creative ways to decorate your apartment for the holidays

The holiday season celebrates cheer, goodwill and family. Decorating for the holidays is the perfect way for you to get ready for the upcoming season. Who doesn’t love twinkling lights, the smell of seasonal candles or the look of greenery displayed in your home? For those with smaller spaces, decorating will take some thought and creativity as you make your home ready for the holidays. You’ll want your apartment to look good, have space to move and not worry about storage after the season ends. Your options for holiday decorating in an apartment might not be as limited as you’d think. There are plenty of ways to transform your apartment into a holiday oasis.

Holiday Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces

You don’t need hundreds of decorations to get your home ready for the holidays. A couple of changes and a few festive additions will bring the spirit of the holidays right into your apartment. Here are some tips for how to decorate a small living room — or any other room in your apartment — for Christmas.

  • Decorate your walls: Use Pinterest favorite washi tape to make wall decorations. You can outline a Christmas tree, a Star of David or any other holiday image you like.You can also use washi tape to create a collage on your wall. As all the holiday cards with family photos and lovely winter scenes start coming in, you can tape them to the wall. You’ll also save space and not worry about a stack of cards piling up on your counter.
  • Build a graham cracker gingerbread house: Gingerbread houses are cute and a lot of fun to make, but they tend to take up a lot of space. Make a smaller version of a gingerbread house with graham crackers and icing. Don’t forget to add pops of color with your favorite candy.
  • Make snowflakes: Your window is the perfect place to decorate with snowflakes. One option is to make them with a hot glue gun. They peel right off the window when the season is over. Another idea is to cut out big snowflakes from paper and tape them to your window. The snowflakes will filter the sunlight and create beautiful shadows in your apartment.

decorate your window with a snowflake

  • Get a menorah with separate candlesticks: Storing a menorah can take up a lot of space. If you use a menorah with separate candlesticks, you could have an easier time with storage in the off-season.
  • Use tiered stands for entertaining: Having friends and family over to share a meal is one of the best parts of the holidays. Make the most of your space and use tiered stands to display food. This also makes the gathering feel like a special party. You can choose to arrange your tiered stand however you want. It’s OK to mix sweet and savory on these tiers.
  • Dress up your chairs: Festive holiday chair covers will add a seasonal twist to your dining area. You can get chair covers that slide over the backs of the chairs. You might also consider using a big bow to tie a wreath to the back of the chair.
  • Add miniature wreaths: You can purchase small wreaths or make some on your own. Sprigs of rosemary will create that perfect holiday wreath image, but you can use any greenery you want. If you want to make them yourself, you can tie the pieces of rosemary together with floral wire, or wrap the rosemary around a circular base to get a thicker look. Accent the wreath with a colorful bow. Your wreaths can go on the backs of your chairs, or can accent a shelf, bar or flat surface.
  • Use the hooks you already have: If you have coat hooks hung up, you could use those as an opportunity to decorate without the hassle of hanging things up. A wreath, winter scarf, bells or ornaments could go on these hooks.
  • Get mistletoe: You can use the washi tape to display mistletoe in your apartment. Whether you want it in a classic spot like the doorway, an addition to a decoration collage or above your window, mistletoe’s presence will make your apartment feel like it’s time for the holidays.
  • Wrap your presents early: Wrap any presents you’ve bought early and use them as decoration. Match the boxes to your favorite aesthetic. A few boxes with bright holiday paper and giant bows will bring your apartment to life with the holiday spirit. If your decorating style is less colorful, wrap up your presents with brown paper and strings. Use a small branch of greenery to accent the knot.
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use wrapped gifts as decoration

  • Add bows: Your windows, doors and cabinets are spots where you can add some holiday flair. Wide, festive bows will make it look like you’ve wrapped up your apartment. Run a piece of ribbon lengthwise down the middle of the surface and tape it at the top. You can also add a piece of ribbon running along the width if you want. Then, attach a big bow in the middle of the ribbon, or at the point where they intersect if you’ve done length and width ribbons.
  • Use flameless candles: Candles provide a cozy light perfect for the season. But real candles also have a fire risk. Flameless candles are battery-operated and usually have a timer, so you can have holiday lighting without worrying about the risks. When looking for flameless candles, you might find some designed specifically for the holidays.
  • Attach ornaments to your chandelier: If you have more ornaments than space on your tree, you can find alternative places for the ornaments. One trick is to attach ribbon to the ornaments and put them on the chandelier. You can use any ornaments of any color. This merry addition will liven up your dining area and give your chandelier a new look.
  • Get holiday dishes: Holiday plates, bowls and mugs will help you decorate without putting in a lot of effort. Displaying some holiday dish ensembles on your table will look fantastic and put guests in the holiday spirit. And what’s more cheerful than drinking hot chocolate or cider out of a holiday mug?
  • Display holiday pillows: Switch out your current throw pillows with holiday-themed pillows. They could say “Joy,” “Jingle Bells” or depict a winter scene. Regardless of what pillows you get, they’ll add a splash of holiday color to your couch.
  • Use glass jars: Still don’t know what to do with extra ornaments? Fill some tall glass jars with ornaments and put them on your table. There isn’t any fuss with hooks, and they’re colorful and easy to put together.

What Are Creative Christmas Tree Ideas for Small Spaces?

Many people love having a Christmas tree for the holidays. But they tend to take up a lot of space. While your apartment might not fit a typical Christmas tree, you can use some of these fun and pretty alternatives.

  • Tiny Christmas trees: Your Christmas tree doesn’t have to be five feet tall to bring beauty and joy to your apartment. Tiny Christmas trees will get the job done. They have room for a small string of lights and small ornaments if you want to decorate them.The best part is that you can get creative with placement. Tiny Christmas trees will look festive in corners, on a tabletop or a shelf. And no one says you have to stop at one. A cluster of three to four small Christmas trees will have your apartment holiday-ready in no time.

tiny Christmas trees look festive

  • Christmas branches: Fir and Douglas branches in a vase are beautiful Christmas additions to an apartment. You could frost the branches to give them a fresh winter look. There aren’t any limits to how you can dress up a Christmas branch.Depending on the size and strength, you can add your favorite ornaments and lights to the branch. The vase can be a festive holiday color, a Christmas vase or whatever vase you have on hand.Don’t forget to spruce up the vase as well. If there is space, you can add Christmas ornaments to the vase as a foundation to keep the branch steady. Wrap a bow around the vase as an accent to make your ensemble pop.
  • Half or quarter trees: If you want a taller tree but can’t fit it in your apartment, consider a half or quarter tree. These smaller trees fit perfectly against walls and in corners without sacrificing extra space. Get one that’s tall and skinny to make the most out of your tree. You’ll have more places to put lights and ornaments.
  • Pinecone trees: These cute and small decorations are easy to make and look fantastic. Paint pinecones green, place them in a small pot and add a paper star on top to complete the craft. You can customize your pinecone tree however you like. Add splashes of white paint to look like frost, or maybe you want red and gold or blue and silver pinecone trees. Paint the pots to match, or add a Christmas scene to them. You can put these on shelves, end tables or even as a centerpiece for your table.
  • Paper trees: Pick your favorite decorative paper and fold it into a pyramid shape. Add a star on top and you’ve got a paper Christmas tree. These lightweight decorations can go anywhere in your apartment.If you want to take these up a level, you can wrap candy or other treats in the paper trees and use them as small gifts when someone stops over.
  • No trees: If you have no room for a tree or don’t want one, you can still make a winter holiday-inspired piece. On a small table or flat surface, arrange three or four candles and put a circle of greenery around them. You can use pillar candles, candles that go in unique candlesticks or glass jars. The greenery pulls the creation together and gives it that holiday vibe.
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Garlands for Small Spaces

Garlands look fantastic on a mantle or wrapped around a railing. If you live in an apartment, these options might not be available to you. Luckily, garlands are another Christmas decorating idea for small spaces, because they are versatile enough to go just about anywhere in your apartment.

  • On a shelf or bookcase: These surfaces will transform into reminders of the holidays when you add a piece of garland across them. Consider wrapping warm white lights around the garland or adding flameless candles and ornaments to bring the look together. If you want to get even more creative, use clothespins to attach all the holiday cards you’ve gotten that season.You also could think about swapping what you have on top of the shelves with holiday decorations. Replacing year-round photos and other items with your decorations will offer a refreshing change of seasonal scenery.

try decorating a shelf or bookcase

  • Around a mirror, doorway or window: Spruce up your mirrors, doorways and windows with a piece of garland outlining them. Like the shelves and bookcases, you can add lights and other pieces to the garland.
  • On top of cabinets: Do you have some extra space on top of your cabinets? This is the perfect spot to add garlands and make your kitchen feel cozy.
  • Around the chandelier: Whether you have a big chandelier or a small one, threading some garland through the lights will create a warm and pleasant atmosphere.

How to Make Your Apartment Smell Like the Holidays

Cinnamon, cookies and cranberries are all holiday scents that tie everything together in your home. Some apartments don’t allow candles or wax melts, so you’ll need other options to get those wonderful seasonal aromas in your apartment.

  • Make potpourri: You can make homemade potpourri right on your stove. Fill a pot with water and add orange slices, cinnamon sticks, cranberries, cloves, nutmeg and rosemary. The aroma will fill your apartment and will tie in all the wonderful scents associated with this time of year.
  • Make mulled wine: If you’re already working at the stove, you might want to make something tasty to drink. An alternative to making potpourri is to make mulled wine. There are many different recipes to choose from, but they mostly combine red wine, cinnamon, oranges, cloves and star anise. This concoction will make your apartment smell delicious, and you and your guests can enjoy drinking it.
  • Decorate with real greenery: Pine, balsam, cedar and rosemary all have fresh, wintry smells that can make your apartment smell like the holidays. You might have to be careful of overloading your apartment with a lot of real greenery, because a little bit goes a long way. Too much scent might overwhelm you. Small accents of real greenery will be enough to create a natural, woodsy aroma.
  • Reed diffusers: Reed diffusers slowly get scent into your apartment. They look great on a shelf, and you can pick which scent you like the most. As the reeds absorb the liquid, they will transfer it to the air.
  • Use strong candles: Some candles have a strong enough scent that you don’t need to light them to smell them. If you find a candle you like, keep the lid off, and the aroma will fill the space. This works better in smaller areas and won’t get overpowering.

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