Smart Solutions: Holiday hacks make your home festive in a jiffy

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Holiday hacks are back, so you don’t have to deck the halls when a few creative touches will do. It’s easy to make your home feel merry and bright in no time with some simple tricks from my presentation during the recent Dish and Design event at Leon & Lulu in Clawson.

A few different holiday decorating ideas from decorator turned freelance writer Jeanine Matlow at the Home for the Holidays installment of the Detroit News Dish and Design event at Leon & Lulu in Clawson, Mich. on Dec. 5, 2018.   
(Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)

First, you might feature a seasonal theme for a holiday buffet by working some festive edibles into your displays. Fill a cake stand with red and green peppers and arrange fresh asparagus or red licorice in a small pitcher or vase.

For additional visual interest, add broccoli, artichokes and other textured veggies to the table. A combination of red and green apples in a big wooden bowl signals the spirit of the season.

Decorate your dining chairs with ugly Christmas sweaters or have them made into colorful pillows for a sofa or bed.

Add a little history to your surroundings with vintage pieces like a classic red wagon to hold a small tree or an old wooden sled filled with holiday gifts.

Sometimes all you need for Christmas is a little repetition to make a big statement. Instead of a traditional centerpiece, a series of the same Santa figures or glittery trees makes a great tablescape.   

Step outside your comfort zone, whether that means a neutral color scheme for your holiday décor or a more dramatic palette of black and white. You can still stick to the standard red and green and branch out in a smaller space like a powder room.

Dress your statues or stuffed animals for the occasion with a Santa hat or a festive headband. You can also add dimension to a tray that features characters like Nutcrackers by attaching a small bowtie to embellish one.

Cover an end table or a stool with a seasonal scarf or let one double as a runner for your dining table. Buy holiday socks or gloves to hold utensils before giving them away as party favors.

It helps to have some shimmery pieces to admire during the day since most people wait until dark to light the Christmas tree. Shiny silver and gold accents add a little bling to your rooms.   

Treat your overnight visitors to a Christmas stocking on the guest room door filled with snacks and other essentials.

Anything from a Christmas stocking to an oven mitt makes the perfect tote bag for hostess gifts. Fill them with a bottle of wine or some baked goods when heading out to holiday parties.

Wrap your gifts with some colorful newspaper like a Homestyle cover story that features a holiday theme. 

Remove the jackets from your coffee table books to find a few covers in silver or gold. Display one on an easel or turn them into platforms for seasonal adornments.

Place unrelated objects together, like my daughter did when she topped a fake plant with an ornament headband for a fun touch.

Not every gesture has to be grand. It’s often the smallest efforts that get the biggest response like a teacup filled with miniature candy canes.  

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