One-Day Christmas Home Makeover

Designer Stephen Saint-Onge took just one day to transform this ho-hum home into a Christmas wonderland. Try the easy and affordable ideas he used to add holiday cheer to your spaces.


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living room before
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Living Room Before

    Before Stephen touched the room, it was a typical suburban family spot: bare mantel, cozy floral pillows, and relics of the summer vacation on the coffee table. Stephen photographed his design process so you could replicate his simple ideas in your home.

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Step 1: Rearrange

    The current furniture arrangement was great for conversation, but Stephen wanted to create a place for family to gather around the fireplace and Christmas tree. He moved the couch to the side and separated the overstuffed chairs to make room for the tree.

    Estimated Time: 1 hour

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Accessorize the Coffee Table

    For an easy coffee table look, Stephen replaced the bowl of seashells with a wooden tray holding old holiday books and an easy centerpiece. To make the centerpiece, trim pine branches and place in bowl; fill with clementines; toss in a few handfuls of dried cranberries or cherries.

    Estimated Time: 10 minutes

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Mantel: Option 1

    Line the mantel with pine boughs, slipping in pinecones and green apples to your taste. Anchor each side of the mantel with shaped topiaries (found at hobby and crafts stores).

    Estimated Time: 25 minutes

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Mantel: Option 2

    For an ever faster approach to mantel decor, skip the apples and pinecones and place urns on each end of the mantel. Wrap a store-bought garland around the urn and spell out holiday words with letter blocks.

    Estimated Time: 15 minutes

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Another Easy Centerpiece

    Stephen went to the kitchen for the goods for this flower arrangement. First, he filled a vase with purple grapes. Then he placed bay leaves between the glass and the grapes and filled the vase with water. You can try cranberries or kumquats, too. Click to the next slide to see how he topped it.

    Estimated Time: 5 minutes

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Top the Fruited Vase

    Top the fruit with a few white roses and pine boughs. This is a great way to inexpensively decorate with flowers during the holidays.

    Estimated Time: 10 minutes

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Hang Wreaths

    Rather than change window treatments, Stephen opted to hang unadorned green wreaths from each window. The look is simple and sweet with a country vibe.

    Estimated Time: 20 minutes

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Themed Christmas Tree

    Stephen carried the subtle country theme to the tree by filling it with miniature birdhouse ornaments crafted from recycled barn board. Whether or not you decorate your tree with a theme, choosing just one or two types of ornaments is a timesaver because you don't have to worry as much about placement.

    Estimated Time: 1 hour

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Living Room After

    All the elements come together for a festive and cozy holiday look. Add pillows for seasonal color.

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Dining Room Before

    Stephen saw the dining room table as the room's primary spot for decoration. Neutral wall and rug coloring allows for free reign.

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Option 1: Mirror and Candle Centerpiece

    Find a long mirror to use as a base for the centerpiece. The mirror will reflect light and shimmer during your holiday dinner.

    Estimated Time: 5 minutes

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Add Candles

    Place pillar candles of varying heights on the mirror. Use as many or as few as you want. Stephen chose white to simplify the color scheme, but you can use red, green, or any other color candle to match your decor.

    Estimated Time: 15 minutes

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Finishing Touches

    Loosely place pine boughs between the candles and accent with clementines.

    Estimated Time: 15 minutes

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Option 2: Green Apples with Candles

    For another look entirely, place green apples in large glass containers; tuck sprigs of pine between the apples. Fill one with Christmas balls of varying sizes.

    Estimated Time: 15 minutes

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Spread from the Center

    Move the candles off the mirror base and place the containers on the mirror. Tuck small ornaments into the pine boughs.

    Estimated Time: 10 minutes

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Option 3: Green Apple Buffet

    When lots of hands will be moving around the table, as in a buffet, remove the candles altogether and fill in the gaps with a little more greenery and ornaments.

    Estimated Time: 10 minutes

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Option 4: Lantern Centerpiece

    Spread pine boughs across the table, dotting with pinecones, green apples, and glass ball ornaments. Place pillar candles and candlesticks in lanterns and place on table.

    Estimated Time: 20 minutes

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Dining Room After

    Stephen repeated his idea from the living room by hanging wreaths on each window in the dining room.

    Estimated Time: 20 minutes

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Foyer Before

    Stephen saw the foyer as the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drinks buffet.

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Step 1: Clear the Surface

    Stephen began by taking everything out of the foyer, leaving only the bare essentials: a buffet, a mirror, and a lamp.

    Estimated Time: 10 minutes

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Step 2: Add Color

    Repurpose a table runner as a tablecloth to protect your furniture and add color.

    Estimated time: 2 minutes

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Step 3: Layer Stemware

    Line up stemware and add dishes of fresh fruit for your guests to add to their drinks.

    Estimated Time: 20 minutes

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Step 4: Make It Even Better

    Sprinkle pomegranates or berries between the stemware and add votive candles for an even more festive look.

    Estimated Time: 5 minutes

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Merry Welcome

    Don't forget the front door! A few easy touches make it festive: Add a seasonal doormat; fill plant urns with pine boughs; place a few lanterns on the front stoop; and prop snowshoes or other pieces of winter paraphernalia at the door.

    Estimated Time: 30 minutes

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Front-Door Wreath

    To tie your decorations together, add Christmas tree ornaments to a store-bought wreath. Hang on a nail, using brightly colored ribbon if you like.

    Estimated Time: 20 minutes

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Resources

    Get Stephen's Christmas look with items from these companies:

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About Stephen

    Stephen's keen understanding of the homeowner has moved him into the spotlight in recent years through his work on television and in magazines. This understanding, accompanied by his friendly, approachable, and creative style, is making design accessible to everyone -- no matter who they are, where they are, or what their budget may be.

    Good home design has the power to change lives. www.stephensaint-onge.com

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