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Instant Festivity: 11 Foraged and (Mostly) Free Decorating Ideas from the Editors

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Instant Festivity: 11 Foraged and (Mostly) Free Decorating Ideas from the Editors

December 16, 2022

Over the years, Remodelista editors and writers have come up with low- (or zero-) cost tricks to spruce up the house for the holidays, all with materials from around the house, plus bits and bobs found in the backyard, garden, or on a winter walk. Importantly, the ideas are natural, low-impact (often making use of scraps or fallen sprigs), and don’t involve buying more stuff to box away in the basement most of the year—and they’re evergreen enough to keep up all winter long.

Here, we round up our favorites from the archives (and from Gardenista), plus a few new ones:

1. Frond as Place Setting

over on gardenista, clare makes the case that a single leaf or stem makes a sim 9
Above: Over on Gardenista, Clare makes the case that a single leaf or stem makes a simple—but beguiling—winter place setting. Photograph by Sarah Statham from Foraged Bracken: Autumn’s Most Beguiling Floral Design Element, over on Gardenista.

2. Pine Cone Garland

fallen pine cones as minimalist garland. photograph and diy via bob vila, as se 10
Above: Fallen pine cones as minimalist garland. Photograph and DIY via Bob Vila, as seen in Julie’s Single-Ingredient Holiday Decor, 10 Ideas.

3. Orange-Peel Ornaments

an idea spotted via this healthy table: instead of discarding orange rinds, pun 11
Above: An idea spotted via This Healthy Table: Instead of discarding orange rinds, punch out shapes with cookie cutters to transform them into ornaments, garlands, or gift toppers. Photograph via This Healthy Table; get the full DIY here.

4. Blinged-Out Foraged Finds

justine found that fallen leaves, seed pods, nuts, and pinecones, touched up wi 12
Above: Justine found that fallen leaves, seed pods, nuts, and pinecones, touched up with just the tiniest bit of metallic paint, add a dash of glitz. See more in DIY: Gilded Tree, Inspired by Nature. Photograph by Justine Hand for Gardenista.

5. Single-Branch Wreath

a single foraged bough of berries, formed into a circle and secured with wire,  13
Above: A single foraged bough of berries, formed into a circle and secured with wire, forms an instant minimalist wreath. Or hang it for an over-the-table installation (candles—or faux clip-ons—optional). Photograph by Justine Hand from DIY: Simple Advent Wreaths Made from Foraged Flora.

6. Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Sprigs

this idea comes from julie&#8\2\17;s the monochrome holiday: 8 high/low des 14
Above: This idea comes from Julie’s The Monochrome Holiday: 8 High/Low Design Tips from Tricia Foley: Foraged odds and ends, collected on a walk or in the winter garden—like the stems of privet shown here—add a festive touch to wrapped presents (or scattered down the center of the holiday table). Photograph by Marili Forastieri.
more evidence. photographs via sunday suppers from 7 quick fixes: holiday  15
Above: More evidence. Photographs via Sunday Suppers from 7 Quick Fixes: Holiday Gift Wrap.

7. Botanical Bottle Candleholder

i love this idea from ikea germany: bottle as elegant candleholder. shown is th 16
Above: I love this idea from Ikea Germany: bottle as elegant candleholder. Shown is their Korken Bottle ($3.99) with a stem of eucalyptus, though in the spirit of no-cost, upcycled decor, a clean wine or olive oil bottle would be equally beautiful.

8. Berry-Bunch Tree Topper

berries as tree topper, as seen in diy: a woodland holiday party (indoors). pho 17
Above: Berries as tree topper, as seen in DIY: A Woodland Holiday Party (Indoors). Photograph by John Merkl.

9. Vibrant Hanging Persimmons

another persimmon idea, this one from marie, over on gardenista: dried persimmo 18
Above: Another persimmon idea, this one from Marie, over on Gardenista: dried persimmons, called hoshigaki, make a vibrant hanging display that, once finished, makes a jammy and tender delicacy. See Hoshigaki: Persimmons, Transformed.

10. Ethereal Ice Herbariums

and from gardenista contributor kendra: berries and botanicals encased in ice m 19
Above: And from Gardenista contributor Kendra: Berries and botanicals encased in ice make ethereal winter herbariums. For the how-to, see With Love From Japan: DIY Frozen Herbariums.

11. The Easiest Branch Arrangements

when in doubt, a simple branch in a vase will do. according to justine, a sprig 20
Above: When in doubt, a simple branch in a vase will do. According to Justine, a sprig of holly—or a bundle of rose hips and azalea, shown here—adds merriment just about anywhere. Photograph by Justine Hand from DIY: Gilded Holiday Decor.
no need for a garland: per alexa, a bundle of slightly wonky branches make for  21
Above: No need for a garland: Per Alexa, a bundle of slightly wonky branches make for an instant centerpiece—string lights optional. Photograph from DIY: The Sawhorse Holiday Table for Less than $100.
and a few branches of whatever&#8\2\17;s in season, set in a vase, make a d 22
Above: And a few branches of whatever’s in season, set in a vase, make a dramatic arrangement (and a nice change from evergreens this time of year). Shown here is a collection of persimmons by Louesa Roebuck, as seen in 10 Tips: How to Create a Laid-Back Thanksgiving, Northern-California Edition. Photograph by Julia Spiess for Dinners with Friends.

For more winter decor, see:

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