With October behind us, it’s time to start thinking about decorating our homes for the holidays. This year, with the pandemic affecting our plans and celebrations, it feels more important than ever to make our spaces feel warm, cozy, and intimate. Whether you like to start before Thanksgiving or wait until December to transform the atmosphere of your home, these seven tips will help you craft the seasonal ambiance of your dreams, no matter your budget.

The Spirit of Blue

Work Pantone's 2020 Color of the Year

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Pantone’s tranquil color of the year feels even more appropriate in the aftermath of the U.S. election. Navy deepens up the tone for a winter vibe, and it pairs beautifully with so many other colors, including 2020’s other trending shades. Plus, it’s always perfect for Hanukkah. Bring it into the mix in the form of ribbons, stockings, table linens, and other accents (image via Love Property).

Recycled and Found Materials

Woman hangs up twigs and garland she found outside her home for cozy, cost-effective holiday decorations.

In the spirit of keeping things budget-friendly, you should always try to incorporate recycled and found materials into your decor. Go outdoors and look for appropriate natural accents like evergreen boughs, pine cones, sprigs of holly, or beautifully shaped branches you can arrange in a vase accented with ribbon, incorporate into a wreath, or lay on the mantel (image via Fresh Exchange).

Gleaming Metallics

CB2's Rose Gold Ball Garland makes for a lovely metallic accent in any modern holiday decor.

A soft tone falling somewhere between silver and gold, platinum is definitively this year’s metallic shade of choice, but anything shiny will serve to boost the glam factor of your holiday decor. Rose gold is another hot shade that perfectly complements the greenery of Christmas trees, other metallics, neutrals, and navy. For the greatest impact, use metallics sparingly as a way to highlight certain vignettes and areas of the home (image: CB2’s rose gold ball garland, $24.95).

Handmade Touches

These handmade holiday ornaments from presswest are simultaneously calming and quirky.

Who cares if they aren’t perfect? Handmade holiday ornaments and decorations, no matter how amateurishly-crafted, are sweet and charming, and they offer a great way to add a personal touch. Display your kids’ creations with pride, try your hand at one of House Beautiful’s many tutorials, or pick your favorite artisan-crafted objects at Etsy (image via presswest).

Farmhouse Style

Break out your comfiest sweats and have a cool farmhouse Christmas a la Chip and Joanna Gaines.

The biggest interior design trend of the year lends itself beautifully to Christmas decor. That means lots of neutrals, classic looks, and rustic textures. As you might expect, Magnolia by Chip and Joanna Gaines has plenty of on-trend items to choose from, including Christmas tree skirts, ornaments, garlands, candles, faux potted trees, soft blankets, signs, and more. Target also has its own line of winter farmhouse holiday decor, and it’s adorable (image by Rennai Hoefer).

Baking Fever

Take your baking skills up a notch this holiday season by perfecting your gingerbread house game.

Everybody’s been baking their way through the stress of the coronavirus. This winter, take it up a notch by developing (or flexing) your gingerbread skills. Creating edible architecture can be a challenge, but the results are well worth the effort. If you don’t consider yourself particularly crafty, you can always find gingerbread kits that are easy to assemble and make for great centerpieces for the dining table. Alternatively, you can try experimenting with structures outside the archetypal gingerbread house, like barns, vehicles, and bird houses. Country Living has a range of tutorials for all skill levels (image via My Name is Yeh).

Changing Up Your Ornaments

Adorable animal-themed West Elm Christmas Ornaments.

Just how crazy you want to go with holiday decorations is a matter of personal taste, but it’s fun to switch things up by shopping from your own collection of decorative items. Choosing ornaments and other objects that fit a particular theme or color scheme can present a well-curated effect that gives you a different look from last year without buying anything new (image via West Elm).