How to deck all the halls without spending all the money

I love decorating and I love Christmas. But I don’t love spending so much money we have to eat beans and gruel for the month. So when it comes to decorating FOR Christmas, I’m a less is more kind of gal. (Did I just type “gal”? Sorry. Gloss over that.)

Despite current Instagram myth, it IS possible to deck the halls without bankrupting yourself. You don’t have to buy a whole new set of bedding for each room, re-wallpaper the lounge in a festive print and invest in a whole new set of cushions. You really, really don’t.

But what you DO need to do, if you want to embrace Christmas at home is get creative, invest in one or two key pieces that you can reuse year after year and, most importantly, nail the lighting.

Here are some of the ways we manage to give our house a festive makeover without going crazy with the cash:

Buy one or two special pieces that will last forever

As a kid, some of my favourite decorations were the old ones. We used to have Christmas posters (I think they were actually posh wrapping paper my parents’ had re-purposed) that were displayed year after year, along with a slightly battered fairy who sat on top of the tree. But I liked these familiar pieces and got excited about unwrapping them each year, rediscovering old festive friends.

Now I’m a mum myself, we’re beginning our own decorating traditions. Each year I tend to buy one little item that will be wrapped up and treasured for years to come. These pieces stand out alongside the bulk-bought baubles, and give the tree a bit of individual personality. I never go crazy with decorations and, for me, the most I’ve ever spent in one Christmas on decorations (not including the Christmas tree) is £50.

I particularly love the decorations at Cox and Cox this year. The understated copper accent ones are my favourite (I’m a traditionalist when it comes to the tree and go for metallic, red and white decorations) but if you’re more into kitsch, retro designs or prefer a bit of colour they have those options too.

Make your own (you don’t need a Blue Peter badge!)

You know when you get a real Christmas tree you sometimes have to saw some of the end off the bottom of the trunk? We had a bit of random Christmas tree trunk hanging about in the log pile last year so we sawed it into smaller rounds and made some decorations out of it. A chunkier round with a hole drilled out of the middle and spray painted can be a cute candle holder, or saw it even thinner and drill a hole in it to make your own tree decoration.

Another idea is to tie a group of twigs together, spray paint them (or leave natural if you prefer a rustic look) and hang these from your tree or display on a mantelpiece. It’s so easy to do and costs next to nothing.

Use nature (it’s free!)

Every year we also have a collection of spray-painted pinecones which we reuse at Christmas and dot around on shelves in clusters or as a table centrepiece. In the past I’ve put a dab of PVA glue on the tips and rolled them in glitter – which can even be a fun craft activity with the kids if you can bear the mess.

You don’t have to actually do anything to your finds though. A collection of pinecones on their own, around a few tealight candles can look really pretty. Or scatter them through a bowl with some sticks of cinnamon and baked orange slices for a homemade festive pot-pourri. And while we’re on the subject of oranges, we also (I say “we”, I mean “I”) do homemade spiced orange pomander balls to put on the mantelpiece. It’s literally an orange studded with cloves – it smells amazing and adds a splash of jewelled colour to a mantle display.

Get clever with lighting

I string up fairylights everywhere at Christmas. And I mean everywhere. They go along the banisters on the landing upstairs, we have at least two sets on the tree, another set around the breakfast bar window into the kitchen and then more in the living room – although the downstairs is kind of open-plan so you can see twinkly lights all over the place. This is an unapologetic approach to festive lighting because, when it comes to lighting, the more twinkles the better I reckon.

Last year I went a bit nuts and bought a light-up stag head for Christmas which we ended up loving so much we’ve kept it in the living room all year! There’s one very similar here, if you’re in the market for a lit stag silhouette.


Tell me, how do you plan to jazz up your home this Christmas without spending all the cash? Any more ideas for me?




Thanks to Cox & Cox for commissioning this post. For more details about how I work with brands head over to my Work With Me page or send me an email at 


  1. Ghislaine Forbes says

    We go into the paddock and find a suitable branch and bring it inside and put some lights on it. Hey presto free Christmas decorations! We used to have a proper Christmas tree but now we are HOME ALONE there seems little point. Love ma x

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