If you have a small home, like us, it can be tricky to figure out the best way to decorate for the festive season: you don’t want to clutter up your home, yet you really want that cosy, Christmas feeling. Well, luckily there are plenty of ways to fill your home with Christmas spirit without the clutter.
Christmas decoration for a small home, even a tiny house, where space is at a premium, requires a bit of creativity: think in terms of walls, windows and your outdoors, as well as your floor space. Look at lighting, candles and alternative Christmas Trees. Don’t forget the immersive nature of smells either. Most importantly, decorate with LOVE. Over the years I’ve learnt a couple of tricks.
Christmas Decorating is not just a Christmas Tree
No space? No worries! While you may love the thought of a beautiful big Christmas tree in your home, it’s far from practical.
If you have little floor space to spare, like us, there are lots of alternative ways to create a magical Christmas look without a Christmas tree taking over your tiny home.
One of the best ways to decorate is using the wall space you have available. There are loads of fun festive decorations that you can hang: stockings, twinkling lights and garlands.
Our family favourites are our reusable Advent Calendars. These go up on the first day of Advent and add that first tingle of the festive season. The added benefit of our advent calendar is that it keeps me on track in my Christmas prep with the kids:
Another favourite is a Christmas wreath made with seasonal foliage like holly leaves, mistletoe and red berries- we have a reusable one, that hangs on our front door.
You can buy ready-to-go options from most decoration stores or even make your own, depending on how creative and crafty you’re feeling! Hang the wreath on the wall, door or above the mantlepiece with a ribbon of your choice or have it as a table decoration, like the kids created last year: Our Advent and Christmas table piece.
Small Space Living Christmas Tip: For a truly festive feel, spray lightly with white paint or fake snow to create frosted tips.
Make your Home Merry and Bright
It’s a Scandinavian tradition to put lights up for Advent and keep them up until February. This totally makes sense as the dark winter nights close in. My advice would be to make use of string lights and candles to bring that essence of Christmas, the light of hope and warmth in.
We love decorating our space with festive lighting around the holidays. (Decorating with lights something I discovered some years ago.) After all, what better way to spread festive cheer than with bright and bold twinkly lights?
There are many places you can introduce lighting without it feeling like it’s too much. String lights look great placed along the windowsill or up and around the mirror or picture above your fireplace. If you have a staircase, wind string lights around the bannister. You could even create a neon sign wishing visitors a Merry Christmas or sculpt a tree by weaving your lights around pins in the wall.
In Sweden, lit up stars appear in every window as Christmas nears. (IKEA is doing a good job at exporting this tradition. 😉 ) The beauty of this is that it creates a Christmas feeling and lights up not only your home, but is there for passers-by to admire.
It’s wonderful to have a light source in a dark window!
Small space living Christmas Tip: We have our star lights and strands of lights on timers, so we don’t have to switch them on and off. They come on at 4pm and are on till 11pm and then, because the mornings are pretty dark too, they switch on at 6 am and are on till about 8 am.
Picking a Christmas Tree for a Small Space
Is a Christmas tree an absolute must-have?
I believe, a Christmas tree is a must-have for any family celebrating Christmas! (Even before we had kids and we used to make the most of the extended leave available at this time of the year, going on epic trips to faraway lands, I would set up a little tree and put it in the window to spread some cheer)
In a small space choosing a small tree with a big personality is the way to go. This way you can bring festive cheer to your home without leaving little room for anything else. There are lots of space-saving Christmas trees that will wow without dominating the room.
And, interestingly, you do have a choice between a live tree or a fake tree even in a small space.
Personally, I prefer a fake tree, as we can reuse it year-after-year and the tree itself has memories attached to it.
Slimline Christmas trees
If you’ve got a small corner in your living room that would be perfect for a show-stopping tree, then a slimline option may be just what you’re looking for. They’re not as wide as traditional trees so can squeeze into smaller spaces, taking up much less floor space.
Small Space Living Christmas Tip: Speaking of floor space, pop your tree onto a small console table. This will create the illusion of even more space because your eye is drawn to the expanse underneath the tree.
Mini Christmas trees
A mini Christmas tree is ideal if you really want to avoid the cluttered look. These can stand on your sideboard or chest of drawers. They are typically about half the size of a traditional tree, but can still feature all your favourite decorations.
If you opt for a live tree, the sugar cone spruce is your best bet. They are super cute and don’t need much decoration. Sadly, they don’t have a very strong pine scent.
We’ve always had one of these little trees, (even in our old home, where we had more space.) Over the years we’ve managed to keep a couple alive for more than one Christmas. It is very satisfying being able to bring a live tree in year after year.
The trick to keeping them alive is:
- to buy them off-season, early autumn, when they are not yet sold as Christmas trees.
- keep them well-watered, especially once they move indoors
- don’t shock the poor tree once Christmas is over! Gradually move them outdoors- first introducing them to a cool place and letting their soil dry out a little bit and then put them out in a nice big pot in, to a sheltered location.
Alternative Christmas trees
There are also many alternative Christmas trees that are the perfect way to bring Christmas spirit without them taking over a small living room.
I love the different options available from simply stringing lights in a Christmas tree shape onto the wall, to very modern metal or wooden tress. My favourite, which we are strongly considering this year is a wall hanging tree with frosted sticks. (I don’t know about you, but my kids absolutely adore collecting sticks, so something like this would make them quite happy.)
Torn over your options? For some great inspiration check out the Christmas Tree range from Cox and Cox.
Traditional vs Modern: How to Create the Perfect Look
When I think of traditional Christmas décor, it’s the perfect combination of merry reds, pine greens and deep golds. If you’re going for a traditional look in a small home, it’s important to adorn your space wisely to avoid it turning from Christmas bliss into Santa’s grotto. Don’t be tempted to decorate every inch of your space with red, green and gold – instead choose subtle decorations that will add just the right amount of festive cheer.
For some fun, you can take this mini quiz to see what your Christmas style looks like.
I reckon a Scandinavian inspired décor is a perfect way to create a cosy, yet modern Christmas interior. (I know I would say that! :-D)
Choosing a muted palette of creams, greys, greens (some reds) paired with rustic wooden ornaments that will make your home look sleek this season. The neutral colour palette works perfectly in a small space, creating a bright and airy feel. The advantage of going the Scandi route is that you can bring in quite a few decorative elements from nature, from your winter walks!
Spruce up your Tree: Family is the key
So what does that look like for your perfect tree? Well, for one, try not to over-decorate your Christmas Tree. Avoid using tinsel or large amounts of ribbon as it may be overbearing and look too busy in your small space. Instead, carefully choose decorations that suit the size of your tree.
For example, if your tree is slimline, choose slender decorations that will sit in line with the branches. Teardrop or onion-shaped baubles are the perfect options here as they are both space-saving and look great!
Got a mini Christmas tree? You can create the illusion of height by finishing your design with a large show-stopper tree topper. Such as the classic Star or Fairy.
In a small family home, however, the most important thing is to get the children involved: let them create decorations with salt dough, with gingerbread figures that they can then steal off the tree.
My favourite site for inspiration is Maggy’s Red Ted Art Christmas section
Decorating for Christmas with Scents
This may sound a bit left field, but just how memories do smells jog?!
Research has shown there could be some serious mood enhanced benefits to some of your favourite holiday scents. Vanilla inspires happiness and relaxation, the aroma of vanilla in warm oven-fresh Christmas biscuits or a warm scented vanilla candle might help you feel happier and more relaxed. The sweet scent of cinnamon or cloves can have a similar effect. Peppermint has been shown to have the ability to make a person more alert, and in some instances enhance memory. The scent of pine can decrease stress and improve your mood.
Layer these Christmas scents through your tiny space with cooking, baking or simply scented candles. …and once you’ve decorated your home like a pro, I think you deserve a glass of mulled wine and a cinnamon cookie.
Do you have any further hints and tips for decorating a small apartment for Christmas?
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