Minimalist Christmas decor – 7 ways to have a merry yet elegantly festive home

Use these minimalist Christmas decor ideas to create a joyful interior vibe without it being too OTT

A living room with a pared back Christmas decor
(Image credit: Shutterfly Fabulous)

These minimalist Christmas decor ideas will give you several reasons to scale back permanently in your decorations, not just this year but every year. This is because, clean, minimal, and pared-back decor allows you to live in the spirit of festivities for longer and even make the decorations a part of your everyday life. 

The truth is that you don’t have to be a septuagenarian to decide you’re doing too much, especially around the holidays. You don't want your home to be a space that looks like one may have to take a step back before entering it. With simple, small additions, you can make your interiors sing the song of Christmas. 

Interestingly, a minimalist approach doesn't mean a cold, dreary interior. It means intentionally choosing items that will bring you joy while keeping the home feeling uncluttered.

To help you with this, we reached out to experts for interesting Christmas decor ideas that aren't OTT. Take a look.

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi is a homes writer and editor with several years of experience. Her articles, backed by expert insights, offer suggestions aimed at helping readers make the best home design choices. For this article, she spoke to top experts to gather minimalist Christmas decor ideas.

7 minimalist Christmas decor ideas to try this season

1. Decorate the mantel with tall candles

A mantle decorated with candles

(Image credit: Neptune)

Look to appropriately decorate the mantel so it rings in the festive season but doesn't look odd or out of place in your room's overall theme. One way to add a warm, cozy vibe that still fits with minimalism is with pretty twinkling lights and candles. But keep the look simple. Perhaps choose vibrant colored candles in antique stands to give the mantel a special flair.

Faux greenery across the mantel, a string of micro-led lights, and a few white pillar candles too can help create a nice Christmas living room decor.

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These 10 inch tapered candles offer soft lighting and look fantastic in any room or setting. Their color is ideal for the festive time. 

2. Keep the fireplace decor simple with foliage

A fireplace with pared back decorations

(Image credit: Arada Stoves)

Your Christmas fireplace decor ideas shouldn't require you to spend an arm and a leg or to sacrifice your usual clean and uncluttered style. One great way is with foliage that looks natural and gives the interiors a refreshing vibe. 

You don't even need to place a large order to decorate this space. Visit your backyard or garden and forage for the best evergreens you can find. And then just trail it along your fireplace. Fill in any gaps with taper candles at varying heights, and give this classic look a more contemporary feel.  

'Less is more, so don’t have too many mixes of florals,' says floral designer, Ronny Colbie. 'It's best to keep to a few different pines, berries, and flowers. Using locally sourced foliage and decoration will always create a refined look. Ilex berries are a great way to add drama to any wreath or garland, and will be admired by anyone in sight this Christmas.’

3. Go for a scandi tablescape

A tablescape with candles of varying height

(Image credit: Nancy Betty)

‘I love to take a personal approach to lay the table, starting with a tablecloth,' says interior designer Matthew Williamson. 'I think there is something so special about having a plain, textile to sit at. It softens the physical experience and provides a platform for texture, upon which you can keep your flatware and glassware. Experiment with different candlesticks at varying heights to create layers and add a vintage vase for your cut flowers or leaves.'

'Use cloth napkins; my favorite is the timeless look and feel of linen,' Ginger Curtis, founder of Urbanology Designs. 'Worried about stains? Choose dark color napkins, as they will add an elegant layer to your Christmas kitchen decor ideas. Don't skip the details. Garnishing your tablescape is where a lot of magic happens. Use fresh greenery, pinecones, tall and short candlesticks, and glass votives.'

'The biggest favor to yourself is to get as much of your prep work done in advance,' says Ginger. 'You and your guests want to enjoy sharing each other’s company and building memories. If you’re running around and stressed it won’t be the kind of memories you were expecting.'

Oven-dried lemons, oranges, apples, and pears also make for the most stunning presentation. 'You can display these in either a rustic bowl, a clear glass jar, or even on a beautiful string garland,' says Ginger. 'I love putting dried citrus/fruit down on my holiday table for some gorgeous color and texture.'

4. Create a pleasing arrangement at the entryway

Minimal christmas decor at the entrance

(Image credit: SCS)

Be selective when choosing your decorations and only go for pieces or elements that are simple and fit the brief. Achieving a minimalist style is often perceived as an easy option, but little do people realize, that fewer objects make it harder to create a smart, stylish, and tasteful decor. 

To set the tone for your festive decorations, and to give people a glimpse of what they might find inside, pay special attention to the entryway decor. Keep it pared back, simple, and aesthetic. You could get creative with Christmas craft and make your string lights and wreath. 

‘Christmas entranceways are impactful as they leave a lasting impression with both passers-by and guests you welcome into your home,' says Ronny. 'Choose a simple arrangement for a credenza, having a touch of floral throughout the entrance to give your home a welcoming feeling and help set the tone for a relaxing festive celebration.' 

5. Don't overcrowd the window decor

A window dressing with wreath

(Image credit: Broste Copenhagen)

Your Christmas window decor will inspire passersby to go for a sleek, simple, and minimal theme this year. Choose a few elements that make a big impact.  

'When decorating for the holidays remember that less is more and fresh is best,' says Mary Maloney, founder of Bee's Knees Interior Design. 'Nothing beats the charm of a simple wreath on every window. Embellish your displays with a ribbon accent. If organic is your thing twine will do quite nicely but if you want to step it up a notch, the sky's the limit. Also, visit your backyard and find winterberry for decor. It is lovely for a pop of red. Add some pinecones to your windowsill for texture, and evergreen clippings are long-lasting and add such a lovely smell.' 

6. Decorate the front door with small lanterns

A Christmas door with two trees in front of it

(Image credit: Future)

Extend the Christmas door decorating ideas to even the front steps. Give your porch a whimsical touch with beautiful lights that can be used year-round.

'The great thing about a natural lampshade or a lantern is that they give off a cozy diffused glow,' says Suzanne Duin, founder of Maison Maison. 'When choosing lampshades, whether switched on or off, the playful scalloped detailing allows your lamp to act as a design statement in its own right.’

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These lanterns can add an elegant touch to indoor and outdoor setting. You can place an electric candle, flowers or even ornaments inside it.

7. Pare down the decorations to draw focus on the Christmas tree

A room with a christmas tree

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

Whether you're looking for Christmas bedroom decorating ideas, kitchens, living rooms, or entryways, the very obvious element that truly spells Christmas – the tree – should be highlighted well. For minimalistic decor, you can solely concentrate on this element, without having to add any more.

'Minimalism is all about a warm, neutral color palette with a pared-back aesthetic,' says Sam Tamlyn, managing director at California Shutters. 'When decorating a space for the festive season, it is all about creating a welcoming atmosphere for friends and family. Don’t overdo it on the decorations, instead, keep the Christmas tree as the focal point, dressed with lovely baubles and accessories, and pair it with some matching green foliage along the mantelpiece and a warm color palette of traditional reds and green. 

How can I decorate my home for Christmas on a budget?

Looking at your Christmas checklist and getting a little panicky? If you want to decorate on a budget, then a minimalist theme is perfect for you. This will encourage you to use lesser elements and styles or place them around tastefully. 

The easiest way to gather Christmas decorations is to look at nature. Forage for twigs, pine cones, and flowers, and place them atop the mantlepiece, at the entrance, or by the window. 

Use a tall plant or a dry tree as your Christmas tree. Perhaps even paint the dried tree white for a white Christmas theme. Bring in glass jars and place candles inside them for a whimsical look.

Have a lot of paper clutter at home? Upcycle them into Christmas ornaments. Paint these or add glitter to them to make them look festive. Wrap string lights around twigs and create a fun lighting piece out of them.

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast).  Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.