You don’t have to buy holiday decorations for your home if you start looking at ordinary household items in a whole new (holiday) light. Although most people decorate with bowls of fruit and flowers, think beyond that for holiday decorating.

This list of everyday items lets you go from drab to fab in minutes:

  • Books: Books are worth gold when decorating nooks and crannies, cozy and inviting spots, and bare areas that need accessorizing. You can find great sets of bound books at tag sales and thrift stores if you don’t already have your own collection. Standing some on their ends while stacking some flat adds height and dimension to an end table. Set a lamp or arrangement on top of some for a more whimsical look.

  • Candles: Whether you have votives, tea lights, pillars, tapers, or those big oversized jars of scented wax, candles add a simple touch of elegance to a room. Arrange in clusters and stagger heights if possible. If flames make you nervous, use fuss-free battery-operated candles.

  • Fabrics and linens: Think of fabric as an element: a throw, tablecloth, pillow, cushion, slipcover, tapestry, window treatment, and so on. Do you have any fabric remnants that can be used as a quick decorating touch? For buffets, bring out fabrics that fit the mood to decorate the buffet table ¯ old quilts for a Sunday down-home get-together or shimmering satins for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.

  • Ribbons: Ribbon is a perfect accent to add to the Christmas tree and to wreaths, lamps, or ornaments. Swirl them around tablescapes and villages, make bows for chairs, and use ribbons anywhere else you can imagine. Make sure to get a few extra spools in neutral colors or colors that match your home décor, so that you can use ribbon through the year for last-minute decorating.

  • Vases or bowls: Use vases or bowls to hold everything from ornaments to fruit, flowers to branches, or leave them alone to strike an artistic pose.

  • Accent pillows: Soften hard lines of sofas, chairs, or other seating areas with accent pillows. Pick a few different shapes and sizes to change out or re-cover for the holiday season. To change them up in a hurry, try finding pillow slipcovers to go with each season or holiday. If you have trouble finding them, make your own.

  • Baskets: Baskets are wonderful textural items that come in any artistic shape, color, or size. Use baskets for storage to house stacks of magazines, your knitting, or for holding masses of pine cones during fall and winter months. They also come in handy for entertaining. Use them to hold napkin-wrapped silverware, line them with a cloth and toss hot dinner rolls in them, or use them to hold waterproof containers full of flowers or plants.

  • Trays: Trays are useful items to start collecting or keep on hand. Use trays as surfaces to arrange miniature tablescapes. This way, you can move the tablescape from room to room as needed or desired.

  • Throws: Throws add texture and layers to a room’s environment. Sure, they look great when tossed over chairs or on sofas in the winter, but they’re also great to have on a bed or by an office chair.

  • Mirrors: Mirrors reflect light and are great for optical illusions. Use large mirrors or small mirrors. Cluster them on the wall to make your home appear lighter, brighter, or larger. In holiday decorating, you can double the candlelight you have by simply placing a mirror underneath lit candles. When setting up buffets, try using mirrors as platters to arrange fruit, hors d’oeuvres, pastries, and more, making a small sampling seem more expansive.