreath


    Image credit: Emma Mitchell

    For some edible inspiration look no further than our candy cane decorations. See the candy stick like you never have before – spun into festive lettering, stuck onto Christmas wrapping and tied to wreaths – who knew the candy cane was so versatile? Costing next to nothing for large packs, get stuck in to these sticky goodies.

    24. Make your own and save


    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    An icy woodland-inspired theme is magical and will last year after year. What’s more, with a natural look you can dress your home with ‘free’ foliage from your own garden and use inexpensive materials for rustic charm. Dress the mantel with a homemade garland, using pinecones, greenery, nuts and berries from outdoors. Buy inexpensive paper stars to hang from the ceiling, or even make your own from sheets of newspaper.

    Love these budget Christmas ideas? Read more: Rustic Christmas decorating ideas that will create a warm and cosy scheme

    25. Simplify your scheme


    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    If you prefer an understated scheme, achieve simple style by supplementing what you already have to create a festive atmosphere that is simple and heartfelt – and not expensive.

    Give a neutral living room a Nordic twist with wooden decorations in red, white and warm wood. Swap the bauble-laden Christmas fir for a small-scale twig tree strung with fairy lights and wooden shapes. Decorate the mantel with a pared-back garland and lights with a cardboard wreath suspended above.

    Want more budget Christmas ideas? Read more: Christmas table decoration ideas that will set the scene for your festive feast

    26. Tone down the colour


    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Decorate the dining room with a simple red and white Scandi theme. You don’t need to spend a fortune on new decorations, just bring out kitchenware you already have in a red, white or natural wood colour theme. Decorate shelves with glass jars filled with red and white treats, such as candy canes, sweets and foil-wrapped biscuits. Tie lengths of red ribbon onto metal cookie-cutters and hang them up as decorations on the branches of a mini tree. Dress dining chairs with red and white tea towels used as simple cushion covers, and tie pine cone decorations to each chair back with lengths of stripy baker’s twine.

    27. Collect seasonal pinecones

    Budget christmas decorating ideas pine cones

    Image credit: Tim Young

    Sometimes, simplicity is key and this effortless display is as easy as it is charming. Take your favourite candles, add a handful of pinecones and one or two choice baubles, or ornaments to fit in with your colour scheme. Place on a mantelpiece in your living room or a console table in your hall for relaxed and elegant festive style.

    28. Bake and serve up treats


    Image credit: Chris Alack

    Christmas is the only time of year that it’s acceptable to eat your decorations (well, Easter too but lets not get ahead of ourselves) so make the most of it. Gingerbread houses on tabletops, candy canes on trees and iced biscuits as place settings are all cheap and easy decorations – how much can you eat this Christmas?

    29. Downsize the tree

    mini-christmas-tree budget christmas

    Image credit: David Giles

    Natural fir will bring the scent of Christmas into your home. If you don’t have enough room or budget for a full-sized tree in your living room, why not display small clippings instead. Pot them up in galvanised metal containers for contemporary, understated style, or wrap them in sisal for a rustic, country appearance. The beauty of these decorations is that they will last for the full festive period – just top up with a little water. Decorate your miniature tree with cinnamon, pine cones and small-scale decorations for an authentic look.

    Related:Hobbycraft reveals the new festive trend that will be taking over our Christmas table

    Will you be using any of these budget Christmas decorating ideas this year?


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