'I'm a Minimalist and This is How I Decorate for Christmas' — 3 Last-Minute, Low Effort Ideas for a Festive Home

Get into the holiday spirit with simple and sleek decorating flourishes that complement your minimalist interior

a living room with a christmas tree
(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

When you think of Christmas decorating, your mind probably floods with images of kitschy, mismatched ornaments, 80s-inspired red and green tinsel, twinkling rainbow lights, and giant inflatable Santas on front porches. But you don't necessarily need to go overboard with OTT decorations to get into the holiday spirit. Thankfully, for the minimalists among us, there are many creative and fun ways to decorate for the festive season without compromising the calm and cohesive atmosphere of your home. 

Now I know what you're probably thinking: If you were going to decorate a tree this year, you've probably done it by now. But that's not to say it's too late to incorporate some last-minute minimalist touches to yours. Keep in mind that most trees stay up as we usher in the new year and beyond, so why not make your tree as aesthetically pleasing as possible while you still can?

We spoke to minimalists to see how they've been decorating their Christmas tree and incorporating some festive cheer into their homes this year. So if you prefer a sleek and pared-back look, take notes: We have the Christmas decorating ideas for you.

1. Take inspiration from nature

a christmas tree with foliage wrapped around

(Image credit: Vanessa Lentine. Design: Pure Salt Interiors)

What better way to make your Christmas tree work effortlessly in your home than by adorning it with decorations inspired by nature? According to Thomas Trust of @rustandtrust, incorporating natural elements into your tree transforms a room into a forest-like haven. 'I like to decorate a Christmas tree as if it’s something you just happened upon in a forest somewhere,' he says. 'The materials feel natural yet glamorous, minimal but still special! Wood, metals, some glass, and brass tones are things I always gravitate towards.'

Nature-inspired decor is a mainstay of Scandinavian Christmas decor ideas as well as it is for minimalist decor - one that Alicia Quiles of @thecomforthouse is well and truly on board with. 'The last several years I have been inspired by Scandinavian Christmas decor which largely includes simple greenery and other elements from nature like birds, pine cones, and dried oranges,' she says. Alice explains that natural decorations blend seamlessly with the interior of her home. 'My minimal, nature-inspired approach to Christmas decor pairs well with the antique and vintage pieces in our home'.

And if you want to add a more personal touch to your minimalist Christmas tree, Mary Maloney, founder of Bee's Knees Interior Design, suggests foraging for your own decorations - simple yet beautiful flourishes can be found by simply venturing outside. 'Visit your backyard and find winterberry for decor. It is lovely for a pop of red,' she says. 'Add some pinecones to your windowsill for texture, and evergreen clippings are long-lasting and add such a lovely smell.'

2. Work with a cohesive color palette

a close up of a christmas tree

(Image credit: Studio McGee / McGee & Co)

Choosing a minimalist color palette that ties in seamlessly with the interior of your home will ensure that your Christmas tree looks classy, sleek and cohesive. There's something undeniably calming about a palette of soft hues that all blend beautifully with one another.

Kashi Shikunova of YAM Interiors decorates her tree with a selection of matching ornaments that complement her home interior. 'As a minimalist, achieving harmony between the Christmas tree and the interior is crucial for me. I ensure that the decorations complement the interior with soft greys and natural tones, introducing a single stronger color to evoke a festive ambiance,' she explains. 

'I like to use decorations that work in harmony with each other, the shapes and colors talk and complement each other and don't overload the tree, creating a calm feel. For the lights, I always go with warm white and steer clear of multicolored blinking lights, simple warm white lights maintain a cozy yet sophisticated atmosphere.'

3. Inject some fun flourishes

a neutral christmas tree

(Image credit: Lindye Galloway)

Just because you're going for minimalist Christmas decor, doesn't mean your tree can't let your personality shine through playful touches on your tree. Kerry Vasquez, the founder of Kerry Vasquez Design, decided to forego a tree completely this year in favor of unique, personalized garlands. 'This year, I opted for garlands instead of a tree - traditional evergreen garlands that I strung white Christmas lights on,' she explains. 

Don't be scared to experiment with different textures on your tree, too. Texture is a hallmark of minimalism. Traditionally, minimalists look to texture and materiality in place of color. Thomas explains that he decided to play with metallic materials this year. 'I’ve really leaned into mixed metals, using lots of brass and silvers in muted tones to give the rustic feel. I think metals can give a really luxe look when they’re distressed because they feel aged, passed down, and special. I also love the way they sparkle when light hits them!'

Alicia is also blending different textures and ornaments on her tree this year, adding her unique twist to this year's bow trend. 'Instead of bright red ribbon, I opt for earthy mustard and burnt orange velvet ribbon to adorn simple wreaths and sprigs of mistletoe. 

Finally, paper is another beautiful material that can feel minimalist. Paper garlands made from plain white paper, and white paper lanterns feel simple and calming. 'I love the look of simple paper star garland and mercury glass balls on my tree as well,' Alicia says.

3 Decorations For A Minimalist Tree 

Katie Baxter
Trainee Writer

Katie is a freelance writer and MA student at City, University of London studying Magazine Journalism. Katie discovered her passion for lifestyle journalism after finishing her BA at The University of Oxford, when she started pitching to major lifestyle publications and covering various topics from popular culture to wellness. She is a regular contributor at Well+Good, where she writes experiment-based beauty and fitness pieces.