Deck the Walls

’twas the week before Christmas, and in one local house
A decorator fretted with no time to carouse.
Though dazzling and elegant, one thing caused despair:
The house’s walls were still stark, white, and bare!

Has this ever happened to you? Just days or even hours before your holiday party or family get-together is set to start, have you looked around your home and realized you were missing a little something? Many of my family members are excellent decorators, but they always seem to neglect the walls in favor of trees, toys, and trinkets. If you’ve suddenly found yourself in this situation, don’t fret! Here are three bright last-minute holiday decorating ideas you can use to spruce up the walls in any room for your upcoming party or gathering, all for less than $100.

Let there be light

When the holidays roll around, it’s common to see lights everywhere: on porches, roofs, railings, and trees (especially trees!). But these dangling strings of bulbs aren’t often utilized as interior decor, perhaps because there’s a fear that they’ll look tacky or out of place. We beg to differ! You can instantly add a warm, almost magical touch to a room by placing lights on the tops of windows, around the top of the walls, or above a fireplace or mantle.

To decorate with lights indoors, make sure you choose mini string or LED lights that are designed for interior usage (like those you would hang on a Christmas tree). You’ll probably want to seek out the battery-powered strips: these typically cost around $10, run on common AA batteries, are shorter lengths, and can be switched off when not in use. Look for neutral, easy-on-the-eyes colors like white, gold, and silver — although if you really want to have some fun or entertain the kids, go all-out and pick up a set that changes colors! String the lights anywhere you please, and tuck the battery pack away somewhere hidden but still accessible. Switch the lights on at night to create a pretty glow in an otherwise dark room, or keep them on during an evening party to add warmth and cheer.

No room for a tree? No problem

I love Christmas, but having spent the last few years living in rented space, I just don’t have room for a full-sized tree. I do, however, have an abundance of terribly blank, white walls. If you’re in my situation, or just haven’t had time to get a tree this year, a Christmas tree wall decal might be the perfect solution!

This unique decorating idea is catching on in recent years, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a holiday tree decal to your liking. Browse online or in local stores until you spot one that will fit on your wall and suits your personal taste, like this elegant Christmas Tree Quote decal from RoomMates. Look for decals that are both removable and repositionable, so you can take them down when the holiday is over and use them again next year.

Once you’ve found your tree, simply assemble it your wall, smooth it out (using a squeegee or seam roller if necessary or recommended by the retailer), and add “ornaments” in the form of additional stickers. Then step back and admire your handiwork! Kids love helping with this project, and you might find the complete absence of ornaments that can be dropped, stepped on, or broken… well, refreshing. But who’s to say you can’t have the best of both worlds? If you have the space, try a real tree in one room and a decal in another to carry the holiday theme all throughout your home.

Wallpaper to the rescue!

If you’re only days away from the holiday and looking at your bare walls with a growing sense of panic, wallpaper is probably the last thing you’re going to think about. But as we’ve covered before, wallpaper can be a surprisingly versatile — and temporary — decorating solution in a number of spaces.

Here’s an easy way to create non-permanent holiday decor with wallpaper that your guests will love. First, find some wallpaper online or in a store that suits your existing holiday decor. Look for classic colors like red, green, silver, gold, and white… or experiment a little with rich purples and soothing grays. You can buy a double roll of one pattern for between $30 and $80, or order large samples of different patterns and colorways direct from the manufacturer for a couple dollars per sample. Once you have your paper in hand, it’s time to put it on display! Insert the wallpaper into picture frames and hang them on the wall as you please. You can purchase new frames for this purpose, or just slide the paper into existing frames, over top of the photos that are already there. When the holiday’s over, just pull out the paper or remove the frames from the wall and save it all for next year. This is also a great way to use paper left over from a recent decorating project.

Off the wall: bonus decorating ideas

With your walls out of the way, here are a few more holiday decorating ideas we love — and that you can use at the very last minute! The Inspired Room suggests these two minute winter candles that can be made with epsom salts and mason jars, while Uncommon put together some pretty trees on pedestals created with styrofoam cones, burlap, and twine (looks like a really fun project!). Better Homes and Gardens has a gallery of some cost-effective ideas, including a pillow wrapped with ribbon and bells, and The Yellow Cape Cod suggests filling an apothecary jar with ornaments. Finally, if you’re still stumped, Midwest Living has a list of 29 creative ideas that are easy to accomplish without emptying your wallet.

Have fun decorating, and from all of us here at York, may your holidays be warm and bright!