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Love the look of designer trees but loathe the costs?  Want to ‘Wow’ your guests this year without breaking the bank?  Check out our special guest blog for tips on stunning holiday décor from design and décor pro Melissa Laithwaite:

Designer trees are always stuffed to the brim with ornaments, textures and elegant colour schemes –  but budget-conscious design is easier than you think… you just have to think outside the box!

Ever considered a Charlie Brown tree?  Secure a leafless branch in a vintage bucket or plant pot and display a pared-down collection of your favorite ornaments secured with brightly coloured ribbon.  One strand of lights wrapped around the branch should do the trick and you can make a smaller table top version to save space, too!

If you prefer to have a big full tree on a budget, consider making big “filler” ornaments or bows out of unexpected materials.  For example, big paper “flowers” in your Christmas colours using tissue paper, paper grocery bags, or even recycled bedsheets (you can tie-dye the fabric in your holiday colours and make fabric ‘flowers’ with pinking shears).

Tulle or ribbon bows are another great way to fill your tree out (especially if you have an artificial tree) and give a complementary texture to shiny ornaments; it also makes a lovely garland.  You can use two colours, about 16″ wide and knot them in a creative way, and then tuck them into the tree in a spiral from the top down.  Tulle can be purchased inexpensively at the fabric store and it comes in a myriad of colours.

You can even use GARBAGE BAGS!  Cut different sized circles, gather and secure in the middle to create a pouf and then pull at the edges of the individual layers to create a ruffled organic texture.  White kitchen bags are cheap and will last for years.  The twist ties can secure the poufs and attach them to the tree.

If you want to have a themed tree, like “teddy bears” or “food/candy”, you can utilize a lot of household items which can be a lot less expensive than fancy ornaments… shop the thrift stores for wine glasses, wooden spoons, teddy bears etc.  Spray paint wooden utensils and tie them with a ribbon… Raid the kids rooms for soft toys and give each one a festive bow around the neck… you get the idea!

Already have a bunch  of holiday knick-knacks that you’re tired of?

Repurpose old décor by layering balls, ornaments and toys in a large glass vase.  You can even use a strand of lights in the vase if you’re going to place it near a power source.  This makes a fun centrepiece on a big table too.

If you have a huge collection of holiday ornaments that don’t ‘match’ – SPRAY PAINT them all the same colour!  There are many neat textures and colours of paint and you can sprinkle on some craft glitter while the paint is wet.  Tip: Hang all the items you want to paint on a laundry line in the garage and do two thin coats which will dry fast.

Melissa is a creative director at Greenscape Design & Décor in Vancouver, BC – over the years she has concocted a wide variety of designs, installations and projects with budgets across the board.

Don’t miss the companion ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ to Holiday Décor on a Budget – coming soon!

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