Creative ways to decorate with ornaments

Maybe you have an extra set of ornaments you’ve been keeping in storage. Maybe you don’t have space for a full tree—looking at you, city-dwellers—but still want to give your home a spirited update for the season. Or maybe you’re simply looking for some fresh holiday inspiration. Whatever the reason, this roundup of our favorite off-the-wall (or rather, off-the-tree) ornament ideas is sure to get your creativity flowing. Happy decorating!


Low effort and high impact, this simple place-card upgrade is sure to delight your holiday dinner guests. First choose one ornament per guest: Go with a matched set for a classic look, or pick individual designs you know each person will love. Write each guest’s name on a tag, tie it to the ornament with a sprig of greenery, and you’ve got a sweet yet simple way to elevate your seasonal table. A bonus: The place cards can double as festive favors.


Have a set of vintage ornaments too delicate to hang? Place them in a shallow bowl or footed vessel instead, where you can admire their shimmering details up close. This zero-effort display makes a stunning centerpiece (just keep the container on the low side to avoid blocking sight lines) or a gorgeous accent for an unexpected spot—such as the kitchen counter or a hallway table.


Any open vessel can be turned into a festive holiday display—it just takes a little creative thinking. Look around the house for worthy candidates: Here, a vintage birdcage gets a touch of holiday cheer with a tumble of brilliant golden ornaments. You can achieve a similar effect by filling a clear glass cloche, a tall hurricane, or a wire basket.


A touch of greenery makes any spot in the home feel more festive—especially when festooned with ornaments. To give your dining room an easy seasonal update, wrap your chandelier with a garland of greenery and berries, then trim it with a set of mini ornaments. We love how the ornaments’ golden tones complement the chandelier’s brass details, giving the arrangement a spirited yet sophisticated glow.


Because presentation is half of the fun of gift-giving, why not finish your presents with a sparkling ornament topper? This is a perfect way to make use of lone ornaments or mismatched pieces (and a great excuse to invest in a new set for your tree!), plus the recipient gets a little extra something special.


This impressive ornament display is a true showstopper—and it’s easier to achieve than it looks. Gather a grouping of ornaments in a tight color scheme, such as the blues and smoky grays here, along with ribbons to match. Then suspend them from a hanging light fixture, making sure to vary the lengths of the ribbons so that the ornaments form cloudlike clusters. (You’ll want to do this over a table or in a space with high ceilings, so guests don’t bump into your handiwork.) Now just wait for the oohs and aahs to roll in.