How to Decorate a Small Space
for the Holidays
Just because space is at a premium doesn’t mean you can’t go big for the holidays. Here’s how to capture the magic of the season in your apartment – without breaking the bank.
RETHINK THE TREE
In lieu of a Christmas tree that takes over a corner, opt for a smaller version that can sit on a table – next to the sofa, on the dining table or even on the coffee table. We have faux trees big and small, from spruce to fir to pine, with details like flocking and already attached lights. If you can’t live without that authentic pine smell, choose a tiny fresh tree from the lot, or gather branches and place them inside a sturdy vessel. For the skirt, twist a festive scarf or throw around the base. Finish it with your favorite ornaments, of course.
LET IT SHINE
Twinkle lights reflect off ceilings and walls, creating a dazzling effect with minimal effort. Wrap strings of LED lights around doorways, windows, pillars and drape rods, or use damage-free hooks to attach them to the wall. You can even create a custom design with a string of lights, like a star or zig-zagged tree, on a prominent wall to make a huge impact. Before you get started, check to make sure you have all the power sources you need – some older buildings have outlets few and far between.
MAKE MERRY MOMENTS
If you’re all about keeping your place organized and streamlined, consider creating just one or two festive decorating moments. Add a few votives and flameless candles to your mantel, fill a table tray with faux snow and ornaments or set a vase of festive faux botanicals on the dining table. Place the vignette in a spot that’s visible from your main living space so that your guests can enjoy it while you entertain.
JAZZ UP YOUR BAR CART
No apartment is complete without a stylish bar cart that moves from room to room. Get yours into the holiday spirit by swapping out your standard bar tools with a swanky set crafted of handsome leather, warm copper or radiant steel. A fun bar shaker in the shape of a penguin, train or stag doubles as decor and a conversation piece. Pack away your casual beer glasses, cocktail glasses and wine glasses to make room for the fancier stuff, like etched glass and gold-rimmed glass. This is also the time of year to stock up on top-shelf alcohol, like bourbon and brandy.
Notice what things you already have mounted in your home – chandeliers, pendants, drape rods, mantels, cabinets and more. These are all opportunities to suspend lightweight decor. Hook ornaments onto a chandelier, pendant or rod - or use hooks to hang them from the underside of your mantel or cabinets. You can also line the underside of your mantel or cabinets with garland, then attach ornaments or string lights.
PICK A PALETTE
It can be tempting to go all-out, but sticking to a restrained color palette will prevent decor from overwhelming the space. Try to stick to two or three colors, making sure to include at least one metallic. Combine red and gold, green and silver, green and gold – any combination you love – throughout your place to create a common thread. Ornaments, hand towels, pillow covers, throws and flameless candles are all ways to sprinkle the color theme throughout your home.
DECK THE WALLS
Got a gallery wall or picture ledges? Replacing everyday art for festive posters, photographs and holiday cards makes a warmhearted statement. If you have a gallery wall, take the frames down but keep the nails in the wall so it’s easy to hang everything back up. Store the art you remove in a dry, flat place, like beneath a heavy area rug that doesn’t get much foot traffic. (Just make sure you put it on top of the rug pad so nobody slips!) If you have picture ledges, move your everyday frames into the back of a closet for a bit, and replace them with frames containing something more festive.
CHANGE YOUR PILLOW COVERS
New pillow covers can totally transform the look of a sofa or bed. In addition to taking up no additional space, pillow covers are a great chance to show off your personal holiday style. Conjure up memories past with a nostalgic embroidered design, or add holiday glamour with beads and embroidery. You can also add a subtle holiday twist to your everyday aesthetic with versatile prints like plaid, stripes and polka dots. For an even more low-key look, choose cozy fabrics like chunky knits, faux fur and faux sheepskin.
MAKIE IT SMELL LIKE THE HOLIDAYS
Scent is the ultimate space-saving way to give your home that festive feeling. Light candles, set out oil diffusers or fill vessels with potpourri for an extra touch your guests will notice right when they walk in the door. Warm things up with cinnamon or vanilla, keep things fresh with pine or peppermint, or sweeten their air with gingerbread or cranberry. Home scent is the perfect finishing touch for a home.