26 Brilliant Christmas Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces

updated Oct 26, 2022
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If you have visions of recreating Santa’s workshop under your roof, but aren’t gung-ho about spending a Saturday morning trying to maneuver a giant Christmas tree into your 250-square-foot apartment, you’re in luck. An excess of space is not a requirement for embracing the holiday spirit, and even the smallest RVs, apartments, and bungalows alike can join in on the fun.

The key to nailing Christmas decor for a small space is downsizing and thinking outside the box. Understand that voluminous trees and infinite garlands aren’t the only festive items you can deck the halls with — string lights, figurines, branches, baubles, and tapestries can all be used to make sure the spirit of Christmas is reverberating from every inch of your home without losing precious storage or hangout space.

Credit: Courtesy of Anthropologie and Pinterest

1. Dress your window(s) with greenery.

No staircase? No problem! You can still incorporate festive swags and garlands into your holiday setup. Frame out a window — or a portion of a window, as seen in this Brooklyn showhouse decorated by Anthropologie in partnership with Pinterest — using fresh or faux greenery. Bonus points if you add twinkly lights to your setup, too.

2. Hang ornaments in unexpected spots.

Sure, trees are fun to decorate, but you can hang ornaments pretty much anywhere you’d like to without branches. A few small space-friendly spots include in doorways, from chandeliers or lighting fixtures, and from your entryway key rack, as shown here. Use pretty ribbon to do the tying, since it’ll look more festive than the typical metal hooks.

3. Make mirror magic with a well-placed wreath.

Sometimes the best way to decorate a smaller space for the holidays involves zhushing up items you always have out to make them look more festive. Case in point? Hanging a wreath from your mirror. This takes up hardly any space at all, and you can mount one by simply slipping it over the top of the frame with ribbon. A trio of wreaths looks great on a full-length mirror, too. If you need to check your ‘fit or face, just pop the wreath off and reattach it.

4. Turn your Christmas cards into a festive and elegant display.

Looking for an inexpensive way to brighten up your home for the holidays? Make the most of those Christmas cards full of your loved ones’ smiling faces. Check out this clever DIY Christmas Card Hanger tutorial by Aimee Weaver Designs to spruce up your home for the season in minutes. 

5. Ensure a white Christmas with window clings.

Whether you live in Miami or Manchester, Vermont, you can still create the cozy feel of a white Christmas. These clever snowflake stickers from Amazon are a simple (and cost-effective) way to decorate for the season, no matter how small your space is. 

Credit: Grandin Road

6. Take to the walls.

No room for a real Christmas tree like the one you grew up with? No worries. We love this find from Grandin Road that allows you to have a festive tree without taking up precious square footage.

7. Make it mini.

Even the smallest of small spaces can be prepped for the holidays, and this California RV’s festive decor is the perfect example. Downsize your traditionally-sized items (like wreaths and trees) and opt for mini versions instead.

Credit: Emma Fiala

8. Go all-out with lighting.

If you don’t have the outdoor space for lights, simply string them up around the highest parts of your home, as shown in this Chicago loft. Ceiling lights add instant holiday spirit and take up very little space.

9. Focus on the mantel.

This Dallas abode shows how going all out with your mantel can instantly transform your space for the holidays. Limiting things like Christmas trees, menorahs, and other festive objects to your fireplace area means you don’t have to find space for larger decor items in a small room.

10. Nail down the details.

The tiniest details make all the difference. This pint-sized apartment has found a way to incorporate wintry components into every corner, whether it’s a tapestry, candle holders, or a wreath hung from a kitchen island.

11. Get festive with your headboard.

The bedroom is oft-forgotten when it comes to holiday decor, but this Austin home makes a worthy case for prioritizing it. Something as simple as a garland can cheer you up and sweep you off to dreams of sugarplums when you fall asleep.

12. Deck out your door.

If you’re not one to go all out for the holidays, decorating your door is the perfect place to strike a simple but festive note. This modern Christmas tree decor is elegant, simple, and appeals to the most minimal of decorators. There are lots of ways to style your door for the holidays, and the good news is they’re all small space-friendly.

13. Downsize to a plant or potted branch.

Decorating with tabletop trees and potted plants is a great way to embrace Christmas without needing to take up a whole corner with a large pine. Just add a little reindeer figurine so the greenery feels festive and call it a day.

14. Blend your tree into your decor.

Depending on your home’s paint colors, you can actually choose a similarly-colored faux tree that blends into your wall and creates the illusion of extra space—all while still letting you indulge in the holiday spirit.

15. Swap out your tree for a mantel collection.

Going small can still have a big impact. This tiny but mighty bottlebrush tree collection still packs a colorful punch and won’t make it so you need to find a new home for your ottoman.

16. Designate an underused corner.

That random corner by your laundry room or outside of the kitchen door may be one of the best potential holiday decorating spots in your home. If nothing is there in the first place, why not put your Christmas tree in this spot? Just make sure there’s a clear walkway so no one in your house trips over presents!

17. Stick to a theme.

If farmhouse is your look, choosing a groovy mid-century modern tree might not vibe with your space. Instead, opt for a look that matches with the decor you already have. That way, nothing will look superfluous or out of place. Case in point: this cozy Dallas home and its chic, rustic-meets-Scandi tree.

18. Make floral arrangements festive.

Swap out your go-to weekly bouquet from Trader Joe’s for the month with a few sprigs from a Douglas Fir or another pine tree. It’s stunning, seasonal, and super elegant for any small space. You can even add tiny ornaments to the needles!

19. Spruce up a bookshelf.

Your bookshelf is prime real estate for holiday decor. Simply remove a few of the items you’ve already used to style it and swap in things with Christmas tree motifs and other wintry knick-knacks. This will provide a nice hit of holly jolly.

Credit: Kristan Lieb

20. Rethink your bar cart.

Yes, even your bar cart can conjure the feeling of Christmas. Take a page from this Chicago apartment’s book and revive your cart with some holiday liqueurs, coffee add-ins, or even cozy tea bar extras.

Credit: Cathy Pyle

21. Deck the halls (literally).

If you love simpler styles, a bright star is a glowing reminder of Christmas. Place it at the end of a hallway like in this rustic English home or even hang one over a table to make a simple but stylish statement.

22. Think like Charlie Brown.

Charlie Brown’s tree initially got a bad rap, but this Chicago apartment shows just how cute (and manageable) a teeny tiny tree can be. Deck it out with an oversized bauble or wrap a blue blanket around it to make it just like the movie.

23. Add festive pizzazz to your dining area.

Not many people think of their dining rooms or breakfast nooks as spots worthy of Christmas decor. However, this Long Beach, California home, shows that windows or ledges can make for perfect spots for a seasonal garland or string lights in any room in the house.

24. Use white to keep things spacious.

This Dutch canal home is another perfect example of how blending a tree into your space can be expansive and stylish. This white tinsel tree is adorned with colorful ornaments, which makes for a playful and fun holiday addition.

25. Up your hygge game.

Look to Scandinavian style for the best small space inspiration. This gorgeous Vienna apartment shows how even the smallest touches can make a huge difference. A mini Christmas tree, a small wreath, and a white garland of snowflakes transformed this particular living room into a subtle winter wonderland.

26. Add a pint-sized poinsettia.

Move those poinsettias from your front entryway and find a new home for them on an unexpected yet welcomed place like a nightstand. This Austin bungalow serves as a wonderful bit of inspiration for how to make these festive plants work in the most unexpected places.