You’ve decked the halls and trimmed the tree, but don’t think you can rest on your laurels that easy. Sure, wrapping garland around the banisters and hanging stockings from the mantel are guaranteed ways to make spirits bright—and impress guests come holiday-party time—but there are plenty of subtler, less expected places to spread holiday cheer than your go-to spots, especially if you’ve decided to try something a little different this year. Here are eight surprising places to decorate for the holiday season. From a festive stairway to cheerful cabinetry, these ideas are sure to keep things merry all season long.
We’re not denying the appeal of a lush tablescape or celebratory centerpiece down the middle of a dining table, but if you’re looking to switch things up this year, opt instead for bright bunches of mistletoe, small evergreen wreaths, or ornately decorated baubles hung from ribbon on the back of each chair.
Let everyone else one-up each other with their frost-tipped garlands and blinking lights wrapped around railings and banisters. For an unexpected twist on the classic stairway holiday moment, use stencils to silhouette a wintry scene on an exposed soffit or adhere removable plaid paper to the stair’s risers for a surprising burst of cheer. You can also wrap white balusters in spirals of red ribbon for a whimsical candy-cane effect the kids will love.
Sure, you can add the usual greenery trimmings, but guests will really be impressed if you get with the holiday spirit—literally. Replace run-of-the-mill liquor with seasonal specialties like peppermint schnapps, and swap out boring garnishes for cheerful pine sprigs and orange peels studded with cloves. And don’t forget the colorful glassware, preferably filled with pomegranate seed¬–infused ice cubes.
Between cookie swaps and cocktail parties, your kitchen is probably going to see a lot of action this holiday season. Give it a facelift by decorating your cabinetry in warm touches that bring the outdoors in. While some choose to create lavish installations above the millwork, why not go for a softer approach? Hang small boxwood wreaths from candy-striped ribbon down the center of paneled cabinet doors, or embellish the interior of glass-paned or open cabinetry with evergreen boughs studded with bright red berries.
With their spindly arms and obvious height advantage, chandeliers are a great place to festoon with holiday decorations. Cascade a garland of snowflakes from the base of an entry lighting fixture, or hang evergreen boughs from a chandelier over the dining table in place of a centerpiece.
Rethink your holiday bed by replacing color-coordinated sheets with tied bows or plastic ornaments dangling from colorful ribbon draped over a latticed wood headboard. Or to make things really easy, simply wrap a holiday-themed runner or tablecloth over the existing upholstery.
Deck the shelves with boughs of holly, use removable wallpaper on the back of a bookcase, or go monochromatic by pairing like colored items for a wintry display. You can also relocate kraft paper–wrapped presents here and fill compotes or footed cake stands with sugared fruit or bowls of berries to add a variety of different shapes, heights, and textures.
Put holiday cards to good use in a craft room or office space by pinning them on the wall amid a flurry of ribbon and trim. You can sprinkle in holiday-themed decals or spray painted wooden letters in seasonal greetings (joy, hope) for a rustic look.