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How to Add Holiday Cheer to Your Space, Even If You Don’t Have Room for a Tree

published Nov 1, 2020
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Credit: Christopher Broe

Tiny spaces call for big ideas, and that’s especially true this time of year when many of us are looking to make things festive but don’t necessarily have the square footage for a Christmas tree. In our Instagram Stories, we asked about your biggest holiday decorating challenges. The top response? How to make a small space sparkle.

This calls for an RIY: a quick “refresh it yourself” project you can complete quickly and without the investment of a typical DIY. For some seasonal cheer, refreshing a bookshelf can be a festive alternative to buying and decorating (and making space for) a tree. We styled this one with fresh items from Target’s holiday decor collection to show you how to bring a little extra cheer into your space.

Learn the Basics of Bookscaping

Bookshelves tend to be relatively static spaces in our homes. Unless you’re an especially avid reader, your books likely stay more or less in the same place year-round. That’s all well and good, but for the holidays, you can consider mixing it up a bit. Turning book spines in for the season will help create a more neutral background upon which you can highlight holiday decor and create a festive bookscape.

Yes, I basically just made up the term bookscape. But if tables can have their own tablescapes, why can’t bookshelves have the same? Besides turning your books inward to create a neutral background, try stacking a few horizontally for visual interest and to create a platform for some seasonal sparkle to stand out.

Credit: Christopher Broe

Add Sparkles & Twinkles

Now, the fun part: Decorating! Once your books are rearranged, all it takes is a few accessories to turn your bookshelf into the centerpiece of your holiday decor. A few mini trees (which light up!), a family of faux fur woodland creatures, and a sleek gold metal bookend or two will make your bookscape a miniature wintry wonderland. Ornaments can double as cheerful decor, too, like this white sparkling starburst.

While you’re arranging things, remember to pair decorative accents in groupings of odd numbers — that’s the number one rule among florists and interior designers for creating arrangements that are pleasing to the eye. Some fairy lights, whether wrapped around your accessories or draped along the borders of your bookcase, will add a bit of whimsy and keep the space cozily illuminated at night.

Besides being a great alternative to a tree, there’s another big bonus to creating a holiday bookscape this season: It makes for the most festive Zoom background ever. Trust us, the compliments will come pouring in during your next virtual meeting! Once you’ve tried it, this RIY may end up becoming a seasonal tradition for you.