Holiday decorating can take many different forms depending on the decorator’s personal tastes and the home’s style. Some homes will be perfect candidates for cozy, glowing decor with a rustic or traditional vibe. Others may look best with upscale, even glamorous, decorations. Size is another consideration—an expansive home might call for different decorations than one that’s a tight squeeze.
Let’s say you have plenty of space to work with, but you’re at a loss for how to create a look you like. Your canvas is large, but your inspiration seems small. Never fear, you’ve come to the right place because today we’re tackling just that issue—how to decorate a large (and perhaps empty) space.
Think it out
Strange as it may sound, your decorating begins before your decorating actually begins. Yes, we know that sounds contradictory, but in reality, we’re simply advocating for planning to be an integral part of your design process.
This decorating is going to be more than walking into the nearest store, seizing items off the shelf, and bringing them home to plop on your own shelves, walls, and floors. It’s time for a more thoughtful approach.
You have a large space to work with, and that could easily be an advantage. But be sure you take your time to plan well so that you’re actually using the space in a way that ultimately looks good.
Begin by taking stock of your current situation. Does the space already have a clear style of its own? If it does, are you planning to roll with that look—blending your new decor for a seamlessly integrated space? Or are you looking to nix the current appearance in favor of a whole new look? Whatever way you decide to go, you may find it helpful to identify these things at the outset.
Gather and save inspiration
Next on your decorating to-do list: gather some photos for inspiration. Take stock of looks you like and looks you don’t. Save the ones you like, noting just what it is that appeals to you about the space.
The possibilities are endless
There are so many routes to take when decorating any space. It could easily feel overwhelming if you’re not used to decorating, so keep in mind that you can start slowly and build over time. You don’t have to do it all in one day (or even in one week).
Let the idea of endless possibilities be exciting and invigorating instead of overwhelming. Take time to plan on the front end and don’t worry about getting things perfect. Look at it as an adventure in which you don’t quite know what the final product will be. It might just surprise you!
How empty is empty?
Obviously, a really empty space would be a home with no furniture moved in yet. But we assume you aren’t looking to decorate an unfurnished dwelling.
If you’re working with a large space that seems underwhelming and bare, then you just might be feeling the urge to dress things up with some holiday decor. Maybe you have an entryway with nothing but a carpet. Or it could be a dining area without much more than a table, chairs, and china hutch.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to leave things where they are. Instead, let’s dive in so you can start planning an area that’s full of beauty instead of full of emptiness.
Say it with a statement piece
If you have a large wall that’s making your space seem cavernous (and empty), then it’s time to bring on the artwork. And not just any artwork, but a piece large enough to make a dent in your wall real estate.
Even when you’ve narrowed it down to artwork you can hang on the wall, you still have a glorious number of choices left. Should you go with a pastoral winter scene or a cityscape dusted in snow? Or maybe you’ll elect to erect a whimsical or cartoonish snowman with a cheery snowman smile.
Create your own wall art
Don’t forget that paintings or other works on canvas or in frames aren’t your only option for a wall. You could also fill your wall with shelves of thoughtfully collected winter-y items. Your shelves don’t have to stretch wall to wall, either. Instead, you can choose several shelves of different lengths and place them so as to take up only part of your wall space.
Fill the shelves with white or off-white books, clustering and stacking them in small groups. Now fill in around the books with holiday-themed items that give the display a little punch of warmth & cheer.
We’ve talked about what you can do with wall space. But remember that you can also use space that extends upwards—whether it’s lights, upper balconies in open staircases, or ledges built into the wall.
Try placing decor around your hanging lights or chandeliers to get the decorating goodness up off the ground. You may even be able to maximize the cozy and celebratory look by twining light strings around exposed beams. Imagine the glow on a chilly winter evening!
Plan a glittering light overload
We love the idea of creating a wall of lights. This could be especially beautiful on a screened-in porch or four-seasons room (if your climate allows). But we think it could also work in a hallway or even an entryway or living room. It’s another space that would be lovely on a dark winter night.
Harness the power of high ceilings
Naturally, you can place lights on high ceilings. But you can also utilize them by hanging holiday-themed decorations at different heights. White snowflakes can be scattered all across the ceiling, hung from strings of different lengths to create depth.
Work with window space
A bay window is a great opportunity to introduce some holiday warmth. Plus, you can customize the look so it’s a delight from the inside and the outside of the house. Have fun creating a winter wonderland scene by filling the area with tiny illuminated houses and little people. Or, you could use it as a backdrop to display your collection of decor items—whatever you happen to collect, fill the window with it.
Pasting snowflakes on each pane is another fun idea, visible from the inside and the outside. Of course, you can always make snowflakes the old-fashioned way with a folded piece of paper and a pair of scissors.
But you can also branch out by using a paper doily or even special crafting paper. If you know how to crochet, you can also make crocheted lace snowflakes to adorn the space. Take a look at 12 Beautiful & Free Snowflake Crochet Patterns on Heart Hook Home.
Don’t want to make your own? Check out these lovely snowflakes that don’t require you to tackle a DIY project.
Space outside the house
If you’re working with plenty of space on your home’s facade, don’t forget that you achieve a beautiful effect with repetition and uniformity. For instance, if you have a whole lot of windows, then it makes sense to grant each one a candle or a wreath. Each window might be small on its own, but the overall effect created by repeating your decor item can be large—not to mention beautiful.
Create a sea of neutral with a pop of holiday cheer
Another way to craft a striking effect in your large space is to set things up as a sea of neutral colors, then splash in a few key holiday decor items to warm up the space. For instance, you can fill your space with mostly white—if it’s a living room area, this could mean white couches, white walls, white tables, and a white fireplace. Then, introduce your preferred holiday decor on top of that backdrop. You can even centralize it in a few specific living rooms spots instead of scattering it across the room.
Go big or go home
While there is a place for understated decor, if you have a large enough space, you might be a perfect candidate for sizing up your decorations. Imagine this—an enormous spiral staircase in an expansive entryway. Sure you could twine some twinkly lights up the entire railing, then stand back to admire the effect. But you could also introduce slightly larger railing decor.
Gigantic pompoms in colors that complement your other holiday decor are one option. You can create a fun, fluffy, colorful railing with extra pizzazz. But you don’t have to ditch the lights in favor of this option. Instead, you could combine lights with this idea.
Tap into the sheer power of multiplication
One piece of holiday decor is nice, of course. But if you have an extra-large space, one just might not cut it. And that’s when you multiply your offerings. Instead of one simple holiday themed photo on the wall, why not create an array of photos to maximize the use of your wall space?
Or, if one item looks diminutive on a tabletop, corral several items into a tray or basket to create a slightly larger arrangement. Think of it performing a mathematical calculation on your favorite decor. Whatever you like, multiply by five or perhaps by ten, depending on the size of your space. (The size of the multiplier can vary—the point is simply to scale up).
Branch out from the decor you already have
Let’s say your space isn’t completely empty. In fact, it’s actually already decorated. It’s just that the decor isn’t seasonal. Well, this calls for a transformation—taking what you already have and building out in a holiday-appropriate manner.
Take a little time to look at what you already have and to plan what add-ons would blend well while taking things in a more seasonal direction. If you already have a display of photos or other framed items on the wall, filling in between them with wintery and holiday pieces might be just the thing. On the other hand, your comfy living room might need seasonally-colored pillows and throws to accent your couches and chairs.
Branching out in the bedrooms
In bedrooms, the decor that already hangs on the walls or sits on the nightstands can either be swapped out or added to. If you have a dominant color scheme, then find a holiday color that will blend or keep your holiday items neutral. Even your bedside lamp could have its shade temporarily swapped out in favor of something more appropriate for the holidays.
If your entryway is one enormous space that’s currently leaving a hole in your holiday decorating, here are some options for upping your game.
- Introduce seasonally-appropriate plants.
- Bring in one large item that doubles as seasonal decor and a friendly greeting.
- Create an eye-catching display to fill up an open wall and make your home seem warm and welcoming.
Gather inspiration from any and every source
Remember that you don’t have to be looking at interior design magazines to collect ideas for your home decor. Actually, inspiration could arise from the most unexpected places. Keep your eyes peeled for new and great ideas everywhere you go.
The atrium of a large, professional office building could give you ideas for decorating your own entryway. And the facade of a local historical building might even provide tips for exterior holiday cheer. You might notice masterfully chosen decor as you’re driving down the highway. Or a friend’s tiny cottage could reveal a brilliant decorating strategy that you’re sure could be scaled up. Even movies could be an unexpected source of design and decor ideas.
Make your decorating even better
Don’t forget to have some fun while you decorate your enormous space. Whip up a tasty drink and sip while you work to make the time even more enjoyable. And cap off the day of decorating with a delicious meal to replenish the energy you’ve expended. Even better, get family members to join you in your decorating escapades. You might find that their perspectives add a new dimension to your decor.