Christmas decorating 101: stairs + working with garland

Welcome to Christmas Decorating 101! 
{Please click on any image for the source.}

After listening to the questions you submitted to my Facebook page I am even more excited to dive in to the different ways of decorating your home for the holidays.  I have many posts lined up to share with you.  If you think of new questions as we go simply ask them in the comment section or on Facebook
 Let's get started!

Let's begin with my favorite tools.  

1) Clear command hooks.  They come in all different sizes and allow you to put decorations anywhere: hang wreaths on mirrors, add garland to any wall, hang ornaments on windows.
2)  Garland.  Oh how I love thee.  And this includes pine branches or swag.  Whatever you like to call it, I don't think you can have enough.  As you'll see below, garland works everywhere.
3) Ornaments.  I recommend choosing one color scheme and sticking with it.  Especially if you don't want to spend a ton of money.  I like to use whites and metallic ornaments, but any scheme will do.  The easy part is that the stores tend to organize their ornaments into colors. This makes your life easy!  Just remember.  Ornaments are not just for the Christmas tree!
4) Candle wreaths are the perfect size.  They work great on windows, on table tops, and in groupings on the wall.  
5) White lights.  They are my preference.  I just believe they give you more freedom in decorating the rest of your house.  
6)  Bring the outdoors in.  Pinecones, Branches, anything from outside can come in and looks fantastic.

When you think of stairways at Christmas I'd say most of us conjure up images of garland and bows.  This is a gorgeous look.  But the live bows can shed as they dry.  Little kids can knock them around as they run up the stairs.  Live garland on the stairs may not be the right fit for everyone.  

Consider other options.  Like a little sparkle or tinsel.

Preserved Boxwood is amazing because it's neither live or fake, but somewhere in between. ;-) I love how it looks mixed with these ribbons and ornaments.  Take notice that they chose three colors to decorate the whole house.  You don't want a green and blue stairway with a red and green Christmas tree in the background.

This may be one of my favorite looks for the stairs.  Candle wreaths are the perfect solution for this area.  You could add a few bells and bows or just leave them as they are.  This is where those command hooks work wonders.

Ornaments aren't just for the tree.  Chances are you already have a few ornaments and ribbon in your Christmas bin.  Nothing like free stairway decorations that feel fresh and festive.

Pincones bring the outdoors inside.  I tend to like more contrast, so I would probably spray paint these pinecones white or metallic, but either way they make your home feel special.

This is the stairs at our old house.  You can take a Christmas tour of our last place here.  I used candle sized wreaths from Horrocks with shatter-proof vintage looking ornaments from Target.  

Can you imagine coming down stairs draped in lights on Christmas morning?  Pretty spectacular.  Just like the ornaments, lights aren't only for the tree.

If you decide to use fake garland on your stairs, then I recommend you add embellishments.  They can be beaded garland or ribbon that you have extra of, or you can pick out a large bundle of ornaments/decorations in ONE or TWO colors.  

Don't forget about paper garland.  I'm adding a ton of it to my house this year, and you can easily add it to your stairs.  

I love everything about this picture, but it looks like they live in a much warmer climate than I do.  The texture of the garland gets me every time.  

Now let's officially talk garland.  Yes, use it on your mantel.  Use it on your stairs.  But don't limit yourself to those places.  And don't limit yourself to using the traditional garland.

This is a fairly simple mantle that just wouldn't be the same without the greens.  Wouldn't wrapped presents look pretty in that basket instead of pillows?  I may need to do this at my house.

Most of us have probably tried garland lying on our mantel, but I like this example of bringing it up high.  Changes the whole look.

Again, bringing the garland up high and wide makes such a grand statement.  

The beauty of garland is that it works everywhere.  Around mirrors.  Around your deer heads. ;-)  Garland makes everywhere Christmas.

Don't neglect your light fixtures.  Garland works here as well.  I don't have the typical chandelier over our dining room table anymore, so now I just hang ornaments with white yarn.  Love it.

Garland made from ornaments feels so festive!  Right?  Many stores carry these in numerous colors.  Don't be shy people.  Drape it over windows, a piano, down a dining room table, over you bedroom dresser.  

What about threading cotton balls?  This would be a great project for the older kids.  I especially love the idea of hanging this "snow" over their windows.  (command hooks are calling your name!)

Isn't this marshmallow garland sweet?  Another great project for the kiddos to do with you.  

Sheet music always feels like a celebration and a bit vintage.  Pull out your scissors and glue sticks and get busy.

Last Sunday I started cutting white paper while we watched football games and my son used the glue stick.  Easy, easy, easy way to dress up a large space for zero dollars.

Wondering how to dress up your kitchen for Christmas?  Garland, garland, garland.

A few branches over the sink look beautiful.  Rosemary plants work as mini-Christmas trees.

I'm going to do a whole post on making your table beautiful for Christmas but this garland with citrus added is a favorite.  

You may not have considered  orange, yellow, and green as Christmas colors, but citrus works beautifully.  It's all about bringing the outdoors inside.

If you add garland around a door frame, embellish it with your holiday cards.  This is such a personal touch.

Remember making snowflakes in elementary school?  Sometimes the sweetest decorations only cost your time.  

Pom Pom garland adds a fresh look to an otherwise traditional mantel, but would be fabulous wrapped around your tree, swagged down the stairs, or even across bookshelves.

Thank you for reading the first installment of Christmas Decorating 101! 
For the second edition in this series click here.

If you are interested in working together to create a home you truly love,
click here for more information.  I can even help this Christmas.


  1. Abby! I've been following your blog for a couple months now but not sure if I've ever left a comment. UNTIL NOW! Hehe. Just wanted to say I see we have a LOT in common..especially our love for Christmas and decorating in general! And we're in the same neck of the woods. I live in Holland :)

    If you get a minute, pop on over to see my blog...I'll also be giving my home a Christmas tour on Dec 1 so make sure to check back then too!


  2. Oh my Christmas land heaven! I'm sooooo stealing, er, following your advice! So many good ideas bubbling up thanks to this post! Thanks, lady!!!

  3. I love the garland around the doorway with the Christmas cards attached. I'm going to scope out my doorways now :)

  4. Great post - inspiring images!

  5. Great post with so many images i've never seen before, I haven't started my decorating yet but you gave me some ideas....

  6. Such a great post, Abby!! So much Christmas goodness!!! I've started raiding my magnolia tree and using it to fill in my fake garland, love it! And now that we have a Trader Joes, I get to take advantage of their cheap real wreaths and swags!!

  7. great inspiration post. i'm totally pinning this bad boy. :)

  8. Love the banister decorations! I wrapped ours in lights, garlands and ribbon and I love it :)

  9. I LOVE this post!! Totally inspiring. The garlands are so pretty, and so many different ways to use them. Makes me want to get started on my house.


Abby Manchesky Interiors is a boutique design firm based in Grand Rapids, MI. Combining the new traditional, vintage and a dash of the unexpected is her ideal. Contact Abby Manchesky Interiors for more information on available interior design services for clients near and far. abbyminteriors@gmail.com | 616.719.9400


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