7 small but impactful home updates to do in time for the holidays that cost less than $100

Designers share their quick, impactful, and budget-friendly home update ideas to get your space ready for the holiday season

a colorful christmas tree in a modern home
(Image credit: James Merrell)

With the holidays approaching, a lot of us feel the urge to give our home a little makeover to help us get more into the festive spirit and also make a good impression on any visitors. However, what with all the gifts that need buying, budgets are often quite limited. The beauty of design is that creativity is at its very core and there will always be solutions that can be found, even when you only have a small amount to spend.

I was curious to know what I could do relatively quickly, and on a limited budget (under $100 ideally) to make my home feel a little bit special in time for the holidays. A facelift of the home, if you will, that will spark joy and give my interiors a new lease of life. I asked interior designers to give me their tips and ideas that you can easily do by yourself in little time and on tiny budgets. Here are the Christmas decorating ideas they suggested. If time and budget allow it, you can even tackle one change a day so your home will be transformed in just a week!

1. Make a flower arrangement 

A floral arrangement of bouvardia in an orange glass vase on a dark wooden table in front of pale pink walls

(Image credit: funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk)

Making a flower arrangement is one of the most cost-effective things you can do, and if you put a bit of thought into colors, pick a stand-out vase, and get some inspiration online, you can truly create something beautiful. A flower display is always a great touch especially when hosting, and it will instantly elevate any room. Be mindful of the best flowers for floral arrangements, to make sure you have a display that lasts.  

‘Whenever I host, I like to get fresh flowers and greenery to add another dimension to my home,’ David Samuel Ko, Founder of Maison Ko, tells me. With the holidays coming up make sure you use seasonal flowers or branches. ‘For the holidays, I like sourcing or foraging branches for a large vase as they feel seasonal and also will last you a long time. Little touches like this will elevate your home and make it feel holiday-ready,' he adds.

2. Switch out your home scent 

A selection of candles on a coffee table

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Home fragrance is the signature of a home. If you have a scent you keep using the festive period is a good time to change it up for a welcoming aroma every time you walk through the door. ‘If you like to burn candles like I do, I always burn in a seasonal or holiday scent during this time,' says David. 'I'll switch out any of my spring and summer candles and opt for something cozier and woodsy. This will immediately transform your home.'

Try to steer clever of anything too obvious like pumpkin, ginger, or anything too sweet, and opt for more elevated notes, like leather, musk, wild berries, cedar, or sandalwood. Also, to make your home smell amazing, think of a new spot in the house where you can place a scented candle so the scent fills your home. 

3. Change up some hardware 

small furniture ideas slimline and wall-mounted bathroom units by The Luxury Bathroom Company

(Image credit: The Luxury Bath Company)

‘You can buy hardware online for under $100 for a small space like a bathroom,’ Jenn Todryk, host of HGTV’s No Demo Reno tells me. Picking a small space like a bathroom will make this small change impactful because you will be able to see it better and it will make a bigger difference in how the overall space feels. Changing chrome hardware for brass or matt black, for instance, will make the space feel so much more elevated. 

An alternative would be to change up the hardware in a room where you spend the most time, like a living room or kitchen. You can change up the handles and knobs of your living room furniture and use hand-painted ceramic or glass options instead to add interesting detail. 

4. Bring in new soft furnishings 

Dark blue velvet sofa with square and round cushions in front of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves

(Image credit: Jessica Nelson Design)

Soft furnishings are a wonderfully cost-efficient way to inject some coziness and a new look into your home. Simply swap out some throw cushions, or add a couple of new throws for more texture and depth to your space. 

Jenn notes that it’s more cost-effective to keep the cushions and just buy throw pillow covers which you can rotate seasonally. ‘Throw pillow covers that are seasonal are affordable and easier to store than pillows that don’t have covers,’ she says, adding that soft goods are a necessity when it comes to making a place feel cozy and comfortable for the holidays. 

Interior designer Naomi Astley Clarke agrees and shares some advice on the materials and colors to opt for. ‘Textiles like velvet infuse a space with coziness and sumptuous texture, and work especially brilliantly in the winter when used in jewel tones,’ she says. 

5. Consider updating a powder room with peel-and-stick wallpaper

Jungle bathroom wallpaper

(Image credit: Future)

A temporary peel-and-stick wallpaper is a great way to impress guests during the holidays. ‘Use peel-and-stick wallpaper in your guest bathroom,’ advises David. ‘Bringing new life to your guest bathroom is something that will make a huge impact with not a lot of fuss. Whatever style you opt for, this is one room that is going to get used and can set a new tone in your space.'

Peel-and-stick wallpapers are very easy to use and they can change the look and feel of a room instantly. Be bold and go for something special for the festive season, in luxurious tones that will make the space feel like a jewel box. They're easy to remove too, so you can change it all back in the new year if you feel like it. 

6. Make a focal point of your fireplace  

white room with terracotta fireplace with blue checkerboard pattern

(Image credit: Graphenstone)

If you have a fireplace in any of your rooms they make a great focal point that you can work with using simple and cost-effective decorating ideas. The most obviously beautiful option would be to use Christmas decorations like garlands and candles. This is the more traditional way to go, but you can also use beautiful decals above or around it to add to the festive theme. 

If you feel like you want to opt for something with a bit more punch, why don’t you paint your fireplace in a bold color, or even pattern? You can go for a monochromatic scheme or a two-color contrasting choice for maximum impact. Have fun with this and get creative. Choose colors you love and that make you feel joyful.

7. Add some color to your entryway 

hallway with staircase, spindles and handrail in blue and panelling in orange and red vertical blocks

(Image credit: Graphenstone)

The entryway is the first thing you and anybody else walking into your home sees, so there’s definitely scope to make a statement here. ‘A coat of paint is always an inexpensive and reversible way to transform your home,’ interior designer Bethany Adams says. ‘For maximum impact, try painting your entry a bold, deep color.  If you tire of it by spring, it's easy enough to paint over it.’

If you don’t want to take on painting your walls, you can pick out only certain elements that you can highlight with bold paint. Think of painting your door frames in a bold color, or your skirting, handrail, or spindles. Make your color choice an unexpected one for the most impact. Anything that blends in might easily go unnoticed and defeat the purpose. 

Raluca Racasan
News writer

Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.