Frugal ways to get your home decor ready for the holidays

Festive but Frugal Holiday Decor

by Shaunna Privratsky

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'Tis the season for a frugal facelift for your home. If you are hosting a family gathering or party, you want your home to wow your guests, but your budget is already strained. These inexpensive renovations will brighten your home on a budget, and last longer than the Christmas tree.

Spruce up your kitchen without going bankrupt. The kitchen is the heart of the home and the center of holiday gatherings. It can also be the most expensive room to renovate. If you are in the market for new appliances, there are a multitude of choices in every price range. Or you could pick up some appliance spray paint and get the same look for a fraction of the cost. A can runs approximately $8, and two or three cans are needed for each appliance.

You could also revive tired cabinets with a new coat of stain or paint, or just change out the old hardware for a fresh look. Another trend is taking the doors off of the upper cabinets and displaying heirloom holiday dishes or festive glasses.

Create a divine dining room just in time for holiday dinners. Give your dining room a dramatic makeover with a new coat of paint. Try painting the walls in a warm, neutral color like soft grey, taupe, or warm brown. Add festive accent pieces like gold or silver picture frames, fancy trim on the lighting, or chair cushions in seasonal colors.

Whether you gather around the kitchen table or pull up to an elaborate spread in an elegant dining room, create commanding centerpieces to set the scene. A tray filled with candles adds a warm glow, while a basket of red poinsettias serves up country charm. Fill a clear vase with bright ornaments or a dramatic arrangement of holiday greens and red roses. Pinecones sprayed with clear glue or oil and sprinkled with sugar looks fetching, or try stacking a pile of pretty packages for a playful theme.

The bathroom is another area to add some sparkle. Nothing changes the look faster than a new shower curtain. Add a few matching towels, a rug, or curtains for a quick, frugal makeover. Update without draining your budget by replacing the faucets and fixtures. A new set is usually under $100 and can instantly add shine to a dull powder room.

If the mirror reflects a worn-out look, switch it out with a fancy framed mirror or add a frame to the existing mirror. You can create a modern feel, or go for a traditional look with rich wood. Top with a holiday swag to get in the swing of the season.

Add festive finishing touches in the living areas of your home. Stick with a particular theme for a more dramatic effect. For example, if you decorate your tree with all gold balls, then carry that look throughout your home with merry accents. You can wrap pictures or even doorways like a present or hang colorful Christmas cards to frame a mirror.

Brighten up countertops and tables with clear glass jars full of holiday treats that are good to eat. Christmas sugar cookies, candy canes, candy in pretty wrapping, or colorful fruit will tempt guests and add a cheery touch. Encourage nibbling by placing a small card nearby with the phrase "Please Sample" or "Eat Me."

Holiday themed rugs welcome guests and provide a handy place for snowy boots. A large basket by the door corrals gloves, mittens and hats for easy retrieval. Prepare fun gift bags with inexpensive items for those unexpected drop-ins or to send home with guests.

Don't forget the outside of your home. Besides the traditional lights, or in place of them, hang dramatic lighted decorations in your largest windows. They come in various styles and themes, and are easier than dealing with wobbly ladders in a blizzard. Also, you can enjoy them from inside as well.

Large lawn ornaments and sculptures are popular, but don't forget about the need to store them when the holidays are over. That eight-foot snowman might not fit in the little closet under the stairs. An inexpensive way to light up your lawn is with solar lights. Line your sidewalk or path with them, and add a merry ribbon or twist of sparkly beads. They will still be useful the rest of the year.

As you spruce up your home for the holidays, keep in mind what you want your home to look like when the holidays are just a memory. Doing a few key renovations now will enchant your guests, and make your home more attractive and livable for years to come. Have a festive and frugal holiday season.

Shaunna Privratsky became an expert in personal finance out of necessity. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Please sign up for the free newsletters at The Discount Diva. You can also visit Shaunna on Google+.

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