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
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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