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

All the decorating loop holes for your Christmas budgeting needs

If you’re looking for budget Christmas decorating ideas, then you’ve come to the right place.

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 to be Christmas in style

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!).

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

1. 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 2019, fashioned with fragrant herbs, pretty baubles and decorative dried flowers. A cost effect way to dress a front door in style.

2. 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.

3. Dry fruit for 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Do it yourself

Luggage-tag-garland-budget-christmas

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.

9. 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.

10. Countdown to Christmas

budget-christmas-ideas-advent-calendar

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

11. Style with red and white

Scandi-red-and-white-budget-Christmas-decorating-ideas

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.

12. Add a sweet candy cane wreath

Candy-cane-Wreath-budget-christmas-ideas

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.

13. Stick to a theme and save

white-christmas-dining-room-with-garland-and-paper-stars

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

14. Simplify your scheme

merry-christmas-living-room-budget-christmas-decorating-ideas

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.

15. Get creative by upcycling food tins

tin-can-budget-christmas-decorating-ideas

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.

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

16. Work with two colours

Scandi-dining-room-budget-christmas-decorating-ideas

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.

17. 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.

18. Serve up a treat

Gingerbread-heart-budget-christmas

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?

19. 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?

All the latest from Ideal Home