Holiday Open House – Rachel from Useful Beautiful Home

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Decorate a galvanized three-tiered stand for the holidays

| Galvanized Three-Tiered Stand |

Good morning and happy Sunday!  We are continuing the open house inspiration throughout the weekend, and today we are thrilled to welcome back Rachel from Useful Beautiful Home as our guest hostess.  Rachel has posted for us before, during Operation: Organization {Back to School Edition} and we’re thrilled to be sharing her holiday decor with you today.  Here’s Rachel:


I don’t know how you feel, but for me, the subtle shift from celebrating the beauty of the season becomes a burden of decorating aspirations if I’m not careful. In reality, it’s the peaceful environment we create within our homes during Christmas that’s of true magazine worthiness. That’s why I’ve enjoyed each Holiday Open House featured at 11 Magnolia Lane (also speaking for those still to come), as everyone shares from her heart and lovely personalities come genuinely shining through while we countdown to Christmas.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 1
May everything I share today serve only to inspire you but not for a moment drain you. My heartfelt message is rooted in our new adoption journey. That means, each surplus dollar we earn must be tucked away for a purpose much greater than holiday decor. We’re wishing to invest in a life (or two) and my hope is for you to read between the lines as you “walk” through my home and see that pennies may be pinched but decorations can still be meaningful. So sit back and peruse these pictures while enjoying the beauty of Christmas spirit found within your own inviting home.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 2
I made several wreaths last year on a budget and they were repurposed in our new house this year (we moved about 6 months ago). The one pictured above welcomes you in the front door and pictured below hangs on the powder room door.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 3
Immediately inside our home, you’re greeted by the staircase that envelopes the entryway. I anchored it with a faux pencil tree in the corner. It makes a big statement with little cost investment. I was amazed how few ornamental decorations this tree took compared to a standard wide tree. The shelves and furniture piece are always there, I just decorate by season.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 4
The entryway is one of my favorite features of our home and is where I’ve chosen to invest this year’s version of Dollar Store Decor (or DSD). I’ve found many of my readers enjoy simple decorating ideas that turn basic Dollar Store items into household decor. I won’t link to everything because you can find them on my blog, but I will let you know most of what you see today are projects I haven’t shared yet with my own readers. In other words, you’re getting an exclusive VIP tour. 😉 If you’re interested, most of the DSD items shown today will be part of a tutorial later this week, so feel free to pop over and check it out.

Being our first year in this home, I went with a “mixed metal” theme for decorating our entryway. That allowed me to use both old and new Christmas decorations for a style change with a small price tag.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 5
Wrapped large boxes stacked alongside the tree continue the mismatching metals with extra emphasis because of their size.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 6

For Thanksgiving, I filled a wooden toolbox with scented pinecones. As December approached, I didn’t really see the need to change it out, instead, I added a few silver touches and a “JOY” ornament in front.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 7

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 8

When purchasing ornaments, I shop dollar spots and picked packages containing multiple ornaments rather than individual pieces. Additionally, it seemed the more glitter and sparkle involved on the ornaments, the more expensive my tree looked. So I was intentional on the style of dollar ornaments too.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 9

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 10

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 11

My stockings here are purely ornamental. Again, I kept them on theme with the other entryway items using muted backgrounds and mixed metals. This is really the only “themed” area in our house.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 12

A month ago, I was ready to drop big bucks on a trendy circular rug for this part of our house until we decided against that because it was a want rather than a need. Now, I’m glad because I would have missed the nighttime reflection on the travertine that takes place in this serene little nook.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 13

Vignettes and collections are throughout our house. It’s the easiest way I’ve found to use what I have and display what I love without looking cluttered or disconnected. In the entryway, I gathered our nutcracker collection to line the shelves. I even pulled a couple from the tree ornaments to stand alongside the taller soldiers.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 14

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 15

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 16

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 17

When you move into our family room, you will find old familiars and tried & true decorations.

old familiar decor

This is where we put up our regular Christmas tree filled with sentimental ornaments and plenty of color. It brings comfort, familiarity, and traditions. Those are the things that return us to Christmas reflection, not the color-coordinated decorations in my entryway.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 18

Both the entryway and the family room I desire to make pretty, but I also want it be “us”. The stereotypical cluster of ornaments hung by a young child is found on the bottom foot or two of this tree. That’s how our 6-year-old helped hang the ornaments weeks ago and that’s how they will remain, clustered and perfectly imperfect! That, to me, is “us”.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 19

So is our family puzzle. Keeping it out on the coffee table near the tree encourages family time, something so desperately needed during the fast pace of this month. I’m not a huge puzzle fan but I try to be a good sport for the others who love the game. I think for every two pieces I manage to match, my husband and daughter can finish a quarter of the puzzle. 🙂

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 20

Another 6-year-old addition was the red and green paper chain she happily made one afternoon. So, I hung it proudly on the blanket ladder I wrote about HERE, this is also where we hang our more colorful stockings. No fireplace mantel for us here in Florida.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 21

However, we do have a faux mantel above the TV. It holds our countdown calendar and a few clusters of stars (yep, another collection if you’re keeping count).

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 22

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 23

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 24

I have a trilogy of chalkboards that we. just. finished. Literally, we just hung them up in time for this house tour and added a simple design. It’s a project I dreamed up back in the summer and have finally gotten around to finishing (also will be posting about this on my blog in the coming weeks). They were simple and I love, love, love them! Plus, they’re inexpensive for a rather large and customizable DIY project.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 25


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I don’t decorate every inch of my home. Frankly, it’s a matter of not having enough time to invest. However, key places always get a touch of seasonal flare. One of those spots is my hot drink station (HERE was the Fall edition). I now have it decked out with small Christmas touches. It houses tea, coffee, coffee condiments minus the creamer, hot cocoa, and cocoa fixins.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 27

{Stand Available Here, Red mugs, Cream Pitcher-HomeGoods}

It doesn’t take much to change with each season or as the mood strikes me but is another big impact for little cost. Not surprisingly, it also promotes drinking more cups of cocoa which in turn makes more special moments. That alone is why it remains on the kitchen island. I’ll share a more detailed tour of ways I embellished this coffee/tea/cocoa stand for cheap-o next week on my blog.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 28

{similar sugar spoon  | Hot Cocoa Labels}

I have so much to share and really could go on, but I’ll end with my nativity scene. It’s my favorite Christmas decoration that will never be traded in for a newer or more trendy edition.

The people and animals in the scene are a porcelain set that I hand painted when my husband and I were engaged. I remember passing time talking about wedding details while painting minuscule details on little figurines.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 29

Unbeknownst to me, while I was painting tiny eyebrows and animal hooves, my fiance was making the manger scene background. He made a stable using scrap wood, a few branch pieces, and tree bark from my grandparent’s yard.

The creativity he used was incredibly thoughtful. There’s even a nail to hang the angel and behind the nail is a battery unit that operates a small light, giving her a gentle glow at night.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 30

It’s truly a gem that hopefully my daughter will one day treasure as much as I. You can see why this manger scene will never go out of style in my eyes. Even when pieces accidentally get broken, I find ways to hide the chips under the moss and preserve the memories.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 31

I noticed the hay and the moss are a little bare this year. It may need a little TLC, but again, it’s “us” in all it’s perfectly imperfect ways.

Useful Beautiful Home's Holiday Home Tour 32

I hope my holiday tour has given you a glimpse of the heart behind our home and continued love for your own holiday sentiments. There is so much beauty this time of year, from the smallest of treasured ornaments to the biggest of giving hearts. Wishing you the very best both now and for the new year!


Rachel, thank you for welcoming us into your beautiful home, and also into your heart.  I love the caution about not getting too wrapped up in the trimmings of the season, something that is far too easy for all of us to do!

Just a side note; if you are looking for an easy and inexpensive gift idea, check out this post on how to make these easy DIY monogrammed ornaments:

Monogrammed Christmas Ornaments | 11 Magnolia Lane


Want to get super-organized for the holidays? Our Holiday Planner is designed to help you have the BEST holiday ever. See how you can plan ahead, save stress and truly enjoy this holiday HERE.

The 2016 Holiday Planner from 11 Magnolia Lane, an 18 page planner to organize your entire holiday.

You can also download our FREE Holiday Decorations Planner Worksheet below:

Click Here for your FREE Holiday Decor Planner Worksheet

See our Hot Cocoa Stand with Printable Round “Warmest Wishes” labels HERE.
Here is the Open House series line up~


Here is the Open House series line up~
December 5th~ Emily from 11 Gables
December 17th~ Krystine Edwards
December 18–Pretty Preppy Party

See our 2015 Holiday Open Houses HERE!

See our homes decorated for the holidays {as part of the 2016 12 Days of Holiday Homes Tour} HERE and HERE.


Christy new headshot

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Our posts contain affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking on these links, we will earn a small commission, which helps to keep our content free.  You don’t pay a cent more than you would otherwise, since that would be tacky! Please see our full disclosure policy here.


  1. How beautiful! My favorite parts are the mixed metal tree and nativity set. Thank you for sharing, and Merry Christmas!

  2. Very pretty. I love the shared thoughts about the rug that was a want. I guess you never know what’s around the corner unless you wait a minute to see. 🙂

  3. What a lovely home. I love the story behind the nativity scene.

  4. Oh how I loved touring Rachel’s home and wonderful creations from the monogrammed ornaments , the cute cinnamon tin on the tree!…(great idea) to that wonderful Countdown to Christmas…and yes, Rachel has certainly created that peaceful environment within her home!…

  5. Beautiful and simply gracious!! Keep all you used this year and I promise you that as put some things away and not
    use them, in 30 years or so, you will pull out today’s items and use them as beautifully as you do now. Love the count
    down to Christmas board. Enjoyed this touring post!

  6. Beautiful home tour! I love it when people strive to make Christmas all about family and not so much on all the decor. Love the nativity scene story!


  7. So many great details! Love your JOY chalk art, too!!

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