Solutions: Let one decorating hack lead to another

Jeanine Matlow

With so many seasonal obligations comes a mad dash to get everything done. That’s why holiday hacks can be helpful. These decorating shortcuts are easy to do and they can inspire others to try something new.

After doing a presentation on the topic during the recent Dish & Design event at the Royal Oak location of Scott Shuptrine Interiors, I was encouraged to share some pointers from that night. I’ve also added a few new tricks I have up my sleeve for this celebratory season.

Some festive decor can be created using everyday items you have at home, like a drinking glass with a stem that turns into a shapely candleholder when placed upside down. You can also experiment with glass bowls; even a tea cup will do.

In addition, these repurposed pieces can hold holiday ornaments, and a series of three inside a wreath makes a unique centerpiece. The best part about unexpected elements is their ability to spark conversations among guests who may have their own timesaving tips to share.

Another bonus is that one decorating hack often leads to another. For instance, you can take a small piece of art from a wall and place it on a flat surface to double as a coaster or tray for lightweight items like wine glasses and appetizers. Then you can grab a square or rectangular tray from a table and prop it on a shelf with a photo inside as a casual picture frame.

Seasonal tweaks might include a new way to display holiday cards, such as covering your kitchen table with glass for the personal greetings to go underneath, which makes for a festive presentation.

Wrap a wreath around a dinner plate instead of hanging it on the front door or get the same effect with the Hometown Berries and Bells Foliage Placemat from Pier 1 Imports.

On a similar note, dish towels with a seasonal theme like snowflakes can stand in as napkins for a sit-down dinner. They can also act as tissue paper in a gift bag while providing an extra present for the recipient.

Take a closer look at your containers, like a wine crate that can be turned sideways for a shadow box that better highlights your holiday displays. Create a neighborhood scene with miniature houses and other accents for a charming vignette.

Pair everyday items together for creative combinations, such as a clipboard on an easel to present a beverage menu in a bar area or a lantern filled with holiday ornaments instead of candles for a little twist.

Fold your throw blankets and drape them along the back of your dining chairs for a special embellishment that keeps your guests toasty if they get cold. Affordable holiday varieties also make great giveaways.

Lastly, fill a wicker basket with practical and edible treats to please all ages. This can also double as a colorful centerpiece when entertaining. Let each guest pick a prize, which can be anything from Scotch tape for wrapping those last-minute packages to candy canes and fuzzy socks. Whether you’re decorating or gifting, it’s the little things that count.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at