How to Decorate a Small Space for the Holidays

Just because you live in a small space, doesn’t mean you can’t have holiday decorations. The Domestic CEO has 4 easy and fun ideas for making your small apartment into a cozy, festive space for the holidays.

Amanda Thomas
4-minute read
Episode #38

How to Decorate a Small Space for the Holidays

When I first moved to Phoenix ten years ago, I lived in tiny apartments. Once December rolled around, I wanted to decorate my place for the holidays, but all the options I found in stores seemed cheap and unappealing. While people living in big houses were able to decorate with tons of lights and illuminated figures in their front yards, as well as giant trees in their picture windows, I was resigned to a tacky little plastic tree on my card table. It not only looked sad, but it also made me miss my family and childhood traditions on the farm even more.

Over the years, I learned a few tricks to making the holiday decorations in my apartment look less like the work of a 4-year-old. Decorating a small apartment is very different from decorating a big home like I do now, but it can create as much, if not more, holiday spirit because small spaces are cozy and inviting. So here are 4 ways to turn even the tiniest apartment into your own winter wonderland:

Tip #1: Ditch the Tree

If you are living in a smaller space, a large Christmas tree can be a huge challenge to fit in the home, and hauling a tree (real or fake) up flights of stairs to your apartment can be a nightmare in and of itself. Besides, smaller trees tend to look cheap or like a shrub instead of a true Christmas tree, and you can’t really fit any gifts underneath them anyways. Not to mention the issue of proportion – in a 10’ x 12’ space, a good-sized tree will simply overwhelm the room.

Avoid the awkward-looking shrub in the corner by just choosing not to have a tree. If you want to bring green into your home, hang wreaths on the doors, or garlands around your doorways, instead. Or, if you simply must have a tree, opt for a Charlie Brown-style one that is still festive, but small enough to sit on a side table so it doesn’t take up any of your valuable floor space.

Tip #2: Deck the Walls

When you have limited square footage, think about taking your holiday decorations up, as in up the walls. Wreaths can be hung on doors, on mirrors, or above side tables to add a festive touch to your walls. You can find wreaths to fit any home décor, from natural pine to modern with metallic ornaments, so pick one that complements your room’s style.

For a cool modern look, print off individual letters for holiday-themed words, like “Peace, Love, Joy,” in a fun font, then mount each letter in a matching frame that goes with your home’s décor. Hang the frames on the wall using removable Velcro strips and you won’t even have to go through the trouble of nailing studs and patching up holes after the holiday season.

Tip #3: Tie it all Together

Ribbons are a great way to liven up any space, without taking up a lot of space. Purchase large spools of ribbon from craft or fabric stores and get creative. Tie bows around the backs of your dining room chairs for a little added flair. You can also use the ribbon to wrap any railings, banisters, or columns you have in your home. If you are new to tying bows and using ribbons, I highly recommend watching the video, How to Tie a Wreath Bow on YouTube. It offers simple instructions for making amazing decorative bows. Even the craft-challenged will be able to follow the directions.

Tip #4: Small Accessories

The key to bringing holiday spirit into a small home with very little effort is accessories. By swapping out the small accent pieces that you currently have in your home for holiday themed ones, you will transform the space without taking up any additional room. Look for items that can still be functional, as well as match your home’s current style. Find a few pillows that are in red, silver, or gold to use on your couch. Find a few metallic reindeer statues to replace your regular ceramic vases. Or, simply change the placemats and towels in your kitchen to holiday themed ones. These small changes will make a big difference to create a celebratory holiday feel for your home.

Now that you have a few tips to get you started, it’s time to start decorating! Get out all your holiday decorations, pick the pieces that will work in your current space, or go out and get a few more things that will give your pad the holiday feel you want, without taking up a ton of room.

If you are looking for some more holiday inspiration, check out the Christmas Decorations board on my Pinterest page where I have put together some of the best ideas I’ve found online.

Have a question about anything in this episode? Or a suggestion for a future podcast? Send me an email at DomesticCEO@quickanddirtytips.com or post it on my Facebook wall. You can also catch me on Twitter where I’m @TheDomesticCEO.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Wreath, Ribbon and Reindeer images courtesy of Shutterstock