Having an abundance of decorations is not your only holiday option. There is something very chic and special about incorporating simplicity into the holidays. You get the best of both worlds and all of the holiday spirit. And then somehow, still such a cozy vibe. All these elements make decor memorable.

This is why I recommend that everyone try a more simple approach at least once. It is easy to fall in love the “less is more” process of selecting and showcasing pieces with intention. If you are not sure where to start or need some inspiration, here are a few tips to achieve this look.

Photography, Creative Direction, Prop sourcing & styling by Christiann Koepke. Written by: Christiann Koepke & Tonja Brown.

holiday decorating with christiann koepke — west elm

The Tree

The placement of your tree is important. Keep things simple and clean by decorating the space around the tree, instead of the entire room. A bright corner by a window allows for the use of natural light. It is also easier to create the space near windows.

Next, gather your strings of white lights. I prefer twinkle lights, which are small and understated, with a bright glow (skip the normal chunky store bought varieties! Instead, get these LED String Lights). It is also perfectly ok to go with more lights than ornaments (we will make use of extra lights). White is a perfect base color. Layering a few unexpected and festive colors is all you need to compliment your base. Here I chose pink, orange, and a bit of gold to bring the look together.

Your tree topper can be small but also a statement piece. This Kraft + Glitter Gem Starburst Tree Topper has a classic look that pairs beautifully almost any color combination. To complete this look, lighten up your green tree with flock or get this faux snow.

holiday decorating with christiann koepke — west elm

holiday decorating with christiann koepke — west elm

The Space

You are creating a focal point for the room with this approach. So, the space around the tree should feel like an extension of it. Make a cozy space on the floor next to the tree. You can enjoy wrapping gifts and entertain friends here as well (see tips below). Remember all gifts don’t have to be under the tree. You can put a few on the couch or chair next to it, so you can spend more time sitting in front of your tree. Use the extra twinkle LED String Lights lay them around the space you created.

We all want a mantle at Christmas but – many of us don’t have them, let’s be honest. But listen – there’s so many ways you can hang stockings. Try something different…like a cabinet. Place it near the tree and hang these gorgeous Brushed Tips Faux Fur Stockings. This Kraft + Glitter Garland can then be draped and paired with LED String Lights. I just can’t get over it – this look is so stunning!

holiday decorating with christiann koepke — west elm

holiday decorating with christiann koepke — west elm


Cheese boards can be used for more than the classic cheese, crackers and olives. They can become a makeshift tray that sit on a table or even on the floor. Set up your favorite spirits, and a cocktail shaker with a few copper Moscow Mule Mugs. With this set up, you can sit in front of your tree with a friend for hours.

If you prefer chairs, this Auburn Chair and this ultra soft and this beautiful Luxe Chenille Throw is perfect for a cozy look. It’s simply welcoming and relaxing. Exactly what this season should be.

Have fun and send me pictures! If you have questions feel free to reach out via IG or my website. Share your tree and Christmas decor on social media by tagging @westelm and @christiannkoepke! Be sure to check out Christiann Koepke’s post for more!

holiday decorating with christiann koepke — west elm

holiday decorating with christiann koepke — west elm

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