Shiny Ways to Decorate with Ornaments

Holiday Gift Wrap
Deck the halls, the tree -- your whole house -- with these creative ways to use ornaments, new and old.

Ornaments in Glass Dishes

Decorating with ornaments -- whether they're brand-new or family heirlooms -- is one of Motherboard Moms' favorite holiday traditions, according to our research. And it's not just the tree that gets the ornamental touch. These 20 ideas will help you deck the whole house with your favorite festive baubles.

Create an elegant ornament display for your holiday mantel with a few footed glass containers and an array of colorful ornaments in different shapes and sizes. Stick with a color theme for cohesiveness, picking an accent color to make the display stand out. Place the ornament-filled dishes on your mantel amidst a garland for a classic look.

Ornamental Artwork

Gather your favorite Christmas ornaments and trim the boughs of a whimsical art piece. You can easily shape the tree, boughs, and ornament hooks from crafts wire. Hung inside a frame topped with a bow, glittery star, and computer-printed sentiment, the ornaments become the center of attention.

Quick-and-Easy Centerpiece

Add sparkle to your holiday table with this clever centerpiece. Decorate Christmas balls with stars, stripes, or circles using crafts glue and color-coordinated glitter. Glue the finished pieces to mirrored discs, available at crafts supply stores. Remove the hangers from the tops, add water, and insert buds and berries. Arrange on a pretty tray or scatter them along the center of your table.

Flight of Fancy

Use a variety of new and vintage items to create a small Christmas vignette that sings with pretty personality and spreads an infectious holiday spirit. All dressed up for the holidays, a foam bird perches atop a nest of vintage and new ornaments arranged in a silver bowl. Create the bejeweled bird by coating it with crafts glue and rolling it in fine silver glitter, or buy one readymade.

Ornamental Window Treatment

Bands of gold and silver Christmas ornaments drape across this undressed window frame. Attached in clusters with florist's wire to a garland, the ribbon of metallic baubles is suspended from elegant crystal-topped hooks on either side of the window.

Glass-Ball Topiary

A colorful mix of vintage and new glass ornaments in various sizes cover foam balls. Supported by ribbon-wrapped dowels, they form festive topiaries. Milk-glass vases add vintage charm, and a layer of decorative marbles hides the clay that anchors the dowels.

Easy Ornament Display

Sparkling clear candlesticks and vintage ornaments gather together to make a simple yet dazzling display. Choose candlesticks of different heights and ornaments of varying sizes to make the display shine at all levels. Use window cleaner to bring the candlesticks to a crystal-clear gleam before topping them with the ornaments.

Shimmering Chandelier

Turn up the glitz on your chandelier with inexpensive glass ornaments and garlands. Disassemble a beaded garland, then mix the beads with small glass ornaments around the light bases. For a bit more bling, swag shimmering garland across the chandelier arms.

Ornaments Under Glass

Show off your most precious and fragile vintage ornaments without putting them in jeopardy. Turn a glass cloche upside down and fill it carefully with ornaments of different sizes to get the most completely packed look. When you're satisfied with the arrangement, place a plate or silver saucer over the open end of the cloche, turn it over, and place on a mantel or sideboard for a sparkly focal point.

An Overflow of Ornaments

Here's a smart idea for those less-than-perfect ornaments that rarely make it onto your tree: give them a job as decorative Christmas mulch. Stand your tree in an old half-barrel (if a fresh tree, place it before filling the interior tree stand with water) and use your overflow ornaments as shimmering filler.

Cheerful Chair Backs

Dining chairs become pretty as a package wrapped with ribbons and adorned with ornaments. Pull a wide velvet ribbon layered with narrow ribbons around each wooden chair, hold it in place with repositionable adhesive dots, and tie it into a bow. Embellish the bow with a trio of vintage ornaments tied to narrow ribbons and hot-glued to a star-shape ornament.

Whimsical Christmas Mantel

On a living room mantel, a wreath collar embellished with ornaments and tiny rosebuds dresses a Staffordshire dog in holiday finery. Additional ornaments and greenery on the mantel and an everlasting boxwood wreath hung over a mirror reflect an easy-does-it Christmas style.

Balls of Light

An easy and affordable tweak like this can give your year-round decor sparkle for the holidays. Fill a hollow lamp base with Christmas balls that match your decorating color palette, and drape inexpensive rhinestone trim over the shade.

Make an Ornament Wreath

For a splash of color that packs a visual punch, create an ornament extravaganza from vintage or new Christmas baubles. Spray-paint a faux evergreen wreath white as your base; when dry, lay it flat and attach ornaments with a glue gun. Position the largest ornaments first, then fill in with smaller ones until the wreath is covered.

Picture Perfect

Layered frames are a unique way to give impact to a small item such as a keepsake ornament. When the frames match the wall color, the ornament comes into sharp focus. Simply hang a large frame on the wall, then suspend a smaller one in the center using wide ribbon. Tuck a swag of greens under the ribbon along the edge of the top frame and tie the ornament to the bow that holds the small frame.

Holiday Window Dressings

Add a pretty Christmas swag to your window treatments using large beaded garland. Drape a couple of garland strings over the curtain rod, securing them with tape on the back side of the rod. For a finishing touch—like the tassel on a drapery tieback—wire elegant glass ornaments to the garland ends and top them with greenery.

Flea Market Charm

Put a vintage ladder to work in your Christmas decorating. Wrap several rungs of the ladder with colorful satin ribbon. Using coordinating sheer ribbon, suspend several collectible ornaments from the rungs. Lean the ladder against a wall near the holiday tree, fireplace, or dining room sideboard.

Trimmed for the Season

Trees aren't the only things deserving a trimming at Christmas. Grab ribbons from your gift-wrap stash to suspend etched glass and silver ornaments from your dining room chandelier for a simply stunning effect.

Ornamental Place Setting

Ornament-adorned napkin rings keep a holiday table merry and bright. Tie a narrow ribbon around each ornament cap, then attach them to a wider ribbon tied around a cloth napkin. Velvet ribbon adds lushness and contrast to the shiny glass. Use a larger ornament as a place card by tying a printed nametag to the hanging ribbon. Place a rubber washer underneath the ball to keep it steady.

Primped Holiday Gift Wrap

Go beyond ribbon and bows to embellish your Christmas gifts. Tie on holiday ornaments (vintage pieces make a nice additional gift for a collector), evergreen sprays, and faux berries. Layer some of your wrapped packages with a complementary band of paper—it's a great way to use up scraps.

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