The Holiday Shelfie Is The Perfect Small Space Solution to Festive Decorating

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Christopher Broe)

Living in a small space can make holiday decorating difficult. While towering Christmas trees and over-the-top seasonal items might seem like the best way to spread more cheer, in reality, a tiny place calls for even teenier holiday decor.

That’s why shelfies—aka bookshelves and mantels decked-out in small-scale accessories (and plenty of books, of course!)—are perfect for apartment dwellers who aren’t working with a ton of space for holiday decorating. Instead of blowing your space budget on one or two outrageous holiday items, you can load up your shelves with miniature ornaments for a chic (not to mention, affordable) display.

Try a Mini Tree

Holiday spirit comes in all shapes and sizes, and lucky for us, so do Christmas trees. Instead of splurging on a big one that will only further cramp up your space, try dressing up a small pine tree branch or bonsai tree with mini ornaments for a savvy holiday shelfie.

(Image credit: Craftberry Bush)

Integrate Ornaments (& a Cloche!)

Big on style and small in scale, ornaments are an awesome way to deck out your bookshelves in holiday decor this season. Try placing color-coordinated ornaments in bowls or cloches (like Craftberry Bush did above) along your shelves to score a super sleek holiday bookshelf scene.

(Image credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel)

Put a Wreath On It

Never underestimate the power of a well-placed wreath (Sarah Sherman Samuel, who’s enviable display is above, surely didn’t). Hang a larger one in the center of your bookcase for a simple but impactful seasonal display, or position smaller ones along your shelves for a slightly bolder scene.

(Image credit: Christopher Broe)

Go With Garland

Garland is a seasonal decor trend that perseveres for a reason. Cheap, chic, and easy to use—it’s the perfect way to dress up your shelves and mantels with holiday spirit without overwhelming your space (or breaking your budget).

(Image credit: Harbour Breeze Home)

Sprinkle With String Lights

Few things feel more festive than a twinkling set of string lights, so why not strew some along your shelves to help spread some holiday cheer? Micro LED lights like the ones above used by Harbour Breeze Home, work great for a more streamlined display but any old-fashioned set of string lights should do the trick.

(Image credit: Vanessa Schmidt)

Candles FTW

Few things evoke the seasonal spirit like a lavish candle display and while not technically a “shelfie”, the idea from this fireplace mantel by Vanessa Schmidt, via Hannah Collins Design, can easily be translated atop a shorter bookcase or within bookshelves should space allow. Whether scented or tapered, flameless or burning, a well-rounded assortment of pretty candles always forges a warming holiday scene.

Tiny Holiday Objects

When all else fails, you can always count on a handful of seasonal decor objects to make a strong holiday statement on your shelves. Take a cue from Nicole Gibbons (via her Instagram) and use mini bells, tiny trees, pinecones and even wrapped gifts for a stylish seasonal vignette.