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How to Make Cheap Christmas Garland Look Expensive

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Last Updated on September 3, 2023 by lindseymahoney

The foyer in our house is very grand with vaulted ceilings and a winding staircase. It was my favorite feature of the house and I immediately envisioned it decked out for the holidays. Because I couldn’t stomach paying full price for Christmas garland, I am excited to show you how to make cheap Christmas garland look expensive when you hang it on your staircase.

How to make cheap garland look expensive and how to hang on a staircase

Buying a Christmas garland brand new would easily cost me over $200, and I do NOT have that kind of budget! One of the best places to find Christmas decor is at estate sales and that is exactly where I found some old green garland!

When I found the box of old garland at the sale, I was on the fence because it looked to be in rough shape. I decided that I could spruce it up and with the price at $10, it was a low-risk purchase.

How do you make Christmas garland to hang on a staircase banister?

To make a really festive Christmas garland for your stairs, I highly recommend adding embellishments to fill it out.

Even with a thin garland strand, you can make it look thick and full by attaching ribbons, faux flowers, and ornaments to the greenery.

*Check out how I decorated our staircase for Christmas in 2023!

Materials to Make Christmas Garland

[Affiliate links are included in this blog post, thanks for supporting Building Bluebird!]

  • Green Garland – $7 (total cost was $10 but I did not use all of the garland I purchased for the staircase)
  • Tree Trimmings – Free
  • Magnolia Branches – Free (reused from Thanksgiving table arrangement)
  • Faux Flowers & Greenery – Free
  • Branches & Twigs – Free
  • Faux Eucalyptus Branch – $8
  • Faux Red Berries & Pine – Free (Christmas decor already owned)
  • Ribbon – $5 (Actual cost was about $9 but I only used a small portion of the ribbon for this project)
  • Galvanized Wire – Owned
  • Floral Wire – Owned


How do you attach the garland on the staircase?

Floral wire or galvanized wire is perfect for securely fastening the Christmas garland to the banister of the staircase.

How to Make Cheap Garland Look Full and Expensive

1 | Hang the Green Garland

How to hang garland on your staircase for $20 with this DIY | Building Bluebird #christmasdecor #vintage #holiday

I used the green garland as the starting point for the traditional holiday garland I envisioned hanging on our staircase.

How to attach additional items to holiday garland with wire | Building Bluebird #holidaydecor

To create a traditional look, I made the garland drape over the banister so it hung low at a few spots on the staircase. I attached the garland to the banister using galvanized wire, but floral wire works just as well.

Once it was attached, I spent some time reshaping the branches to make them look as full as possible.

2 | Fill in the Garland with Tree Trimmings and Twigs

How to hang garland on your staircase for $20 with this DIY | Building Bluebird #christmasdecor #vintage #holiday

Our family buys a real Christmas tree every year and we always have leftover tree branches that need to be cut off the bottom of the tree.

I took the leftover tree trimmings and attached them sporadically to the garland using floral wire. The fresh tree branches helped to fill out the garland and give it dimension with a different type of texture.

If you don’t buy real trees, you can often take the scraps at hardware stores like Home Depot. Or you can cut some branches off of a pine tree outside!

Twigs add an unexpected and fun element to floral arrangements. The addition of twigs to the garland gives it a custom and high-end look.

I had leftover twigs/branches in my closet that I broke apart and used throughout the garland. Look for twigs that fit your color palette.

For example, I found branches with a reddish tint. When you walk around your yard, you will be surprised by how many natural elements you can use to decorate your home!

3 | Attach Faux Flowers and Greenery

Next, I went into my decor closet and pulled out all of the faux flowers I owned. I found three branches of faux eucalyptus which worked great! You can see the branches below from our laundry room makeover.

In my storage closet, I found a few cream-colored flowers that were old decor for my daughter’s nursery. You can see the faux flowers from the nursery in the image below.

Adding a variety of flowers creates dimension and a touch of whimsy when they hang from the garland in a variety of ways.

How to hang garland on your staircase for $20 with this DIY | Building Bluebird #christmasdecor #vintage #holiday

I did purchase one bunch of the round eucalyptus leaves and snipped off each branch. This gave me 5 stems of the eucalyptus to add throughout the garland.

Centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner with magnolia branches | Building Bluebird
Dining Room Makeover

The garland was hung right after Thanksgiving and I still had the fresh flower arrangements I put together for the dinner table.

I pulled out the magnolia branches used in the arrangements and added those to the garland as well! The brown and green add a richness that makes the garland look more expensive.

How to hang garland on your staircase for $20 with this DIY | Building Bluebird #christmasdecor #vintage #holiday

Finally, I went through our Christmas bins and found a few red berry twigs and branch arrangements.

I attached all of these faux branches to the garland, doing my best to fill in any thin areas and give them a consistent look throughout.

6 | Add Red Ribbon Bows

How to hang garland on your staircase for $20 with this DIY | Building Bluebird #christmasdecor #vintage #holiday

There are so many great ways to add ribbon to garland on your staircase, but I decided to keep it simple with red bows at each attachment on the banister. I used 2.5 inch ribbon with wired edges.

The wire gives the bow more shape instead of flopping over. I left the tails longer (almost to the ground) for added drama.

REVEAL | Christmas Garland Swag on the Staircase

How to hang garland on your staircase for $20 with this DIY | Building Bluebird #christmasdecor #vintage #holiday

It is amazing how different an old ball of garland can look with a little love and attention! I absolutely love the look of festive garland on a staircase during the holidays.

How to hang garland on your staircase for $20 with this DIY | Building Bluebird #christmasdecor #vintage #holiday

This is the perfect timeless look for a traditional-style home.

How to hang garland on your staircase for $20 with this DIY | Building Bluebird #christmasdecor #vintage #holiday
How to hang garland on your staircase for $20 with this DIY | Building Bluebird #christmasdecor #vintage #holiday

Filling in thin garlands with real and faux flowers and branches is an easy way to make cheap garland look expensive.

Yield: Christmas garland

How to make cheap Christmas garland look expensive

How to make cheap Christmas garland look expensive

Simple and affordable ways to make cheap Christmas garland look expensive.

Active Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy


  • Christmas garland
  • Twigs and Christmas tree trimmings
  • Faux flowers
  • Magnolia leaves
  • Red Ribbons


  • Floral wire or galvanized wire


  1. Attach the Christmas garland to your staircase and fluff the branches so they look full
  2. Begin filling in the thin garland with evergreen tree trimmings and twigs that can be found in your yard
  3. Continue filling in bare spots on your garland with faux flowers and magnolia leaves - attach the flowers and ranches with the same floral wire used to attach the garland to the staircase
  4. Attach ribbon bows o the garland to complete the look

More Holiday Content You Will Love


Monday 6th of December 2021

So smart! I wouldn’t think to look at the Christmas decor at estate sales!


Tuesday 7th of December 2021

Thanks! There is a lot of junk there too, but you can definitely find some goodies :)

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