Holiday Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces

There's no need to downsize your holiday expectations with a small space to decorate. Our space-saving ideas bring the merriment of the season into even the tiniest corners.

By Kelly Roberson


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tabletop tree next to stairs
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Use Space by the Stairs

    A small table by the stairs is a prominent small-space spot to start your Christmas merriment. Add a little, lightly decorated tree and a modest display to the tabletop. To give the evergreen a bit of height, place in a tall silver vase.

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Create a Hanging Window Display

    Look out on something pretty -- a basic painted frame strung with ribbon and hung with ornaments jazzes up a window and requires zero rearranging.

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Brighten a Hanging Picture

    You've already decorated your home with personal pictures -- give them a holiday touch with a sprig of evergreen. No special crafting tools required.

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Use Wall Space

    That lovely solid-color wall in your living room? The perfect home for a holiday display. Here, miniature grapevine wreaths add texture to a green wall. We chose a variety of accents -- faux birds, small ornaments, sprigs of berries -- and glued them onto the wreaths before hanging the displays from a length of ribbon.

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Fabricate a Faux Tree

    If you don't have space for -- or just don't want -- a real tree, you can get the same feel with this evergreen idea. Start with a wide branch; hang on a hook from the wall and decorate with treasured ornaments.

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Utilize Vertical Space

    If space is limited, you might not be able to hang every ornament you own on a tree, but there's no reason to keep the leftovers boxed up. Look for unexpected places -- from a chandelier, at a window, over a doorway -- to dangle a few for sparkle and cheer.

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Fill a Corner

    Nooks, crannies, shelves, bookcases: All are great spots for diminutive seasonal decor. If there's no space for a full tree, put a single dwarf version -- with a few presents -- on a midheight shelf. In place of lights, decorate with small-scale ornaments.

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Decorate with Small Wreaths

    Large and impactful are typical design credos for wreaths, but small can be equally as mighty. Hang a mini wreath with a velvet or satin ribbon from shelves or drawer pulls.

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Hang Ornaments on Walls

    Making clever use of wall space will ensure that your small-space holiday schemes have impact. To boost the seasonal spirits of small stretches of wall space, try this simple trick: Use a length of ribbon and hang ornaments that spell out a message (tie the ribbon around each to keep in place). Secure with thumbtacks and disguise the ends with a bit of evergreen.

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Add a Tree in a Bathroom

    Don't overlook bathrooms as places to add some merry touches. Here, a small corner offers a great spot for a potted tree decorated with cream and blue ceramic bells and glass balls.

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Use Window Space

    Simplicity is key for small-space decorating. White pillar candles, placed on a silver tray, add elegance to a windowsill. Two faux dwarf evergreens, wrapped in burlap, add a bit of color to the wintry scene.

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Enhance a Chair

    Instead of leaving extra chairs empty, place beribboned packages on, under, and around them for a small-scale version of under-the-tree package bonanza.

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Go Small with Displays

    Ornaments have tons of pop -- utilize their glitter and glow for a small-space display. Glue an ornament to a small, round plastic or glass disk. Remove the hanger and tuck in mini blooms or sprigs of berries. Group the vase ornaments on a tray for a centerpiece.

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Make an Impactful Wall Display

    Old photos are great conversation starters, particularly at the holidays, and this display takes up only minimal wall space. Start with baby photographs; cut them in a circle, mount on foam core, and arrange in a tree shape. Little space, big impact.

    Editor's Tip: For a great together-time activity, have family members guess who is who in each photo.

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Use a Basic Tree and One Accent Color

    A bare-bones tree is a treat for a small corner, and choosing just one accent color is a good way to cut down on visual distractions. For the base of your tree, wrap a small box with a dish towel and fill the base of the box with stones (disguised with a layer of pearl-white ornaments) to hold in place. Add a few more wrapped boxes in a variety of papers and ribbons.

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Accent Your Kitchen Windows

    Open, airy windowpanes dance with color, thanks to these colorful snowflakes. Hang similar ones in a pattern or at random; add the final touch with a simple swag of greenery overhead.

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Create a Tiny Village Display

    Tiny wrapped boxes provide a base to a few glittering paper houses that take up very little space. To make "trees," wrap squares of scrapbook paper into cones and glue the edges; cut off the bottoms to be level. For extra sparkle, place the grouping on a silver tray.

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Decorate a Tabletop Tree

    Even if you have more expansive spaces, a small tree can add charm and whimsy to small rooms, such as an entry. Tuck a small tree in a bright container and string garland and ribbon ornaments as well as a few round ornaments. Include accents that are similarly scaled down, such as small presents or containers of candy canes.

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Swap Out Curtains

    Think outside the box when it comes to your small-space decorating. In place of everyday kitchen curtains, swap in a few spray-starched Christmas aprons and add a cluster of faux trees.

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Craft a Mini Tree

    There's no need to overdo accents in downsized spaces. Go for impact, such as this tiny twinkling tree, made by drilling tiny holes into a stick and inserting lengths of pipe cleaners. Add a few beads -- either the same color or an accent -- on the ends of some of the "stems."

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Make a Wall Advent Calendar

    Walls can be a great asset when it comes to small-space holiday decorating. Here, a cluster of small lidded storage containers is transformed into a countdown holiday calendar. Paint the boxes and print out numbers on colored paper; cut out and adhere to the lids. Glue a small magnet to the back of each container and attach to a painted metal board.

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Add Bits of Texture to a Banister

    Texture can play a key role in boosting the visual interest of a small space. Here, a simple swag of evergreen boughs and three stockings in three different materials spruce up a short banister.

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Rely on Small Ornaments

    Put extra ornaments to use in imaginative ways. For starters, try spelling out a holiday message on a mantel or shelf. Spray-paint small terra-cotta pots a sparkly color; write your message with a craft pen on round ornaments and tuck them into the pots.

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Put Home Accents to Work

    Got a pretty lamp with an open base? Fill it with ornaments. A kitchen bowl could do the same work in a small space.

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Play Up Your Dining Room

    Look to your dining table to display holiday merriment. A tiny wrapped box offers a warm welcome at a place setting. Best yet? It fits inside a teacup.

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Holiday Must-Have: Country Stars Tabletop Tree

    Let your holiday decor take a rustic turn with this live dwarf Alberta spruce. Spiraling around it is a 52-inch garland of white-edge coppery metal stars, pinecones, and beads in red, yellow, and white.

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