Even if you're throwing a last minute get-together, setting the mood with fabulous décor doesn’t have to be stressful (or cost a fortune!). To help you deck out your home this holiday season, expert event planner David Stark shared his most festive DIY decorating tips using items you already have, including a display of candy-filled apothecary jars and dinner napkins topped with ornaments straight off the Christmas tree.
1. Stress-Free Party Tricks
You don't need to spend a fortune to decorate for the holidays. It's easy to turn your house into a winter wonderland if you get a little creative. Famed event-planner David Stark shared 7 brilliant tips for making chic holiday decorations using items you already have around the house. These DIY projects are guaranteed to look amazing, and they won’t take up hours of your time. Happy decorating!
2. Create a Candy Bar
Who doesn't love candy? Stark suggests creating an impromptu "candy store" on an entry or side table with lidded apothecary jars in various sizes. Fill them with colorful taffy, chocolates and gummies, and put scoops and small baggies on the table. "When guests drop by, they can take a sweet reminder of their visit on the road with them," Stark says. Candy has a long shelf life (especially individually wrapped kinds), so you can enjoy the look all season long.
3. Leave Some Ornaments Off the Tree
If you're having a dinner party, keep the table decorations simple. Stark suggests using your favorite holiday ornaments as napkin adornments. "Tie them to a cinched napkin at each place setting, "he says. "Vary the ornaments for a more informal gathering or keep them uniform for a dressier look."
4. Use Ribbon Scraps to Update Candles
Customize plain pillar candles with colorful ribbon trims wrapped around their bases. "Pin the ribbon directly into the candle with small stick pins or use a decorative pin to add further flair," Stark says. "From classic holiday motifs to tartan plaids and velvets, you can change from day to day in the same way you change your outfit!"
5. Wrap Gifts Early
Use holiday gifts you will be giving this season as décor in your home before you give them. "Don't hide them in the closet or under a bed to get them out of the way," Stark says. "Make them beautiful, and enjoy them yourself for as long as you can." Choose a coordinated group of papers, bows, and adornments that look great in your home, and stack them throughout your house on side tables.
6. Don't Forget the Bathroom!
Stark likes to write holiday greetings like "Ho! Ho! Ho!" or "I'm so glad you're here!" with a dry erase marker on the bathroom mirror. Or you can channel your inner-artist and draw a Christmas tree or menorah. "It's a fun way to add a little humor and surprise to your home," Stark says. "And after, a damp rag wipes it all away!"
7. Use Up Glitter From a School Project
Search your home for clear, decorative canisters. If you don't have any handy, invest in a few (like this set of 3 at crateandbarrel.com for $59.95) because they won't go to waste. You can use them to store snacks in the kitchen or cotton balls in the bathroom during the rest of the year. For the holidays, Stark suggests filling them with confetti, glitter and sequins for a sparkly touch. "It creates a glimmering holiday tableau," he said.
8. Have a Cake Stand Do Double Duty
Head to your backyard to search for pine cones and acorns to fill a basic, domed clear cake stand. Follow Stark's easy instructions to make this unique and dramatic centerpiece: Hold the dome upside down by its handle with one hand. Fill the upside down dome with the pine cones and acorns to the brim. Take the base, turned upside down and cover your dome as if it was a lid. With both hands, quickly turn the whole set right side up so that the cake stand and lid sit as they were intended.