13 Fabulous and Simple Holiday Decorating Ideas

A seasoned event planner shares her easy tips for adding festive touches

Our easy holiday decorating guide is here!

Pour the cocoa, light the fire and unravel the lights: It’s time to deck the halls for the holidays. Krystel Stacey, founder and creative director at Couture Events, lives in a condo in Coronado with her husband Joel Tien, their 20-month-old daughter Everthyne Grayce and their dog Rue. So she can’t go too big with any decor. “I like to step outside of what’s typical in terms of colors,” Krystel says. “For me, the prettiest decor helps to create a warm, inviting environment—no matter how large or small a space you’re working with.” Here, she shows you how to stylishly sprinkle the holidays in every room of your home.


Mix faux and real

Spread the greenery throughout your home with some live plants. Krystel loves non-holiday-specific ferns and pothos and combines them with fake evergreen trees and boxwood garlands. Others to try include rosemary, eucalyptus and white blooms like roses and hydrangeas. Krystel dresses shelves, countertops, even the floor in her daughter’s room with small trees, mini wreaths and vases of green.

Cover containers

Wrap the pots that seasonal florals and plants come in with a piece of linen fabric and tie it with a bow. “A neutral fabric elevates any grocery-store plant and makes it look elegant.”

Display a collection

Krystel loves cake stands and has quite the selection, but for the holidays, she displays an edited assortment. “Pick some that share something in common—a color, shape or size,” she recommends. For this holiday vignette, Krystel highlighted her classic white ones, but she says all glass or silver and pink would be pretty.

Repurpose items

The skirt Krystel typically wraps around her tree isn’t a ready-made-store-bought item but rather two wooly scarves she layers on top of each other (which also creates a comfy seat for Rue). Look inside your closet. You might choose to use the hand-me-down wrap your grandmother gave you, your husband’s old sweater, even a neutral flannel you have.

Pick a theme

Krystel decorates her tree with white woodland creatures each year, but you can tell a cohesive story using a minimal color palette or hanging items that have something in common such as vintage mercury ornaments or items from your travels.

Warm up with textiles

Faux fur, silky velvets, soft flannels and nubby wools instantly cozy up a space. Strategically pepper wintry throws, pillows and rugs around your home—on ottomans, sofas, beds, dining chairs and underfoot.


Stay true to your roots

A San Diego native, Krystel loves incorporating seaside elements in her holiday vignettes. Tuck starfish and other shells into a fairy light-festooned garland, faux pheasant feathers in a wreath or succulents into a centerpiece, for example.

Activate the fireplace

It’s typical to see birch logs or candles neatly organized where a fire usually burns, but Krystel outfitted her faux mantel with Styrofoam bricks then hung ledges to set out a few holiday children’s books for Ever to read.

TIP: Invite the holidays into a kid’s room too. Try tabletop trees and a small strand of battery-operated fairy lights that you can wrap anywhere. Bring in cozy layers  with sheepskin rugs and furry pillows.

Rent if you don’t own

“I don’t have special dinnerware outside of my everyday dishes, and I don’t have the storage room either,” Krystel admits. So when she wants to set a festive table, she rents dishes locally from Not My Dish.

TIP: Krystel suggests channeling your inner fashionista when setting the holiday table this year. Take a cue from the runways, and dress each place in black, white, blush and mixed metallics. Don’t own the right pieces? Rent them, she says.

Make your own linens

You could buy a set of cloth napkins for your holiday meal, or you could buy a piece of neutral linen fabric and cut it into squares. “No sewing necessary; the raw edge looks rustic but modern,” Krystel says. To give each setting a finished look, Krystel wrapped her handmade napkins using vintage ribbon she bought years ago at a Paris flea market.

Use clippings

Krystel walked around her home with a pair of scissors, snipping stems from her cascading ferns to put in bud vases down her table and to tuck into the napkins at each place setting.


Cut the wrapping

Forgo the paper this year, and hide gifts inside pretty, reusable boxes instead. Embellish them with decorative ribbons and tags.

Let there be light

Burn candles—a few aromatic; most unscented—everywhere to give your home an inviting warm glow.

And check out this video of our editor and Krystel discussing holiday decor ideas on KUSI TV’s Good Morning San Diego!

Categories: Entertaining, Home Design