Mistakes to avoid when hanging Christmas decorations – 6 errors that can cause damage

6 decorating mistakes that could necessitate a home makeover after Christmas – what not to do when DIY hanging Christmas decorations to preserve your interiors

Hanging Christmas decorations mistakes to avoid that can damage your home
(Image credit: Cathy Nordstrom, Fanny Radvik / Nkuku / Sarah Kaye Representation LTD)

It's officially the time to get your home prepared for the festivities ahead, and hanging Christmas decorations is an instrumental part of adoring your home for the festive season. However, many homeowners discover when taking their decorations back down that they have made some DIY hanging mistakes that have damaged their homes.

By being mindful of your Christmas decor installation choices, you can strike a balance between creating a festive atmosphere and maintaining the visual appeal of your living spaces when the holidays are over.

Before you and all the family delve into your Christmas decoration box and start hanging them around your home, ensure you are aware of the mistakes that could damage your home.

Mistakes to avoid when hanging Christmas decorations that can damage your home

To preserve your home's integrity while decking your home for the holiday, choose the right tools for the job and be mindful of electrical and structural limits.

Taking the right precautions and planning these tasks with safety and care in mind can ensure that your decorations have a lasting impact, but just not on your home. 

1. Improper decor positioning

Living room with large wreath on wall, checkered carpet and patterned sofa


Improperly placed decorations can damage your home, leading to scratched or stained surfaces. This may occur due to the abrasive nature of ornaments on walls and delicate furniture, or string lights acting as tripping or fire hazards.

'Placement is key to both aesthetic appeal and safety. Consider traffic flow, door swings, and furniture placement to ensure decorations enhance the space without posing a hazard,' advises Olivia Tapper, head of operations at Pet Portraits. 'Also, if you have pets, it's worth considering their reach.' 

This will not only ensure you do not damage your home but also that your favorite decorations remain in perfect condition.

2. Using inappropriate hanging tools

Wreaths, hanging paper decorations

(Image credit: Layered Lounge)

It's important to hang decorations properly to avoid Christmas decoration problems, like peeling paint and wallpaper.

'When hanging decorations, it's crucial to utilize the correct tools and techniques suitable for various surfaces. Opt for removable hooks or specialized adhesive strips designed for temporary decorations,' recommends Angela Rubin, cleaning expert at Hellamaid. 'These alternatives offer secure attachment without causing damage upon removal.' 

We recommend these adhesive hooks from Amazon for lighter decorations. However, while these should not lift paint or wallpaper after being removed, this is not a guarantee, so use them with caution.

'Additionally, avoid using permanent tapes, glues, or adhesives that can leave residue or damage surfaces when removing decorations,' advises Ilia Mundut, founder and CEO of Hefty Berry. Heavy-duty tape might seem like a quick fix for hanging garlands or stockings, but it can peel off paint or wallpaper when removed.

Choose hanging solutions made for the particular weight and kind of decoration, and make sure they are free of damage before using them. Adhesive strips, such as wall tape, from Amazon, can be suitable for lighter items, and for hanging heavier decorations, proper wall anchors or picture-hanging hooks are necessary to prevent wall damage.

By taking care you can ensure a safe and damage-free setup, preventing any unsightly holes or tears on your walls. 

Lenox 2022 Annual Gemmed Snowflake Ornament | was $60.00, now $21.22 at Amazon

Lenox 2022 Annual Gemmed Snowflake Ornament | was $60.00, now $21.22 at Amazon

3. Not checking the weight capacity

Cozy christmas dining room with large wreath on wall above fireplace

(Image credit: Cathy Nordstrom, Fanny Radvik)

Don't ignore the weight limits of your decorations; distributing the weight of decorations evenly is vital, especially for heavier items like wreaths or garlands.

'Always check the weight limits and use appropriate hanging hardware,' advises Ilia Mundut. 'Hanging decorations on fixtures like curtain rods, light fixtures, or branches without considering their weight capacity can lead to damage or accidents.'

'You should also avoid hanging heavy decorations solely by a single hook or nail, as this could cause damage to the wall,' adds Angela Rubin. 'Instead, distribute the weight by using multiple attachment points or support brackets to prevent strain on one spot.'

Balsam Hill Gilded Leaf Magnolia Pre Lit Artificial Garland | was $459.00, now $299.00 at Nordstrom

Balsam Hill Gilded Leaf Magnolia Pre Lit Artificial Garland | was $459.00, now $299.00 at Nordstrom

4. Not considering structural integrity

Calming, scand-inspired living room decorated for Christmas

(Image credit: Layered Lounge)

'If you are hanging Christmas decorations with nails, exercise caution to prevent potential damage not just to the walls but also to the underlying infrastructure,' says Thomas Goodman, home expert at MyJobQuote.

'Be mindful of the type of walls in your home. Plaster walls might require different hanging tools than drywall, for example,' says Olivia Tapper. 'Understanding your wall type can prevent unnecessary damage.'

'Additionally, improper hanging, especially on walls concealing pipes, can puncture or damage them,' warns Thomas Goodman. 'Any accidental drilling or nailing in the wrong spot might lead to significant water damage, disrupting festivities and necessitating costly repairs.'

Before hanging any drilling into walls or using nails assess the structure of your walls and make certain there are no hazards lying directly behind the wall.

5. Not using protective measures for delicate surfaces

Festive mantelpiece with stocking, mirror and greenery

(Image credit: Nkuku)

'Delicate surfaces, such as wooden furniture or mantelpieces, require protective measures when placing decorations,' says Angela Rubin. 'Use soft padding or felt protectors beneath heavy or abrasive items to prevent scratches or damage to surfaces.' You can find self-adhesive felt surface protectors at Amazon.

You should also never use hangers on these surfaces that will damage them. Before using hangers with adhesive materials you can test how the material will cope with these hangers being stuck on and taken off. This should be done in an inconspicuous area to determine whether this will cause damage. 

6. Hanging decorations too close to heat sources

Dining room decorated with christmas decorations, garland suspended over dining table

(Image credit: Simon Bevan Ltd)

'Placing decorations near heat sources such as fireplaces, heaters, or candles can pose fire risks,' warns Ilia Mundut. Keeping decorations a safe distance away from heat sources will prevent accidents, and protect your home and items from being damaged.


Is it bad to leave Christmas decorations outside for too long?

'While it's tempting to leave decorations up throughout the season, especially exterior lights, prolonged exposure to the elements can cause damage,' explains Roman Zrazhevskiy, founder and CEO of Mira Safety.

'Take down outdoor decorations promptly after the holiday season to prevent potential damage from weather conditions such as wind, snow, or rain, ensuring they remain in good condition for the following year.'

Improperly storing decorations can damage them, leading to broken ornaments or tangled lights. Use storage containers designed for holiday decorations and wrap delicate items carefully to prevent damage.

Carefully plan how you should best hang your Christmas decorations to avoid damaging your home or the decorations themselves.

Always follow manufacturer instructions for hanging items, especially for electrical items, including proper installation methods, weight requirements, information on voltage, and indoor and outdoor use.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.