The holidays are right around the corner, so now is the time to think about sprucing up the house for entertaining and for your own enjoyment. Here are a few words of home-decorating advice from real experts.

Emmy Award-winning television personality Cathy Hobbs, ASID, LEED AP, is co-host and executive producer of Metro Residential on CW11 WPIX, as well as a professional interior designer and accredited home stager. 

“When we talk about the holidays, it’s important to bring in festive elements," she said. "Repurposing items from nature is always an affordable way to create a special atmosphere.”

Here are a few holiday ideas Hobbs offered:

  • Wire small pine cones and/or acorns together and wrap around napkin rings.
  • Create centerpieces with fresh fruit and other natural elements like sand, stone, leaves and evergreens arranged in a cohesive manner.
  • Layer the table with a beautiful cloth and an overlay of organza or other sheer fabric, add a charger plate below the dinner plate, and place a napkin on top with a decorative element and place card.
  • Print a personalized menu on clear vellum paper with a themed logo on the corner and secure the menu on top of a piece of construction paper with a colorful ribbon.
  • Take time to think about the color, texture and how food is presented.

Diane Durocher, the award-winning designer of her namesake Diane Durocher Interiors in Ramsey, had a few other suggestions for the holidays:

  • Entwine decorative ribbon into garland and/or use ribbon to embellish staircases, trees and other areas of the home.
  • To add more interest to a tree, start collecting ornaments reflective of a trip or somewhere special you visit.
  • Set up a children’s tree for the priceless homemade decorations (Popsicle sticks allowed).
  • Mix expensive decorations with plain glass balls–a great way of filling a tree when there aren’t quite enough decorations to go around otherwise.
  • Burn some scented candles to enhance the holiday spirit.

And with all the money being saved using a few less expensive, creative home decorating touches, there’ll be plenty extra left over in the budget for gift giving.