5 Interior Designer-Approved Holiday Decorating Tips

These tips are the best of the best.

Decorating your home for the holiday season can be a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it's always amazing to see the space decked out with wreaths, garlands and jingle bells. But on the other hand, it can be tough to know where to start.

So, if you're still not sure how to approach your holiday decorating, we have some must-read tips for you. And these aren't just any tips, they come directly from professional interior designers, so you know they're legit!

1: Pick a theme.

Vintage Red-and-White Holiday Table Setting

Vintage Red-and-White Holiday Table Setting

As seen on HGTV Crafternoon, this sweet holiday table setting was inspired by vintage christmas decor. This retro look features red, white and mint, with repurposed cookie jars standing in for traditional vases.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Andrew McGary ©© 2014 HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Andrew McGary, © 2014 HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

"Pick a theme or a color scheme and stick with it throughout your home. I love to use gold or silver with a color — it doesn't have to be red or green. Pink and gold or blue and gold are festive and original if used consistently on the tree, wreaths, mantel, gift wrap and as part of the holiday table setting." — Amanda Reynal

2: Embrace hurricane vases.

"This is an easy and inexpensive way to add a little glam to your holiday. Find some fallen branches from outside, bring them indoors and let them dry. Spray with one or a mix of metallic spray paints. Group these together in a large, glass hurricane vase and voila — you have a holiday centerpiece that makes a bold statement. You can also decorate with mini ornaments and a strand of battery-powered lights — just drop the battery pack in the base and cover with some of the mini ornaments." — Taniya Nayak 

3: Bring in the green.

Rustic Front Porch Vignette

Rustic Front Porch Vignette

Accessorizing with vintage winter sporting equipment, such as skis, snowshoes, a sled and skates, gives a rustic cottage appearance to a North Carolina front porch decorated by blogger Amy Buchanan of AttaGirlSays. The sports equipment joins yard sale finds, including the table, vintage wooden toolbox and the dresser frame.

Photo by: Amy Buchanan

Amy Buchanan

"I love using greenery inside the house, not just outside. The mantel and dining table are great places to incorporate fresh greenery, and it smells so nice if you use an evergreen. Magnolia leaves and eucalyptus are also good alternatives. They look great if you mix them all together, as well. It gives a variation of texture and color." — Peyton Lambton

4: Don't forget the garland.

"Fresh greens are at the top of my list. I always hang a pine garland at my front door, and this year my kitchen window (looking out) has a garland with tiny lights. Fragrant and festive." — Dana Gibson

5: And let the lights do the talking.

Biltmore House Tapestry Gallery Decorated for Christmas

Biltmore House Tapestry Gallery Decorated for Christmas

A combination of pillar candles, firelight and twinkling Christmas tree lights wash Biltmore House's nearly 500-year-old Flemish tapestries in a warm, golden glow.

Photo by: The Biltmore Company

The Biltmore Company

"Layer away! Lots of magnolia and natural greens, layered with all of the family decorations, make for a time-honored, lush look. We let the tree and candles light the room, and dim all of the regular lighting to set a cozy and festive mood." — Stephen Czeck and Jen Going

Our 25 Favorite Ways to Deck the Halls

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All That Glitters

Glam it up this holiday season with glitter and gold. Create your own holiday mantel banner and pair with gold-dipped table accents and a pop of pink for a contemporary twist to Christmas decor. Get the how-tos >>

Photo By: Sweet Tea Photography ©Sweet Tea Photography

Mercury Magic

Expecting guests? Use assorted glass jars to give your front porch banister a festive glow. For an opaque, frosty look, add a mercury-glass effect by first misting the jars' interiors with water then immediately spraying on looking-glass paint. Get the how-to >>

Holiday Movie Night Decor

For movie buffs, nothing beats watching holiday favorites amidst friends and the comforts of home. A festive and glam private screening with cinema-style snacks is sure to get everyone into the holiday spirit. Get the how-tos >>

Feminine Garland

When white tones are layered together, the look can become glamorous, modern, traditional, romantic or casual, depending on the textures and materials used. Get more ideas >>

Coastal Christmas Chandelier

Light fixtures are a great place to add extra holiday cheer. Attach pine branches around a chandelier's base, drape burlap ribbon and add glass ornaments for a more rustic approach. Get the how-tos >>

Traditional Entryway

A mobile Christmas tree and poinsettia wall art are classic decorations in this cheerful holiday entryway. Get the how-to >>

Christmas Cones

Who said mantels have to be dressed in traditional cedar pine? This mantel's abundance of pinecones provides texture while allowing accent colors to pop. Get the how-tos >>

Photo By: Rennai Hoefer ©ten22 studio | Rennai Hoefer 2014

Layers of Linen

No Christmas tree is complete without a skirt to hide its base. Rather than using a store-bought tree skirt, transform a piece of canvas into an elegant, ruffled linen beauty using only cuts of linen, scissors and glue. Get the how-to >>

Bursting With Joy

Tis the season to love this living room's holiday style. The black velvet chairs and black and white chevron-striped rug add a modern twist alongside seasonal classics, like the tree and stockings. Get the how-to >>

Glass Pendant Ornaments

Bring texture and color to your front porch this holiday season with a grouping of clear glass or plastic ornaments filled with everyday organic materials. Get the how-to >>

Pipe Dreams

Flaunt a unique take on a traditional holiday staple with a PVC pipe wreath. PVC pipe comes in a variety of sizes and can be purchased for less than $5. Once you choose the sizes you want, you're ready to get started on your front door display. Get the how-to >>

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Versatile Wreath Centerpiece

Bring a natural element to your holiday decor with this simple and sophisticated wreath. Its versatile design works as a traditional door wreath or as part of a Christmas centerpiece. Get the how-to >>

Bring Out the Boxwood

Why settle for plastic evergreen wreaths or natural greens that will dry out in a few weeks? Make a preserved boxwood wreath that will keep its good looks throughout the holidays and beyond. Get the how-to >>

All in the Cards

Try something new this year with a space-saving, alternative Christmas tree that can even display cards from friends and family. Get the how-to >>

Takeout Box Advent Calendar

An adorable advent calendar made of takeout boxes painted red and green is an inexpensive and easy Christmas decoration kids and adults will love. Get the how-to >>

Vintage Garland

This holiday advent calendar is full of traditional charm and vintage style, keeping the Christmas anticipation alive for both kids and adults. Get the how-to >>

Unconventional Medallion Wreath

Interested in a more modern, artistic and architectural approach to holiday decor? Create an unexpected door hanging with a ceiling medallion, spray paint and ribbon. Pick up a ceiling medallion from the hardware store, update it with glossy spray paint and adorn with seasonal embellishments. Add ribbon to the top, and attach it to your door.

Hold Your Peace

Designer Emily Henderson created this funky focal point with a playful peace sign created by attaching boards to a hula hoop and hot-gluing ornaments all the way around.

From: Emily Henderson

Make It Personal

Add personalized name tags to place settings for a DIY touch to a Christmas dinner.

Red, White and Green All Over

Color is key when styling a kid-friendly Christmas party. This palette of red, green and brown with splashes of white is a nod to traditional Christmas colors and sets a fun and festive mood. Get the how-tos >>

Button Up

First, gather buttons in various shapes, sizes and colors. Then, starting at the center of a three-inch foam sphere, attach the buttons by inserting a tailor's pin through one hole of each button until secured. Continue this process around the entire sphere, covering it one row at a time. Once the entire surface is covered, add a second layer of buttons to any sections where foam is still visible. Finally, tie ribbon into a loop, attach to the top of the sphere with a tailor's pin and hang on the tree. Get more ideas >>

  1. button ornament

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

How to Light the Tree

Whether dressing a Charlie Brown Christmas tree or a Whoville town fir, Floral Displays Manager Cathy Barnhardt of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. has Christmas tree lighting down to a science. "Light the tree from the top down working in sections rather than round and round the tree," says Barnhardt. "Work the lights in toward the trunk of the tree, and then back out to the tip of the next branch, securing it by slipping the tip between the two wires of your strand of lights." Photo courtesy of Biltmore Estates.

Bold and Beautiful

Using a palette of red, fuchsia, gold and silver, designer Hannah Flora creates a glam, wintry space perfect for seasonal entertaining.

Photo By: Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images; 2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Festive Fabrication

Create your own DIY Christmas ornaments by wrapping traditional glass ball ornaments in leftover fabrics and ribbons. Hang multiple of the same kind of ornaments on an undersized tree for maximum effect.  

Nature Inspired

Fresh cedar pine, fir branches and magnolia leaves combine with fruit, pinecones and berries for an ultra-natural and festive look. Strands of gold beads add a surprising hint of color within the garland.

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