11 Easy & Luxurious Ways to Update Decor for the Holidays

October 10, 2023

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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Over the years my holiday decor style has changed. I think I could honestly say, from one extreme to the other. In the early years, my husband and I were thankful for whatever hand me down ornaments and tree we could acquire.

As I began to develop my own style and we had a little extra cash to actually buy our own Christmas decor, I went all out. For many years, my style was to stuff fake snow (aka: cotton) in every nook and cranny I could find. Classy, right? 🙂 Haha!

Then I switched things up. Swapping out the cotton for greenery on every available surface. Forget about putting your coffee mug down anywhere, there was no room for that. Greenery everywhere! Can’t even say, at least it smelled good. It was all fake.


While I look back on those years with so many happy memories, I’m happy to say, my style has changed. Buh-bye faux snow and fake greenery needles everywhere. Hello to a much more modern and luxurious design style.

These days I opt for much simpler decorating in my living space. Which, in turn, saves me a lot of money too. Rather than going out and buying all of the latest holiday season fads, I like to make a big impact with what I already have on-hand. A much more minimalist approach.

Here’s a look at how I update decor for the holidays.

How to Update Decor for the Holidays

Determine Your Holiday Color Palette

Step one when decorating any living space, is to determine your color scheme for that room. My color palette is the same throughout my home. During the Christmas season, instead of changing the entire palette, I like to throw in a little more gold and brown tones.

If I’m feeling real festive, I might add a new color by swapping in some burgundy hues too.

Through fresh greenery, I’ll incorporate my favorite color I like to add to all of my rooms. My rule: Every room needs a touch of green. So with my color palette pretty much staying the same, I find ways to accentuate some of the color tones to make my home look a little more festive.

For example, my home’s color palette is:

  • green
  • brown
  • white
  • black
  • gold

Color palette of my home

Instead of throwing my home into a tailspin, I like to stay cohesive with my colors. I might add in some gold accents to my Christmas tree or the garland on my mantel.

I might change out my neutral color throw pillows for a more muted and warm green tone. While this still gives the space a splash of color, it does it subtly and isn’t overwhelming.

It is possible to embrace traditional holiday trimmings throughout your home while still maintaining your color palette. You can do this by changing the hue of the traditional colors to feel a little more cohesive with the color palette of your home.

For example, I might choose burgundy color tones in place of bright reds. Or a more neutral, muted green tone instead of bright green.

Change Your Throw Pillows

Changing the throw pillows in your living room is an easy way to update decor for the holidays. For a more luxe feel, choose solid patterns with a velvet or boucle texture.

Updating your holiday decor with a modern and muted style is simple when you focus on your throw pillows. Stick to a neutral color palette of greens, browns, golds, and a touch of burgundy.

Choose solid-patterned pillows in these subtle yet festive hues to maintain a clean and minimalist look. These pillows will effortlessly bring a cozy holiday atmosphere to your space while keeping your decor modern and understated.

2 green square pillows for update decor for the holidays post

Source: Amazon

If you prefer holiday-themed designs, consider geometric snowflakes or evergreen branches. These changes can be subtle, while still bringing in a cozy, holiday spirit feel.

Amazon Affiliate Links Included

Change Your Stems and Faux Plants

Another great way to make your home feel like the most wonderful time of the year, is through floral stems and faux plants.

While I prefer real plants, fake plants have come a long way. They’re not the plastic-y looking floral sprays that they used to be. Afloral is a great source for finding faux plants that have everyone believing they’re the real thing.

I have a few plants that I keep out through the holidays, but for the most part they all find a new home in the basement. Removing these plants makes the space feel less cluttered and gives an overall fresh look.

Evergreen stems from Afloral on Amazon

Source: Amazon

Switch Out Your Area Rugs

This one can be a bit trickier, but can make a big impact, if you’re able to swing it. While switching out your area rugs is definitely a way to update decor for the holidays, it does require a couple things.

  • You’ll need somewhere to store your off-season rugs. Which isn’t always feasible.
  • Instead of buying just one rug to fit every season, you now need to buy two.

But if you can make it work, roll up your everyday rug and roll out a new rug for the holidays. Look for patterns and colors that still fit your aesthetic but lean more towards the holiday trends.

Dining room with a table, chairs and a bench on a rug for update decor for holidays post

Update Decor for the Holidays: Get Rid of Clutter

One of the most impactful and easiest ways to update decor for the holidays is to get rid of clutter.

What does clutter have to do with updating home decor for Christmas, you might ask? Too much clutter can make a space feel out of order and much smaller than it actually is. It can make a room feel very unorganized. Not the look or feel we’re going for at this time of year.

Typically Christmas decorating entails bringing in more decor than what we typically have throughout the year. This is the perfect time to declutter and get rid of some things before holiday decorating kicks into full gear.

Beautiful mantel for update decor for the holidays post

Source: The Lily Pad Cottage

Simple Mantel Decor

Create a stunning holiday mantel. Adorn your mantel with a neutral and elegant garland.

My garland of choice is full of shades of greens, earthy browns, and subtle golds. I like to start with a faux garland and add in natural elements.

Our local Boy Scouts offers a great price on however many boughs of fresh greens you can fit in an arms full. I go every year and get plenty for my mantel and front porch and anywhere else I want to add that pine tree smell.

Using a couple faux greenery swags as a starting point and then adding in the real fresh greens is the best way to create a full garland display for your mantel. I like to finish it off by tucking in some pinecones. And some wispy gold sprays.

fireplace decorated for Christmas with stockings and garland for update decor for the holidays

Update Decor for the Holidays: Oh Christmas Tree

To create a luxe feel in your home at Christmas time, we need to think about how to decorate the tree.

Of course the first thing to consider is real tree or faux tree. In my opinion, there’s not a right or wrong way to choose. One year we had 3 real trees in our family room. The next year, we went back to our faux tree.

While I love the smell of fresh pine, I also love the no-hassle of a faux tree that looks real.

As I do with most of my Christmas decorating, I like to keep the tree pretty simple too. Of course, I love to fill it with lots of Christmas lights. I want it to be the focal point of the room.

When choosing Christmas ornaments, I look for ones that will accentuate the color palette of the room.

The mantle and the tree should be somewhat cohesive to one another. Therefore, I use the same color tones on my tree as what I chose for my mantle. Shades of greens, earthy browns, and subtle golds. I’ll add in some fresh greens to give my faux tree a fuller and more real look.

Using ornaments with a brown and gold color combination coordinates well with the colors of the rest of the room. I like to add in texture with a mixture of velvet ornaments and muted metallic ornaments.

Tucking in some pine cones throughout the tree adds another texture. Add a simple wooden garland or ribbon with muted colors, if you feel like your tree still needs a little more.

Christmas tree with a chair next to it for update decor for holidays post

Pro Tip: When decorating your tree, be sure to decorate the entire tree. Not just the outside of the tree. Tuck ornaments deep into the tree. This gives your Christmas tree depth and more visual interest.

Forego the Cutesy Christmas Decor

To update decor for the holidays, we might need to forego some of the cutesy decor. Remember my fake snow? Yep, it was definitely time for that to go. In place of the fake snow, wood accents are a great option. Replace faux snow with pinecones or fresh greenery.

Avoid adding too much Christmas decor. Less is more.

I’m probably going to step on some toes here, but I’m going to say it–avoid trinkets. Those little snow men or Christmas figurines that just get lost in the space, keep those in the storage room this year.

Opt for larger more substantial decor items. Ones that can stand alone and still make a statement.

Christmas tree with two white char

Hot Chocolate Bar

Does anyone ever need a good excuse for hot chocolate? Through the winter months it is my daily drink. Whoever started this cozy, vibrant trend, of a hot chocolate bar, is a genius! Don’t want to go out and buy a new dedicated bar cart just for hot chocolate? Why not transform a console table into a hot chocolate bar? Such a fun way to bring in all of the festive, Christmas vibes.

Swap Framed Photos

One of the easiest ways to update decor for the holidays, is by swapping out your framed photos. Do you have a gallery wall of framed photos or a photo frame placed here or there? Simply swap out the current picture for a holiday themed image. I added a few of my favorites to my Amazon Storefront. You can go check them out here! 

Update Decor for the Holidays: Cozy Texures

Give me all the fuzzy blankets! Nothing screams the holidays like a warm cozy blanket. Drape a fluffy, faux fur blanket over a chair or a couch. Add a wooden basket with a blanket overflowing it.

One of my biggest splurge purchases was this blanket from Anthropologie. Adding it to our theater room brought in all the cozy vibes. Life is good when I get to end my day cuddled up on the couch with this warm blanket. Simply the best.

Affiliate Links Included

Cozy anthropologie blanket for update decor for holidays post

Amazing what adding a throw blanket will do to a space. The soft texture it brings in makes it the coziest and easiest way to give your home a little more of a luxurious feel.

So many great ways to update decor for the holidays. Hopefully I didn’t step on too many toes. Change is hard, I get it! And these changes may not be for you and that’s ok. But if they are, I hope I’ve given you some fresh ideas to make your home feel a little more luxe for the holidays.

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

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