One-Day Christmas Home Makeover

041Stephen
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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living Room After

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

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.

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

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

Finishing Touches

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

Estimated Time: 15 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

Foyer Before

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

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

Step 2: Add Color

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

Estimated time: 2 minutes

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

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

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

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

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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