Last minute Christmas decor ideas – 5 easy (and speedy) ways to add a festive touch to your home

If you're yet to decorate your home and are feeling a tad time-stressed this holiday season, our last-minute Christmas decor ideas have got you covered – and they're still wonderfully chic

Last minute Christmas decor ideas. White living room with minimalist decoration, green bar cart with hanging foliage above, cozy bedroom with string lights
(Image credit: Future | Jon Day Photography | Annie Sloan)

Christmas is always one of the busiest times of the year, and whilst some of us eagerly put up our decorations on December 1st (if not, before), others opt for last-minute Christmas decor for a more speedy and easy display. 

You don't need loads of time to create a magnificent display for your Christmas decor ideas, you can still deck the halls with plenty of fabulous foliage, cozy candles, and a whole host of DIY Christmas decor ideas.

Whether you're feeling rushed off your feet this festive season, or a looking for a few simple decorating ideas to enhance your existing display, explore our favorite collection of last-minute Christmas decor ideas.

5 last minute Christmas decorating ideas that can be created in no time at all

The beauty of festive decor, and especially modern Christmas decor, is that it can be whatever you want it to be, making it easier to create a Christmas scheme that is more in tune with your style and personality. 

Of course, you can never go wrong with Christmas traditions, who doesn't love a beautiful red, gold, and green scheme? But there are so many other ways you can get creative with last-minute Christmas decor to make your home feel more in sync with the holiday season.

1. Decorate with foraged foliage and flowers

Christmas living room, green drinks trolley, foliage suspended above

(Image credit: Jon Day Photography)

From Christmas wreaths and Christmas garlands, to more simple arrangements in vases and on Christmas mantels, make the most of the plants, trees and flowers in your yard and garden (or further afield) and forage for cuttings of Christmas foliage to create beautiful natural displays. 

Interior designer, Nicole Cullum says, 'My favorite way to decorate for Christmas is to gather bundles of different colored dried grasses, flowers, and interesting things I find on my morning walks and arrange them around the house and for outdoor Christmas decor, too.

I first find a medium sized branch as a base to build my decor on. I layer on evergreen leaf clippings as a green filler around the branch and secure them with green floral wire. Then I like to wrap my greenery with a wide, pretty ribbon and a string of LED white lights for a warm, sparkling glimmer at night.'

For further inspiration, we explore the best foliage for Christmas decor in our dedicated feature.

Nicole Cullum / Color Caravan
Nicole Cullum

Nicole Cullum is an interior designer in Taos, New Mexico, and is the founder of Color Caravan, a company that specializes in creating hand-painted lines of wallpaper, textiles, bedding, and home decor.

2. Get creative with handmade ornaments

A closeup of white glitter Christmas decorations, pine cones and slices of dried fruit and cinnamon sticks on a Christmas tree.


The holiday season is a time where many of us get creative with Christmas crafts, and often, these handmade decorations take no time at all, using more simple, everyday objects that can be found dotted around the house and in your outside space. From using leftover ribbons to creating paper chains and paper snowflakes, these crafty decorations can enrich your space with a more unique and homey character.

Luxury floral designer, Margaux St. Ledger says, 'Never underestimate the power of a pine cone. Pine cone decorations look great natural, but the decorating opportunities are endless with spray paint, glue, glitter, and craft materials like mini pompoms. Use a pinecone to accent a wreath, or even make an entire pine cone wreath

Every year I cut pieces of evergreen from my tree and wire them together, then I grab some of the large pine cones in my yard and wrap some rustic twine around the top. I grab my box of Christmas ribbon that always has leftovers and put a big bow on it with the evergreens at the top and the pine cones dangling from that. A last-minute DIY, with no out-of-pocket expense.'

Margaux St. Ledger
Margaux St. Ledger

Margaux St. Ledger is a Philadelphia-based luxury floral designer. Before establishing herself as an independent designer, Margaux was mentored by award winning floral designers to the stars in Beverly Hills, and she has had the honor of crafting special displays for brands including Tiffany & Co, Zegna and Bulgari.

3. Opt for more simple lighting displays

Fairy lights, white bedside table, grey bedsheets

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

The right lighting can completely transform the look and feel of a room, and there are plenty of last-minute indoor Christmas lighting ideas, and outdoor Christmas lighting, that can make both the inside and outside of your home look more cozy and special for the holidays.

'Adding lighting to anything will elevate the look, even if you are just wrapping some Christmas tree mini lights along the fence,' says Margaux St. Ledger. 

'Running an extra strand of string light through a DIY garland can create an amazing, welcoming glow. If you don't have power, a battery-operated strand is a great solution. Just be sure to wrap the battery pack in a plastic baggy if it's exposed to weather. The fairy lights also add a fabulous touch to a homemade table garland.' 

From fairy lights, to collections of the best candles and lanterns, ambient lighting can make any space in your home feel more cozy and Christmassy – we love the string lights used for this bedroom Christmas decor, a more unexpected place to decorate for Christmas.

4. Embrace a minimalist approach to decoration

Christmas mantel with white surround and green garland

(Image credit: Future)

To keep things super simple and subtle, embrace the 'less is more' principles of minimalist decor when it comes to last-minute Christmas decorating.

Interior designer Artem Kropovinsky, founder of Arsight says, 'Keep things simple with an uncomplicated, minimalist approach to festive decoration. Create cozy, soft lighting through candles and lanterns, or use small bunches of green twigs or a small wreath to bring in that feeling of nature. Paper crafts such as origami and paper snowflakes are perfect for a more subtle look, too.'

Whether you channel all of your decorating focus into your Christmas tree ideas, or opt for a few festive accents dotted around your living space, as shown through the candles, foliage, and ornaments in this tranquil white living room, you do not need an abundance of festive decor to make your home feel special.

Artem Kropovinsky headshot
Artem Kropovinsky

Founder of NYC-based interior design firm, Arsight, Artem Kropovinsky has a decade of extensive global design experience, connecting a cohesive, collaborative team of passionate professionals, who work on interior projects in the U.S. and worldwide. 

5. Make the most of your holiday cards

Pottery Barn cardholder garland

(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

An easy way to add Christmassy character to your home is by simply displaying your holiday cards

From simple arrangements of cards on shelves, mantels and window ledges, to more decorative card holders, such as this Light Up Rustic Leaf Cardholder Garland from Pottery Barn, the simplest of items can still create a magnificent impact.


How can I make Christmas decor more simple?

As much as we love the beauty of maximalist Christmas decor, you can create a wonderful Christmas scheme with more simple decorations, too.

From using rustic Christmas ideas that embrace the beauty of nature, to using more calming and subtle Christmas color schemes, many of the last-minute Christmas decorating ideas we have explored in this piece work wonderfully for a more pared-back scheme. 

To keep things super simple, decorate just one area in your home, such as the living room, dining room, or whenever you will spend the majority of time over the holidays – this can also save you heaps of time.

Embracing a theme across your decor, whether that be through color or the style of your decorations, can also help to create a more cohesive, coordinated and simple look.

If you're looking to break away with tradition for your last-minute Christmas decor, we explore our favorite non-traditional Christmas decor ideas in our dedicated feature.

Zara Stacey
Managing Editor

Zara is the Managing Editor at Homes & Gardens. She joined the brand in February 2022 as an Interiors Content Editor, specializing in writing content on interior color trends, decorating ideas and design inspiration. After studying English Literature at University, she worked as an Ecommerce Website Editor, Content Writer and Buying Intern at multiple independent businesses within the luxury retail and lifestyle sectors. She enjoys nothing more than discovering new trends, brands and products, whether that be in fashion, interior design or lifestyle.