Tiny Space, Big Cheer

By Anica Wong

November 10, 2014 4 min read

There's no doubt that a majority of the fun and joy of the holidays comes from decorating your abode. Picking the right Christmas tree, pulling out your grade-school ornaments that still leave traces of glitter everywhere, hanging lights that make your electric bill skyrocket ... it's all in the name of the holiday spirit. But how do you push, shove and stuff all of that good cheer into a 300-square-foot studio or teeny-tiny one-bedroom apartment?

When it comes to decorating your small space for the holidays, there are definitely some tips and tricks to keep in mind so that you don't overwhelm your area or get too bogged down in tinsel and wrapping paper.

First, tackle the tree. You must get rid of any notions that a big tree will look good in a little apartment. Christine Brun, a syndicated columnist and interior designer, says there are many ways to get the feeling of a Christmas tree. "There are pre-lit wall-hung wreaths, one sided imitation trees and slender trees that are marketed for tight spaces," she says. "Another idea is to put a tree on top of an end table to give the appearance of height without eating up a lot of the floor space." That last part is key; don't misuse precious floor space.

Next, on to the stockings. While typically hung by the fire with care, your stockings can be hung up anywhere where they can, well, hang, and are not reliant on if you have a fireplace. Try them on the bookcase or a stair railing. Clear off the coat rack that mounts on the wall and use it exclusively for your stockings. Buy those small hooks that have sticky backs that can be removed once the credit card bills roll around.

And what would Christmas be without extra decorations, the family Nativity scene or the gobs of tinsel? While those things take up space in storage for most months out of the year, Brun suggests going au natural when you decorate. "Use fruit for centerpieces (lemons, oranges, apples or pomegranates) in clear glass and add evergreens," she says. "A large bowl of pine cones with glossy ornaments and a few sprigs of evergreen is always lovely." Brun is a huge fan of twinkle lights, which she says add a nice sparkle to any room. The same can be said about white/silver and white/gold combinations of ornaments or other pieces; these colors keep a room light and airy without feeling like they take up space.

Last, but certainly not least, enjoy the decorations that you select and don't be grumpy about the ones that don't fit in your place. According to the National Retail Federation, American consumers are on track to spend, on average, $53.68 on holiday decorations. "You don't have to expend a ton of money on a smaller home," says Brun, pointing out a bright spot to having a small space. "The key part is to treat your decorations gently and re-use year after year. Go scouting at local thrift shops a month or two before Christmas or New Year. You can buy wonderful holiday decor at the Goodwill and other charity thrift shops for at least half the retail price," she suggests.

Add in eggnog, your favorite Christmas carols and some twinkly lights, and you're bound to start feeling that holiday cheer.

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