Pine cone decorations – 10 charming rustic looks

Bring natural charm to seasonal decorating with these ideas for pine cone decorations

pine cone decorations
(Image credit: Future / Sarah K)

Used as a festive flourish for generations, pine cone decorations are a lovely way to bring natural charm and a timeless feel to seasonal decorating.

With the environment at the forefront of our minds, pine cone decorations offer a way to decorate sustainably. Sourcing them on a fall or winter walk is a fun family activity, plus they can be dried and used in all sorts of pine cone Christmas craft ideas.

If you're planning your Christmas decor ideas then take a look at these lovely pine cone decorations which are perfect for a rustic or woodland Christmas theme.

Pine cone decorations

Pine cone decorations are hugely versatile and can be used in all sorts of decorating ideas throughout the year from farmhouse Christmas decor ideas to fall decor ideas. Easy to source and inexpensive, pine cones are often used to embellish Christmas wreath ideas and Christmas garlands, but you could also use them in your Christmas table decor or to embellish gifts. As well as being an eco-friendly, plastic-free alternative to decorating, they can be 'saved in a dry spot, to reuse year after year,' says florist Philippa Craddock. 

'I love to add pinecones to decorations – especially during the holidays. Bringing natural elements of the outdoors into your home lends a rustic feel to your space that looks classic but always fresh,' says interior designer Phillip Thomas.

1. Add pine cones to your Christmas wreath

Fresh Christmas wreath with pine cones by Philippa Craddock

(Image credit: Philippa Craddock)

'Pinecones look beautifully effective when added to your tree amongst decorations or attached to a wreath for your door, they add a sense of natural charm,' says florist Philippa Craddock

'Simply attach to branches using garden twine or reusable wire, wrapped around the base of the pinecone, and secured carefully to branches.' Alternatively, if you fancy a bigger project, learn how to make a pine cone wreath from scratch.

2. Decorate the stairs with a pine cone garland

pine cone Christmas garland

(Image credit: Styling Katrin Cargill / photographs Adrian Biscoe)

'Using branches with pinecones attached, or adding individual pinecones to branches, is a superb way to add additional shapes and textures to seasonal designs,' adds florist Philippa Craddock. Alternatively, you could team the two for a wonderfully sculptural and whimsical design as pictured above in a Christmas stair decor idea.

Here the floral designer has played with scale and paired birch branches with tiny pine cones with bunches of extra large pine cones to make a real statement of this staircase. The design is finished with large copper ribbons which add to the warm, rustic feel. 

3. Add pine cones to chair decorations

Pine cone decorations –Christmas chair decoration with pine cone

(Image credit: Future)

Embellishing the backs of chairs with a bunch of fresh fir branches is a lovely Christmas dining room decor idea that will make festive feasting extra special and bring a beautiful fresh fragrance into the room. For an extra flourish tie a pine cone decoration to the top along with a wired ribbon bow and a name tag to help guests find their places.

4. Bring natural charm to place settings

pine cones used on a table place setting

(Image credit: Sarah K)

'We love making our table decorations and tablescapes as natural as possible and using pine cones and beautiful fall-colored leaves is a great way to make it a bit more special, whether it's for fall table decor ideas or Christmas table decor ideas,' says Sarah Kostoris, founder of interior brand Sarah K. 'Scatter them along the middle of the table and add candles of different heights to create a warm glow.

'You could also add some small twigs of fir trees to make it even more natural. You could add bright red toadstools if you wanted to make it more of a woodland theme, or gold-painted pears or grapes and pomegranates for Christmas time.'

5. Style a festive display on a sideboard

pine cone decorations under glass domes

(Image credit: Future)

Placing pine cones and decorative Christmas ornaments under glass domes is an easy yet effective sideboard decor idea for a dining room, or you could try it as an entry table decor idea. For best results choose a mix of dome sizes and styles and set lights behind them so that they twinkle after dark. 

6. Add pine cones to your mantelpiece decor 

Pine cone Christmas garland on a mantelpiece

(Image credit: Pine cone Christmas garland on a mantelpiece)

To bring rustic charm to your mantel decor ideas try a garland peppered with pine cone decorations, dried oranges and hessian ribbons. If you're planning on making your own garland try to create an organic look advises Philippa Craddock.

'Place the pinecones randomly along a branch and within the design, some placed individually and group a few together into clumps; this mimics nature, and will help you to bring the outdoors inside, in an elegant way.'

7. Add pine cones to potpourri

pine cone and orange pot pourri

(Image credit: Richard Gadsby/Future)

For an easy traditional Christmas decor idea that will also bring a subtle warming winter fragrance try filling bowls with pine cones, dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks. If you love decorating with vintage it's a wonderful way to showcase your favorite dishes and bowls – footed bowls or urns work particularly well. 

8. Decorate candle plates

White company cozy sitting area with candles and pine cones

(Image credit: The White Company)

There's nothing like the warming glow and beautiful winter fragrance of seasonal candles to make the home feel cozy and welcoming during the long dark winter nights. Arranging scented pillar candles of different sizes on trays or wooden platters is a lovely way to display them and adding in pine cone decorations with sprigs of foliage is an easy styling tip as done here by The White Company. Use them to brighten up side tables or as a Christmas table centerpiece idea.

9. Fill vases with pine cone decorations

Fall mantel ideas with brpown glass bottle and candle holder, pine cones in a hurricane vase and tree painting

(Image credit: Simon Bevan)

Filling vases with pinecones is an easy way to bring height to a seasonal display and can work beautifully for fall mantel decor ideas or for Christmas. For a rustic look try handblown apothecary vases. 

10. Use pine cone decorations on gifts

Gold wrapped Christmas gifts decorated with sprayed pine cone decorations

(Image credit: Future)

Make your thoughtful gifts for friends and family extra special by adding a hand-crafted flourish to your gift wrapping ideas. For a quick yet effective embellishment collect leaves and small birch pine cones from a winter walk and spray them with gold paint in a well-ventilated area. Then, once dry, either bind or tie them to the top of your gift for that personal touch. 

What can you do with pine cones?

Pine cones are a simple and sustainable way to decorate your home for fall or Christmas. They can easily be collected on a walk and then dried and preserved for use in seasonal decorating and crafting projects. They are often used to embellish festive wreaths and garlands using floristry wire but also look beautiful used loose to add a flourish to table decor, place settings or displayed in bowls or vases on side tables and mantelpieces.

How do you preserve pine cones to decorate?

Pine cones can be used to decorate by simply being left to dry out for 2-3 days, however, some prefer to bake them to speed up the process. 

To preserve pine cones for decorating first remove any debris with a soft brush. Next, wash them in warm water and a touch of white vinegar, then leave them submerged for around 30 minutes.

Dry off the water with a towel and leave for a couple of hours. Next place the cones on a baking sheet then pop them in the oven at 392°F (200°C) and bake for around 90 minutes, but be sure to check they do not burn. Once they have completely cooled they are ready for crafting. 

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is a contributor to Homes & Gardens. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.