In the market for budget Christmas decorating ideas? Us too: after all, the Grinch taught us that Christmas doesn’t come from a store – that Christmas, in fact, means a little bit more, so we’re all about cutting costs and making memories where we can.
Creating a magical and oh-so-festive Christmas effect on a shoe-string (and, let’s face it, we’ll need to with the ongoing cost of living crisis) is absolutely possible. All you have to do is get a little more creative with all of your decorating ideas and potentially indulge in some DIY Christmas ideas.
It is worth looking into where to buy the best Christmas decorations each year to invest in that special piece that will last for years. However, you don’t need to spend a fortune to create a festive spectacle that will wow your family and friends.
Budget Christmas decorating ideas
From colourful pom-pom wreath to yarn ball baubles, stunning Christmas wreath ideas to dried fruits and macramé everything, there are plenty of beautiful budget Christmas decorating ideas out there.
Don’t believe us? Follow our purse-friendly design and inspirational ideas this year for easy, stylish, and purse-friendly updates to your festive abode…
1. Go back to basics with a paper chain
Paper chains are a classic budget Christmas decorating idea that with a little effort and care can be turned into something very special. You can either make your own out of wrapping paper scraps, or plain card or why not try marbling your own paper with old nail varnishes for a luxe artisan look? If you’re a little short on time to cut out enough strips to create a garland for your Christmas mantlepiece ideas, you can also buy pre-made paper chain sets on Amazon.
Once made they can be wrapped around trees to fill in the gaps between baubles for a full and luxurious-looking tree. alternatively, drape them in layers over the mantlepiece or over doorways for a classic festive look.
2. Turn fabric scraps into bold bows
‘I’m seeing Christmas trees adorned in ribbons everywhere this year,’ says Rebecca Knight, Ideal Home’s Deputy Digital Editor. ‘I have been tempted to buy premade bows from Habitat, but I have so many ribbon and fabric scraps hanging around my home it felt like the perfect way to finally put them to good use!’
This emerging Christmas tree trend is not only an affordable way to update your Christmas scheme without buying anything new, it also can look so chic. If you prefer a bold colourful look, opt for silky skinny ribbons in jewel-toned colours, for a more rustic vibe look to thicker strips of cotton in gingham and stripe prints or hessian ribbon. If you’re not a ribbon or fabric hoarder, you can still recreate this look with a pack of 10 ribbon colours from Amazon, for under £8.
3. Embrace the magic of macramé
If you want a budget Christmas decorating idea that’s ridiculously chic, might we suggest you turn your attention to this festive twist on the macramé trend?
‘While a white Christmas is a rare sight in the UK, it does not mean you can’t turn your home into a winter wonderland,’ says Aisha Cluitt, content marketing manager at Hobbycraft.
‘Decorating your interior with a snowy, all-white and frosty look can help you truly embrace the spirit of the season and adds to the festive feel throughout the holidays. And eager crafters can replicate a white Christmas with all different types of craft, from Snow Themed Macrame Tree Decorations to Frosted Wreaths.’
If you’re feeling crafting you can create a wreath like the one above for under £16 with some macrame yarn, gold hanging hoops and bells available from Hobbycraft.
4. Hang some hand-made stars
Hang a star or two to lead the way to Christmas. Arrange lengths of wooden dowel into star shape and wrap the ends together with florist’s wire. Add beads or faux berries to one side with more wire. Finish with a sprig of eucalyptus to dress the stars.
Hang in the window for passers-by to enjoy or suspend them in a stairway and follow the stars at bedtime, for a fab Christmas stair decor idea.
5. Make a magical menu
Give guests a taste of what’s to come as part of your Christmas dining room ideas by chalking up your festive menu on a blackboard, framed with foliage and fairy lights.
Use foliage that won’t dry out too quickly, such as ivy or eucalyptus, which won’t shed its leaves. If you don’t have a blackboard to hand, a simple board, piece or wood, or even an old framed picture painted in blackboard paint, available on Amazon will do!
6. Ring the changes with embroidery hoops
This is a great Christmas wall decor idea that can be made in just a couple of hours. Swirling fern fronds around wooden embroidery hoops are a fanciful twist on the traditional wreath, and provide a warm welcome for visiting guests.
You can pick up 12 embroidery hoops on Amazon for less than £15. Apply metallic paint in rose-gold and copper tones for a pearlescent, shimmering finish. Hang in the hallway from cotton and velvet ribbon for an elegant look.
7. Make a unique garland with scarves
Make a garland with a difference, by knotting together a selection of silk scarves or hankerchiefs. Either dig out what you have at home, or have a look in your local charity shop to see what gems you can discover.
Even left-over scraps of fabric can be tied together to create a similar effect. This will look amazing draped over a mantlepiece, of draped down a staircase as a gloriously unusual Christmas stair idea.
8. Upcycle jam jars into votives
Jazz up jam jars or reuse candle jars with a dip into eco glitter and little plant mica or sand. Simply tape off a section of glass at the bottom of the jar, cover with glue and dip or shake into glitter. Allow to dry and remove the tape. Fill with plant mica or sand and pop a candle in place. For extra detail, dress the top with twine and decorations.
9. Make an alternative advent calendar
Alternative advent calendar ideas are a brilliant way to start as you mean to go on for a cost-effective Christmas. Instead of buying pricey beauty or chocolate advent calendars, make a budget version with mini treats tailored to the recipient.
Little ones will love tiny toys, collectable figures or crafty buys, while mini make-up and hair accessories will go down well with teens. Package up the treats in mini boxes and paper bags, labelled with numbers from 1 to 24.
Make it a hanging display by using a couple of wire scarf hangers hooked up on the wall, then just tie your packages on with coloured string. If you’re not the most creative this £12 Argos fabric calendar is just calling out to be customised with fabric pens or a glue gun and some festive figures.
10. Create an easy bauble chandelier
Make your own hanging decoration to go over a dining table or centre stage in a hallway. Use an inexpensive plastic hula-hula hoop as your base, either spray-painting it or covering it with tape or string to conceal it. Then simply tie on a selection of coloured Christmas baubles, arranged at staggered heights.
Suspend from the ceiling with string or fishing wire. Alternatively, you can hang it over a table as a Christmas table centre-piece idea with Dunelms, over table display bar that costs £35.
11. Put together a tabletop terrarium
Fill a glass terrarium with winter foliage and flowers to use as a table centrepiece for Christmas festivities. Use mini terracotta planters filled with ivy, potted cyclamen or winter blooms like snowdrops or narcissi in teeny bud vases.
Add colour by popping in a few Christmas baubles in jolly reds and greens so that the base of the terrarium is covered. A set of battery-operated micro lights will bring extra sparkle, but avoid real candles as the heat could crack the glass.
12. Add festive cheer with greenery
Make the entranceway feel extra warm and welcoming for guests with a splash of Christmas colour using evergreen and traditional winter flowering plants.
The gardening experts at Wilkinson Sword, in fact, urge you to ‘venture into your garden or the nearby outdoors’ to ‘look for evergreen foliage like ivy, eucalyptus, or myrtle, which adds a touch of timeless elegance’ to any home at Christmas.
‘Alternatively, embrace a rustic feel with branches from hazel, dogwood, or willow,’ they add. And sprigs of holly, with its glossy green leaves and bright red berries, are a timeless addition to any home over the holidays, too.
13. Make personalised Christmas crackers
Forget pricey luxury crackers and make your own crackers from a napkin. Reusable fabric crackers can cost a tiny fortune, we’ve spotted them fabric crackers going for over £50 (and some) on Etsy. A pretty napkin really will do the trick. All you need is some toilet rolls, ribbon to tie the ends and paper crowns, chocolate coins and some novelty jokes or charade ideas to hide inside.
However, if you really do miss the snap-and-pull aspect you can easily swap out the napkin for leftover wrapping paper and pick up some cracker snaps from Amazon to glue to the inside.
14. Go big with paper baubles
Create an eye-catching display without spending a fortune. Inexpensive paper baubles and folding fans look eye-catching suspended in a row from the ceiling and are an easy way of filling empty wall space above a sofa or sideboard.
Choose a bright mix of colours for a standout look or keep to all-white paper decs or one colour pieces for simplicity. Use coloured cord or fine ribbon to suspend your decorations, arranging them at a variety of different heights for visual interest. Use thumb tacks to secure and voila, a perfect Christmas living room decor idea!
15. Bake edible table treats
Cut costs by baking cookies to decorate place settings instead of hitting the shops. Bake gingerbread or shortcake biscuits in heart or star shapes and decorate with white icing, one for each guest. You could even pipe guests’ names on if you have a particularly steady hand.
Decorate the rest of the table with other edible treats. Line a central table runner with greenery, piled high with stacks of seasonal fruits, such as pomegranates, apples and berries, that will look wonderfully festive and smell delicious too.
16. Use leftover ribbon to hang Christmas cards
If you’re short on shelf space, create a hanging display to show off favourite Christmas cards. Remnants of ribbon left over from past Christmases are ideal for a Christmas card display idea.
Use a mix of different colours and widths of ribbons, cut in a variety of different lengths. Then simply attach each length to a wall or picture rail using small tacks. Secure cards with mini pegs and add a tiny bauble or bell at the end of each length of ribbon as a finishing flourish.
17. Deck the stairs with sparkly baubles
Make the staircase the focal point of your hallway by festooning the bannisters with a shimmering garland. A set of microlights wired into the garland will add extra sparkle, but instead of hanging baubles all the way up the stairs, just a single swag at the end will add just as much impact.
Just tie a few unbreakable baubles with lengths of satin ribbon and then loop over the end of the bannister or around the newel post.
18. Make a cheap and cheerful Christmas wall hanging
Create a super-easy wall hanging for a long hallway or corridor with a row of cheery gift-wrapped packages suspended from a rustic branch or pole. It makes a lovely way of displaying small gifts and pressies for the family and a great way of using up leftover giftwrap and ribbon remnants. Just suspend your branch or pole on a couple of sturdy wall hooks.
19. Pretty-up presents with hand-made tags
Give gifts a high-end look by raiding your Christmas decorations box. There are always a few odds and ends that don’t make it onto the tree, so instead of packing them away again, why not put them to good use? Mini baubles, scraps of faux foliage and broken-off bits of berries make great gift toppers.
Wrap your presents in plain brown paper or coloured wrap for a smart look, then tie with lengths of raffia or coloured ribbon and add your fancy tag for a chic, personalised touch.
20. Wrap your front door with ribbon
Make an entrance with your Christmas door decor idea. All you need to recreate this simple but highly-effect look 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.
21. Suspend a decorative branch
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!
22. Fashion a captivating centrepiece for the table
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.
23. Hang an artistic twig bauble display
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.
24. Forage for foliage to make a wreath
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.
25. Wrap prop presents to add festive abundance
There’s no denying that budget 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.
26. Plant a seasonal hanging basket
Go one better than hanging a wreath on front doors by planting seasonal hanging baskets. A blooming Christmas hanging basket idea 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.
27.Show off decorative stars
Simple paper decorations, especially large-scale stars, can go a long way when it comes to decorating for Christmas 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
28. Make your own gift wrap
Keep the cost down (and the budget Christmas decorating ideas coming) 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.
Any paint should work, but any leftover Frenchic chalk paint or Annie Sloan chalk paint you have in a cupboard will work a treat.
29. Fashion trees for festive place settings
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.
30.Stir creativity by upcycling food tins
Another genius budget Christmas decorating idea, try upcycling 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.
31. Make your own fragrant fire lighters
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 your own scented budget-friendly firelighters by melting wax into cake cases, they adding sprigs of heather, rosemary and other dried flowers, they leaving them to set.
32. Dry fruit to make decorations
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.
33. Create unique garlands from recycled materials
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.
That’s right: this budget Christmas decorating idea demands that 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?
34. String up socks as an alternative garland
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.
Note: you can also achieve a similar effect by stringing up your Christmas cards, too!
35. Make twig trees
For budget Christmas decorating ideas that 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.
36. Upcycle knits for style on a budget
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.
To help you on your way to achieving all of your favourite budget Christmas decorating ideas, 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.
37. Add a sweet candy cane wreath
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.
38. Tone down the colour
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.
39. Collect seasonal pinecones
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, and voila! A budget Christmas decorating idea we can truly get behind.
40. Bake some baubles
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?
41. Downsize the tree
Natural fir will bring the scent of the season into your home, making it one of our favourite budget Christmas decorating ideas around.
If you don’t have enough room or budget for the best artificial Christmas tree or a real tree in your living room, why not display small clippings instead? Pot them up in galvanised metal containers for a 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.
How can I decorate my Christmas tree on a budget?
‘Decorating an entire Christmas tree can be a daunting thought if you have a small budget to bear in mind,’ says Leah Rogers, from B&M. ‘But with some simple hacks, you can make your tree feel special without needing to break the bank.’
‘Firstly, key standout decorations are the best way to add visual impact and it doesn’t require too many of these to get your tree looking fabulous. We’d recommend buying bold single decorations in sets of three and arrange them asymmetrically from the top to the bottom of your tree.’
‘Next, filler bauble packs are a great way to ensure your tree doesn’t feel too sparse, but you don’t need to spend a fortune here.’
‘Finally, sometimes less can be more,’ adds Leah. ‘Overfilling your tree can make it look heavy and busy, so trim back the volume of decorations and keep it simple and sleek’
How can I decorate my home for Christmas on a tight budget?
‘There’s a number of ways you can introduce some festive charm into your home without having to break the bank, says Resident Style Advisor at Wayfair, Nadine McCowan Hill, ‘And making use of your existing homewares is a good place to start’.
‘A quick, easy and inexpensive update is to add a bunch of dried or fresh eucalyptus and put vases or tall glass bottles to use. Add them to a kitchen shelf, hallway console or to the centre of your dining table for a simple but stylish focal point.’
Annie Sloan, founder of Annie Sloan Paints, follows with this advice. ‘Every scrap of fabric and leftover tin of paint is an opportunity for decoration. Whether you’re breathing new life into tired accessories or developing your sewing skills with handmade napkins and placemats, now is the perfect time of year to let your creativity flow!’
And just like that, there’s plenty of budget Christmas decorating ideas for you to get started with.
Have fun decking the halls with literal boughs of holly, baking up a storm in the kitchen, and getting crafty with it. After all, that’s how memories are made – and all the best Christmases are about the memories we make on that most magical of days.