5 Genius Ways to Display Christmas Ornaments - None of Which Include a Tree

We’re taking a look at alternative ways to creative a festive mood with ornaments all around the home rather than letting the Christmas tree do all the talking

a living room with a festive garland and ornaments on a tray
(Image credit: David Lawson)

The Christmas tree is often seen as the main Christmas decoration in the home - the pinnacle of festive decor, the big reveal, the one thing that takes centerstage.

Yet having a tree isn’t the be all and end all of the festive season, and there are plenty more ways to let the seasonal decorating commence without having that stand alone statement. 'Displaying ornaments doesn't have to be confined to the conifer,' agrees Jennifer Derry, Interior Expert at Balsam Hill.

Christmas trees aren't always practical for small spaces, and even in rooms that can't host a fir, spreading the magic all about the home is a lovely way to embrace this time of year. So why not try out these Christmas decorating ideas for displaying ornaments that don't require a Christmas tree .

1. Use in a tablescape

a christmas table with foliage around a light

(Image credit: Pooky)

Firstly, whether you’re hosting just one or twenty one (good luck!), the effort you go to when dressing your table will not go unnoticed. This is where you’ll most likely spend the majority of the day, if not tucking in to the Christmas feast, making your way through tasty leftovers, and why not? But, this means it’s the main area so ensure it’s filled with Christmas feeling.

For Christmas dining room decor, consider lots of little elements that complement each other. Begin with the first layer, a tablecloth or runner as the base to build upon, then one main natural element, it could be foraged foliage that rustles up as one long centrepiece on the table, or a ready made garland. Then, simply add to it, using ornaments, dried fruit, candles - anything you like to bring your theme together.

'Pick up on the shine of silverware with some metallic baubles, use ribbons to adorn the garland or tie up napkins,' Jennifer from Balsam Hill advises. Creating different levels will bring the table to life, using different height candles and holders will do this perfectly.

'The key is to use ornaments of different sizes, colors and textures to create interest for your eye as it moves across the table,' Jennifer adds. You could even incorporate Christmas ornaments into place names, perhaps as little favours for guests to take away from the day.

2. Dress up a fireplace

a fireplace with christmas ornaments strung from it

(Image credit: David Lawson)

Dressing a mantelpiece with foliage and hanging ornaments from it can be picture perfect, just like this striking design by professional Christmas decorator David Lawson, founder of David Lawson Design. The black, white and gold palette is a glamorous style choice, and this Christmas fireplace decor is the perfect way to show off some statement ornaments.

3. Create small Christmas vignettes

a coffee table with a silver tray filled with christmas ornaments

(Image credit: Josh Young Design House)

It’s the little details which make such a difference. Jennifer from Balsam encourages displaying ornaments in bowls, vases or baskets. 'If you like a simple and elegant look I’d suggest using ornaments in similar tones for a simple and elegant look, or you can mix and match colors for a more fun and vibrant feel. This is a great way to use up spare baubles or repurpose old or damaged prnaments that maybe don’t look their best from every angle anymore. You can place these bowls or baskets on any surface - I think they often make the perfect centrepiece for coffee table decor.'

It's something that designer Josh Young of Josh Young Design House does in his Washington DC townhouse. 'I love to gather some vintage ornaments that I use for our tree and place them in a silver bowl or tray to display on our coffee table,' he explains. 'It acts almost like a color palette sampler for what was used on the tree.'

4. Use oversized ornaments as floor decor

a fireplace surrounding by oversized christmas ornaments

(Image credit: David Lawson)

This may sound strange at first, yet once all the gifts have been taken from beneath the tree or wherever you set them up, there’s nothing worse than an empty deserted space, so it’s a good idea to put something ready in place to avoid that.

Oversized ornaments are a fun yet sophisticated look to opt for, consider surrounding them with the presents and once gifts are unwrapped you won’t be left with any bare corners.

'Giant oversized baubles are an effective way to add some festive pizazz to certain areas of your home, they work really well displayed in clusters, as a Christmas table centerpiece, tied on to stair bannisters, or, if you have enough of them, simply placed on the floor - because of their scale they can create a dramatic and striking feature in themselves,' David Lawson suggests.' We love the raw fullness of the mantlepiece garland juxtaposed against the smooth chic shine of these huge baubles - dramatically perfect.

5. Make a wreath

a front door surrounding by ornaments

(Image credit: Balsam Hill)

Whatever your style, you can always add Christmas tree decorations to a homemade wreath. Forage for foliage to create a base, or Jennifer from Balsam gives us the idea of cutting a donut shape from cardboard to use as a bauble wreath. 'If you’re happy not to use the ornaments for anything else, use a hot glue gun to fix them to your wreath,' Jennifer says. 'Layer ornaments of different sizes up until you’re happy with the wreath’s shape and depth. If you’d rather use your ornaments again, use ribbon of different lengths to hang them at various heights so that combined they form a wreath shape.'

Working these decorative ways into your home now and throughout December will ensure you’re ready for the big day way ahead of time. More is more, remember.

Portia Carroll

Portia Carroll is an interior stylist, writer, and design consultant. With a background in interior architecture and design, she has a plethora of creative experience in the industry working with high end interior brands to capture beautiful spaces and products and enhance their qualities.