How to decorate for the holidays on a budget

Transform your space into a budget-friendly winter wonderland.

–Courtesy of Table and Tulip

Sure, there are gifts to buy, stockings to stuff, and tinsel to string, but creating a hub of good cheer for your loved ones doesn’t need to break the bank. Andrea Halliday, the owner of floral and event design business Table and Tulip in the South End, provided with tips for decking out your pad in Pinterest-worthy holiday decor on a budget.

Remember that lights aren’t just for the tree.
Illuminate your holiday setup by hanging a few 50-foot strands of white lights vertically. “Whenever we decorate and don’t use lights, people are missing them,” Halliday said. Candles are another versatile decorating tool that add a natural glow, whether they are placed in glass cylinders, arranged on tree stumps, lined on a fireplace mantle, or clustered on a coffee table.


Use natural decor.
Scavenge whatever greenery is in your yard, such as evergreen sprigs, pinecones, twigs, and leaves, and get creative. Christmas tree lots are also a great resource for supplies. People often have their trees resized before taking them home, and many lots are willing to give away the discarded stumps and severed lower branches.

Give items a brand new look with a can of spray paint.
Votive candles, twigs, and other commonplace items can be transformed and made more modern with a coat of gold spray paint. Create a glittering wreath by arranging spray-painted leaves or leaf-shaped paper in a wire wreath frame. “The gold thing can be great,” Halliday said. “Especially if you [spray paint] something all gold or in mixed metallics.”

Stray from the traditional color scheme.
Splurge on a roll of velvet ribbon to create napkin rings or tie up greenery to hang on the front door, but steer clear of the classic red. Instead, try teal, emerald, or a gold accent. “Sparkly gold over velvet still looks fresh and pretty [but] doesn’t seem too Christmas-y,” Halliday said.

Go DIY on tree decorations.
“Ornaments always seem really pricey,” Halliday said. “Whenever people ask me how much it is to decorate a tree, I say, ‘You don’t want to know.’” To save, have your friends help decorate your tree by hosting a DIY ornaments party (with food and drink, of course), or garnish it in alternative ways, such as with white lights and pinecones or by adorning branches with small, individual bows.


Or forego the tree altogether.
Having a tree can take up a lot of room in a small Boston apartment, limiting your ability to invite as many people as you’d like to your holiday soiree. Halliday proposed using greenery in other, space-saving ways, such as “lush green on a tabletop or vertical branches instead.” Another option is to spray paint twigs gold and line them on your mantle, a decoration that will last for the entire winter season.

Brush up on your drawing skills.
Sketch a wreath on a chalkboard or on a mirror with gold pen as a quirky substitute. A festive quote or a countdown to Christmas would also do the trick. “It’s cute instead of the real thing,” Halliday said. “Especially on a mirror, it can add a lot of sparkle for virtually just a few dollars.” She said Table and Tulip has done this themselves, with a chalkboard drawing of hanging mistletoe above the office.

Channel your elementary school crafting days.
A simple and cost-effective decoration option is making garlands out of paper strips. “Even in a house without kids, I think it’s really cute,” Halliday said. Go classic in white, opt for a sophisticated sheen with gold, or use colored paper to emulate Christmas lights.

Love Letters
I don’t date
October 19, 2018 | 6:14 AM