Christmas foliage ideas are at the heart of seasonal decorating. Festooning homes with evergreen branches is an age-old tradition and timelessly elegant, but is also becoming increasingly popular as we look to decorate sustainably and reconnect with nature.
The beauty of decorating with Christmas foliage is that it is hugely versatile. Lush greenery made up into garlands, wreaths and centerpieces can be used anywhere around the home and can be embellished with flowers and decorations to create all sorts of looks. From entryways to living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms, there's no space that won't look better with a touch of festive foliage. Use abundantly and keep unadorned for a beautifully rustic look, alternatively add, berries, dried fruit, and pine cones for a traditional feel.
Not only is foraging for fir, ivy, mistletoe, holly, and eucalyptus is a lovely wholesome activity to do on winter walks, but foliage lasts well indoors and will also fill your home with a wonderful fragrance, plus once Christmas is over, it can be composted.
From outdoor Christmas decor ideas like traditional Christmas wreath ideas for the door to mantelpiece garlands and table centerpieces, below we’ve rounded up a dazzling array of ideas for styling and decorating with Christmas foliage which is guaranteed to inspire.
Christmas foliage ideas
There's something magical about bringing an element of nature inside your home during the depths of winter. Gathering boughs and branches, green leaves, colorful berries and even a few blooms, will introduce a sense of joyful abundance throughout your home.
There are many types of greenery to choose from, from verdant pine to the blue tones of eucalyptus. And increasingly, we're taking tips from the professionals who decorate hotels and stores and using their clever Christmas foliage ideas in our own homes.
We've collected the best tips and inspiration for you here, so read on, then grab your secateurs and get ready to gather your ingredients for the lushest Christmas decor ever.
1. Decorate your doorway
While the wreath still remains the most popular Christmas door decorating idea, we're increasingly seeing people use Christmas foliage to frame their entryways. Above Annabel Lewis has festooned the facade of her Georgian farmhouse with fir to give a showstopping festive welcome to guests and visitors.
2. Create a fresh wreath with a natural look
Making a Christmas wreath with friends is a lovely way to get into the festive spirit. When it comes to how to make a Christmas wreath there are lots of different approaches – for a sustainable and easy method start by packing a wreath frame tightly with moss. Next cut lengths of different types of foliage and make up individual bunches tied with floristry wire. To create the wreath these individual bunches can be layered around the moss frame and attached with floristry wire – be sure to layer these and work in the same direction so that the bushy part of the bunch covers the woody end of the last bunch.
Floral designer Philippa Craddock favors the organic, whimsical look. 'For me this year, I love rich, abundant designs with deep natural moss bases and a mass of locally sourced mixed greenery. And for the additions, focussing on elegant, delicate details, such as long-lasting petite blooms, natural fir cones, lengths of ribbon (I often use recycled ribbon from wrapped parcels) and aged matt gold decorations for beautiful decadence,' says Philippa Craddock.
3. Go for an oversized wreath
Christmas wreaths don't have to be limited to exterior doors, they can make wonderful wall decor, too and we've spotted that the oversized wreath seems to be a bit of a Christmas trend this year – why not hang one over your fireplace as an alternative to a Christmas mantel decor idea?
For a rustic, understated look leave out the embellishments and wear fir through a large wicker wreath base as pictured above, alternatively, for a similar woodland-style feel you could learn how to make a pinecone wreath.
4. Get creative with wreath ideas
Why not put a twist on the traditional wreath to create a talking point amongst visitors? These wreaths made by attaching asparagus ferns to embroidery hoops are easy to create and look lovely displayed in a group. For something else a little different, but that has a bit more color, you could also learn how to make a poinsettia wreath.
5. Make your Christmas table magical
Bring the wow factor to Christmas dining and create a fabulous hanging Christmas table centerpiece by stringing up dried orange slices interspersed with Christmas foliage and tying them to a suspended branch.
Adding dried orange slices into garlands and wreaths is a lovely way to decorate if you like to decorate traditionally and sustainably, plus they're really easy to do at home – check out our guide on how to dry orange slices.
6. Decorate with potted trees
Placing miniature potted trees in rustic containers is an easy way to bring a festive feel to an entryway – make an impact by raising the tree on a bench or stool to welcome your guests. When entwined with lights they also make fabulous Christmas porch decor ideas – why not place them on vintage-style sleighs as part of a festive scene? If you have the storage space a faux design such as this from Neptune can be used year after year, alternatively, you could get one in a pot and plant it in the garden.
Alternatively, you could simply style up normal house plants suggests Emma Deterding, founder of Kelling Designs. 'Put some moss around the base and arrange it alongside candles and other decorative items to create little festive vignettes around the home. If you don't have a lot of house plants, then you can often buy them inexpensively from car boots, Etsy, or supermarkets too. What's great is that they're fairly easy to look after and can become part of your overall decor all year round!'
7. Light up your garden
Dazzle passers-by and make your home the envy of the street by winding outdoor Christmas light ideas through your potted trees and hedges. Lights4fun has plenty of outdoor Christmas light ideas for trees many of which are battery operated, which means you can big magic to those hard-to-reach areas. For a softer look opt for warm white over white light.
8. Decorate outdoor areas with winter planters
Planting up urns and containers with winter and evergreen plants is a lovely Christmas patio idea or porch idea for brightening up outdoor spaces and the great thing is they aren't overly festive so they will last through the winter. Hellebore, heather, cyclamen, and ivy would all work well, or for more inspiration check out our guide to the best Christmas plants and the best winter plants for pots and borders.
9. Create an easy foliage centerpiece
When it comes to Christmas table decor there's no need to buy a garland or spend hours crafting a centerpiece, laying Christmas foliage can be just as effective, especially if you like a botanical or woodland theme. You could even embellish the place settings with moss.
'Start by laying fronds of fresh pine or eucalyptus stems down the center of the table (you can buy or forage for these easily), fanning the foliage out to fill the space. The natural fragrance of both of these will capture the essence of Christmas with ease,' says Emma Deterding, founder of Kelling Designs. 'Once you're happy with the foliage, you can then build this up with pine cone decorations to add another natural element, before filling it out with candles and baubles.'
10. Fill your entryway with festive foliage
Your entryway is the first impression guests will have at your home during the holidays, so use your festive foliage ideas to make it a truly special experience.
'There are so many Christmas hallway ideas you can use to create a warm welcome, suggests style editor Michela Colling. 'Start by looping a garland in swags down a banister, draping one over a mirror or laying across the back of a console.
'Nestle fine wire USB or battery lights amongst the foliage or pepper with battery-operated candles or metallic baubles to create shimmer.
'Clear fishing wire and clear hooks are ideal for invisible support to hang wreath ribbon ideas or to hold any wire to support the garlands.
'Finally, scent the area by including aromatic eucalyptus and spruce, combined with fragrant fresh herbs such as rosemary.'
11. Carefully combine greenery with candles
This beautifully simple Christmas mantel decor idea has just enough greenery to look natural, without it taking over the scene.
'The holidays for me are about gratitude for the abundance we experience throughout the year, so I tend to keep things feeling very natural when I decorate,' explains Anastasia Casey, who leads Austin-based design studio, The Identitè Collective.
'To make them feel festive but not cliché, I opt for color blocking and varying texture. Sourcing local beeswax candles, I pulled inspiration from their golden buttery hue and played that up with the fawn-colored velvet ribbon. Even though it is minimal, the color-blocked approach creates a significant moment.'
When you're combining candles with greenery, take care not to let the leaves get too close to the flames.
'Safety is always my top priority when decorating for the holidays, so making sure these candles were stable was imperative,' says Anastasia. 'Instead of using a traditional garland, I just clipped individual olive branches and tucked them in around the candles so they could sit flat on the mantle.
Anastasia's final tip: 'Get as many varied sizes of candles as you can, and then buy 20 percent more! The best way to recreate this look is to group the candles together very closely. It makes for a more editorial effect and feels less kitschy.'
12. Use dried foliage to create a festive cloud
A suspended chandelier display creates an impactful focal point. 'Think about using different ingredients: a mass of naturally dried grass mixed with seasonal stems will give you something beautifully unique,' suggests florist Philippa Craddock.
Secure either a pre-made hoop, a dry branch or a chicken wire structure, to hooks on the ceiling, hanging it from either clear fishing wire or decorative jute or ribbon.
Build layers of dried and green foliage to create fullness and texture.
13. Pair foraged foliage with fresh flowers
Bring the outside in by foraging in the garden or woods. Or buy Christmas flowers and plants that you know will bloom all winter long.
'Fresh foliage and flowers form the base of all our decorations, whether a garland on the mantelpiece, an arrangement of branches in the hallway, or a more structured table display,' says Henry Miller-Robinson, co-founder K&H Design.
'I also love adding fresh foliage to the tree with clear glass ornaments for some sparkle.'
14. Put a natural wreath in an unexpected place
Traditionally we think of wreaths for front doors, but this year the trend is to use them on the Christmas dining table as a centrepiece or hung on the wall as a festive focal point.
'For use on the table, simply add candles at regular intervals for a gorgeous glow,' suggests Meaghan Hunter, senior stylist and art director, Neptune. 'For an extra layer of detail, use a richly scented seasonal candle, perhaps a pine and cinnamon mix, in the centre.
Or display them from a cabinet or dresser to add a festive touch. 'Choosing a decorative ribbon to hang your wreath from will add colour and texture,' says Meaghan.
15. Mix real and faux greenery
Celebrating the season with an abundant display of greenery, real or faux – or even a mix of the two – creates such a welcome and you can style it all in advance which is a real time saver when you're entertaining.
'I love to add in real flowers and greenery just a couple of days before the main event,' says Chrissie Rucker, Founder, The White Company. 'We have some amazing faux wreaths, swags and garlands. If you mix these up with fairy lights and lots of candles, it’s a truly seasonal statement.'
Chrissie has lots more great tips for your Christmas table ideas.
'Candles, of course, never fail to please, set along the table with small bud vases,' she says. 'Glass vases can often double up as storm lanterns, when you pop a candle inside.
'I always stick to white and when it comes to flowers for the table as I like them to be simple, not too arranged. Sometimes I use just greenery and mix in one white stem.
'For larger displays I mix lots of seasonal greenery or herbs into my arrangements, plus favorite flowers, which include ranunculus, hyacinths, white roses, flowering eucalyptus, snowberries and fresh rosemary.'
16. Dress the mantel and the mirror
For a central mantel display, using a pre-soaked oasis foam block and let your foliage spread out from this mid point.
For looser designs, florist Phillipa Craddock recommends creating an off-centre display. Use branches as a framework, or use chicken wire to hold pieces in place. Use floristry wire or jute twine to attach extending pieces that trail down the fire surround or twine up a the mantel mirror.
Put your display together later in the season to keep it looking green in time for Christmas and spritz with water every couple of days.
17. Pop pine cones into your display
We love setting aside some time to make pine cone Christmas craft ideas as part of our festive preparation. But simply scattering the cones among your foliage will create an evocative display.
'Buy bunches of fresh greens and garland; they are an easy way to add holiday cheer around the house and can easily be cut into smaller pieces to use for adornments on gifts,' suggests Tina Yaraghi from The Enchanted Home.
'Pine cones are really inexpensive and a great way to add a festive touch throughout the house. Fill a bowl with them, add a cluster on a chest with some fresh greens, or create a display with pine cones, candles and some silver to sparkle.'
18. Add a swag to your staircase
Natural greenery will bring a sense of abundance to Christmas stair decor ideas, but don't feel you have to stick to traditional pine or ivy to create your festive look. Here, olive branches – associated with peace – transform a stairway.
Whatever type of foliage you choose, a few simple tips will help you make the most of your greenery and keep it looking fresh for longer.
Veronika Kusak, Director at Pines and Needles, shares her expert ideas for choosing and decorating with Christmas foliage, plus tips on how to condition and maintain foliage for a long-lasting display.
'If working with holly, remember to wear gloves,' advises Veronika Kusak, Director at Christmas tree experts, Pines and Needles.
'It’s important to spritz your wreath and Christmas foliage with water regularly to help it last as long as possible. And if your wreath and decorations are staying inside, keep them away from direct heat sources – radiators and heating can dry out the leaves and needles,' Veronika continues.
'Choose the freshest cuts possible for a more authentic decor but also to give it more chance of lasting through the festive season. And when choosing foliage, aim towards an "indoor" variety of trees if specifically using tree branches. Noble Fir is a popular choice.'
19. Style a foliage frame
If you're looking for an unusual Christmas wall decor idea, put foliage in the frame. You could simply top a framed picture of photograph with a touch of greenery, or take an empty frame and cover it with fresh boughs and trim with a ribbon.
'Soft pine or conifer is ideal as it isn't as rigid as some foliage,' suggests Sue Barnes, Founder & Creative Director at Lavender Green Flowers.
'Eucalyptus is also a great choice, as the fragrance is so refreshing and relaxing. and it also lasts for a long time. When it dries it doesn’t wilt and simply goes a more blue-grey colour which can look very effective.'
20. Stuff your stocking with greenery
Hanging stockings ready for Santa Claus is a much-loved festive tradition, but why wait until Christmas Eve to see them filled? Put sprigs of snowberries, berried branches or baby's breath in the stockings as part of your Christmas living room ideas, then simply switch out the greenery for gifts when the big day comes.
21. Vary your foliage for a full-on display
'Whether you raid your garden or a florist, seasonal greenery such as ivy, spruce, laurel, fatsia and conifers will all work as an abundant base for displays,' says Tina Yaraghi from The Enchanted Home.
'Fragrant eucalyptus comes in many forms, from familiar Baby Blue and Gunni to Parvafolia with a smaller, delicate leaf. For relaxed displays, Asparagus Fern or Willow Eucalyptus will create cascading sprays.
'Treat your stems before bringing them into the house. Keep them in cold water outside or in a cool place for around 24 hours; even if you’ve bought from a florist, trim the stems and soak.
'To dry, bunch together and tie at the ends, then hang in a cool but dry place to avoid mould forming, for around three weeks.'
22. The new look wreath
The traditional circle of greenery will never go out of fashion, but there are lots of ways to put a twist on your Christmas wreath ideas. This gorgeous circlet has a delicate elegance that's perfect for above a bed – especially in a guest room when you have holiday visitors.
With the base on show, opt for a decorative finish such as a wooden, brass or jute-wrapped finish. As the base won’t retain water, it’s best to use dried or preserved flowers and foliage. Create small bunches and bind at the base with floristry wire, creating looser and larger sprays as the display circles round.
Alternatively, create a centrepoint where flowers, berries, small baubles or ribbon can fan out from, tapering off at either end for symmetry.
23. Make it mossy!
Using just one variety of foliage can create impact, such as a carpet of flat moss or a wreath made of pampas,' says Style Editor, Michela Colling.
'Liven up evergreens with unusual varieties – Spanish moss, air plants or succulents add a soft, sage green accent, while dried hydrangeas, eryingium or any bright bloom brings colour.
Silvery honesty branches or seed heads create a rustic texture, or spray gold or silver paint on a few dried fronds for a magical metallic touch.'
24. Set up a stunning centrepiece
This table display, created by Lavender Green Flowers, combines detail, texture and traditional red and green festive tones to make a stunning statement.
'Bring in pops of color if that’s your thing, says Sue Barnes, Founder & Creative Director at Lavender Green Flowers. Here, the red of the display is picked up in a vase of flowers at the side of the room, creating continuity and flow to the use of foliage and florals around the home.
25. Use foliage sprigs to decorate a place setting
Even if you don’t have time for an elaborate centerpiece, you can still elevate your Christmas dinner with a decorative lift.
Add a single green sprig with colorful stems or dried bunny tails and a decoration, tied together with ribbon.
'Napkins dressed with little arrangements add wow-factor – include rosemary or eucalyptus to add scent, and handwritten place names. It’s the little touches guests will notice,' suggests Nikki Tibbles, founder of Wild At Heart florists.
26. Add in some red roses
'I always think it’s best to deck your halls from the garden,' says Nikki Tibbles. 'I like a big vase of branches – holly, lichen, pine – in the entrance hall or on the kitchen table. You don’t have to be an expert to arrange an armful; they’ll look naturally beautiful.
'Homemade dried oranges and limes will scent your home and can be used as decorations. And flowers like roses and ranunculus are also available at this time of year. Pretty bud vases with red roses or white flowers with candles look gorgeous. For a long table, create lots of individual arrangements down the centre with a mix of tall candles and tea lights.'
27. Dress up your windows
As you're filling your home with foliage and festive trimmings, don't forget your Christmas window decor ideas. They be seen from outside your home, greeting guests and passers-by with the holiday spirit. And they help to connect all the festive elements around your home.
'Place beautifully considered designs in key spots within your home,' suggests florist Philippa Craddock. 'Put a display on a hall table, a wreath on the door, a tree with delicate lights in the most used room in your home, sprigs of greenery on top of picture frames, a garland over your mantelpiece and down your staircase.
'Work with your own interiors and think about how you are feeling – create something that you love.'
28. Add fruit among your foliage
Berries, baubles and ribbons can lift your foliage with color and texture, but you can turn to nature's bounty for your trimmings.
'Don’t forget that apples, lemons and artichokes make beautiful arrangements along with fresh greenery,' says Tina Yaraghi from The Enchanted Home.
Simply tuck the fruit into your display, or add an extra element by studding oranges with cloves to bring a wonderful fragrance to your rooms.
29. Make a statement
When it comes to using creative festive foliage designs at home, it’s always best to think about the right size to suit the location and your home’s style. But if you have the space, don't be afraid to go large!
'Foliage that just tumbles out of the vase in an abundance of different varieties, and with the inclusion of pine cones, moss-covered branches and frosted elements, creates a spectacular sight,' says Sue Barnes, Founder & Creative Director at Lavender Green Flowers. Placed on a round entrance hall table, it's the stuff of dreams.'
30. Tie up teasels and seedheads
Think outside of the green box when selecting or foraging for your foliage. Add an unexpected, but still naturalistic, touch by incorporating seed heads into your wreaths and garlands.
The sharp silhouettes of these dried teasels are gently softened with occasional sprays of delicate foliage. If you’re into the sphagnum moss bowls that have been populating Instagram, take things a step further and fill your hearth with a generous helping of foliage to continue the look throughout the whole vignette.
Seed heads, when handled carefully, can be used for years, and opt for preserved moss if you want the entire scheme to be ready to go next Christmas, too.
31. A touch of silver
Staircases are one of the focal points to a typical entranceway, so make a point of dressing them as you would the door to your home.
Looped garlands of foliage are the perfect choice here, but add silver baubles at each apex for added Christmas magic.
32. Turn sconces into Christmas lights
If you have sconces, be sure to include them in your decorating.
Simply drape with sprigs of foliage, adding a faux flower or two for an extra point of focus. Carefully secure the stems with florist’s wire, keeping them safely away from the candles.
33. Amp up the drama
Play with scale and layer up your space with foliage creations big and small.
While each of the various displays is stunning in its own right, by mixing and matching size, style, and material, the combination of all brings festive drama that is sure to impress.
The showstopping chandelier wreath creates an impactful focal point – something similar but smaller could be created by using a ball of florist’s foam and adding small bunches of several different types of foliage at varying layers to create fullness and texture.
Take note from the chair-hanging wreaths and design your own in varying shapes and sizes, using similar colors in the leaves and blooms to keep things cohesive.
34. When less is more
Wreaths don’t always have to be laden with foliage – for a delicate – take on the tradition, instead choose a simple brass hoop adorned with a single sprig of fir.
While this option uses a candleholder hoop for added glow, you can just use foliage.
35. Take a moment to frame
'I love a Christmas that is a bit over the top… garlands and wreaths hanging wherever they can, the more unique the better, I think,' says Sue Jones, co-founder and creative director of OKA. Take this idea and set the scene for your buffet area by framing a console table with generous swags of greenery.
Choose a mixture of leaves with a variety of textures and tones and group them together in a relaxed style, leaving a few stems flowing freely to soften the edges. For a fuller, more dramatic look, collect pine cones, rose hips and other foraged foliage to bump up volume and texture – just make sure to secure them properly with wire to avoid any unexpected garnishes ending up in the cocktails.
Scented additions, while not ideal for dining, are a lovely touch for a drinks and nibbles area, so look at adding in a few dried orange slices and fronds of eucalyptus as well.