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7 interior design lessons from Christmas movies

Posted by AMH Team

6m read time

Dec 12, 2022

The holiday season is upon us! As festive decorations and food items start popping up, you’ll notice a huge influx of wintery movies on television channels and streaming services. While these films are perfectly enjoyable on their own, several also offer tips on home décor. Here are 7 of our favorite interior design lessons from Christmas movies.  


Elf (2003, PG): Try something new


Elf is a classic fish-out-of-water story. Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) is a human who grew up in the North Pole and is now experiencing city life for the first time. He’s intrigued by things we take for granted, such as revolving doors and chewing gum stuck underneath handrails — though maybe it’s a good thing we avoid the latter.


Buddy encourages others to broaden their horizons, too. He introduces a sugar-heavy meal to the family and goes gallivanting around town with his brother. His openness to trying new things is good motivation for a little holiday redecorating.


Maybe it’s time to reorganize the closet to make it more seasonal or waste less space. Or perhaps shopping for gifts has gotten you stressed. Try one of these easy ways to turn your bathroom into a spa. It doesn’t have to be a massive change, but introducing something new can invigorate you as the year winds down.    


A Christmas Story (1983, PG): Get creative with your lighting


One of the more memorable scenes from A Christmas Story is the arrival of a mysterious package at the family household. The Old Man excitedly opens it up, revealing a leg lamp. He’s proud and wants to show it off to the whole neighborhood.


Holiday lighting is a common sight this time of year. But whether it’s the holiday season or not, lighting is a crucial component of any home. Not only does it set the mood for the room, it can also impact your mental health and prepare your body for sleep at night. Add stickers or artwork to your lampshades, put tinsel around floor lamps, and introduce a red and green color scheme if you have any smart bulbs with multiple colors. And yes, if you really want, you can also get a leg lamp for your home.


I’ll Be Next Door for Christmas (2018, PG): Be a good neighbor with outdoor décor


There’s always at least one house on the block that goes above and beyond with the holiday decorations. Inflatable snowmen, a 12-foot Santa, and an entire pack of reindeer take over the front yard, while the lights are visible from an airplane a thousand miles away.


Perhaps you are that house. If so, make sure you check your community regulations so you’re not infringing on other people’s space or violating neighborhood rules. In I’ll Be Next Door for Christmas, Nicky (Juliette Angelo) has a family so obsessed with the holidays that she runs away and pretends to live at the vacant house next door when her boyfriend visits.


Don’t feel the need to stifle your creativity during the holiday season — just make sure you’re still being a good neighbor. Be mindful of your neighbors’ yards, sidewalks, and streets in front of their houses. And if you play Christmas carols on repeat all season long, put on headphones when it’s bedtime.


The Christmas Chronicles (2018, PG): Make your cleaning more efficient


A bit grittier than your typical holiday movie, The Christmas Chronicles shows us that Santa (Kurt Russell) needs his hat to be most effective in delivering presents to people across the world. When he loses it, it’s up to two kids to make sure everyone still has their holiday spirit when morning comes. Of course, those children caused the mess in the first place by sneaking into Santa’s sleigh and making him crash, so it’s a good thing they’re willing to help.


If your home is full of clutter, you might also have your holiday spirit sapped a bit. Fortunately, we’ve got several cleaning do’s and don’ts to make you even more efficient than Santa delivering presents all in one night.


For example, use a mesh laundry bag to hold smaller items in the dishwasher — think bottle tops or small measuring cups. Start from the top down when dusting or cleaning taller items such as dressers, shelves, and bookcases. Don’t use unclean tools or leave a mess you know you’ll have to clean later, like a pile of dirty dishes in the sink.


8-Bit Christmas (2021, PG): Invite the whole family to DIY


When you were growing up, was there a toy you really wanted? You sent a letter to Santa, sealed it in an envelope, and stamped it with six extra stamps to ensure it arrived at the North Pole. Then the holiday season came and went, and the toy was nowhere to be found. Sure, you got plenty of cool gifts, but the one thing at the top of your list didn’t arrive.


As the name suggests, the gift in 8-Bit Christmas is a classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Mario. Zelda. Metroid. The NES was the biggest prize for kids growing up in the 80s. But while gaming systems come and go, the real gift is spending time with your loved ones.


There are so many fun DIY projects the whole family can contribute to — and, unlike the characters in this movie, you don’t have to go to ridiculous lengths to pull them off. Grab some construction paper and make decorative wreaths or paper comb trees. Design festive snowflake coasters for your holiday drinks like apple cider and eggnog. Build homemade ornaments using paintbrushes or temporary tattoos.


These ideas are more affordable than a new gaming system, and you can create plenty of cheerful moments for the whole family.


Klaus (2019, PG): Look outside the U.S. for inspiration


It’s easy to look around the neighborhood during the holiday season, but sometimes going overseas works wonderfully, too. In Klaus, a Norwegian postman named Jesper Johansen (Jason Schwartzmann) is sent to a remote island to mail 6,000 letters within a year. Jesper befriends a man named Klaus (J.K. Simmons), and together they deliver toys to children around the island.


That means Jesper sees many different home styles, which might give him a few creative ideas for his own place. Some design trends are unique to certain parts of the world and are a nice way to refresh during the holiday season. You could add an Argentine penguin wine pourer for your holiday beverages. Or take inspiration from Wales and incorporate stone bowls and mugs or willow storage baskets for overseas holiday flair.


Jingle All the Way (1996, PG): Gussy up your game room


The desired toy in Jingle All the Way is a Turbo-Man action figure, which just so happens to be sold out everywhere. Yet, in their quest to find the toy, rival fathers Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Myron Larabee (Sinbad) inadvertently highlight all kinds of fun things for a game room.


For example:


The duo ends up at a radio station, hoping to win a competition to score the toy. A vinyl record player or karaoke machine is a wonderful addition to keep spirits high during game night.


In their efforts to get the toy, Howard and Myron get into scuffles together and with other shoppers. A frantic game such as Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Hungry Hungry Hippos, or Doubles! gets everyone involved and excited.


There’s a lot of running in this film. A treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike can get your blood pumping after sitting down for hours while playing a game.


Now that you’ve got inspiration, go make some magic happen. May this winter be your most productive and festive one yet. Happy holidays!

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