How to Decorate a Small Apartment for Christmas

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Not having a mantle or all the living space in the world can make you feel like you’re SOL when it comes to decorating this time of year.

While everybody else is hanging their stockings from the mantel with care, you’re sitting in your unadorned home, living vicariously through their Instagram feeds. We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t need to be this way. Just because your home is too small for a Christmas tree and the closest thing you have to a mantle is a sagging radiator cover does not mean you must forego holiday decorating.

With a little bit of imagination, anything from a stairway to a windowsill is ripe territory for the Christmas spirit. Let’s deck those halls!

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No Mantle, No Problem

I love this video inspiration by West Elm on just how to deck those quaint halls when you don’t have a fireplace or mantle.

Dainty Wreath DIYS

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This elegant wreath tutorial by Freckle and Wulff will add a pop of holiday cheer to your living room wall. To create, you'll need a mix of seasonal foliage. This tutorial features eucalyptus branches and holly leaves intertwined with sprigs of baby's breath and dried cotton stalks.

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Think a wreath has to be round? Not according to DIY blogger, Erika Rax. The craft loving Londoner with a minimalist aesthetic explains how to create this twig and copper wall hanging. Don't have a hunk of scrap copper? Use ribbon or twine instead. 

CLOVE STUDDED ORANGES

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Life stunk so much during the Middle Ages people had to carry a small aromatic container called a pomander to hold up to their noses to avoid offensive smells. Nothing merry about that, right? These days, a pomander usually refers to a clove-studded orange. It is a traditional sweet-scented holiday ornament anyone can make.

Pam from House of Hawthornes says you do not have to stick with oranges. Her tutorial features clementines.

PAINT ME LIKE ONE OF YOUR NOBLE FIRS

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For years IKEA sold Christmas tree fabric panels that featured a life-size image of the real thing. They were perfect for tight spaces that couldn't fit a traditional evergreen. Unfortunately, the Swedish megastore stopped selling them — wah-wah.

Good thing, Lucy from Craftberry Bush created a wall tree DIY that Bob Ross (yep, The Joy of Painting)would love. You'll need a canvas drop cloth and a few painting supplies to get started. Here's the tutorial.

ADD FESTIVE SHELVING

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You don’t have room for a tree, and you don’t have the storage space to display decorations. The solution: this hanging shelving tree from Lia Griffith. You just need poplar wood and clothesline materials to craft the project. You can evoke the scent and charm of a real tree by adding fresh boughs, and keep it up year-round by switching out decorations for every season.

WORK THE DECOR AROUND YOUR LIFESTYLE

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If you're already working with a kitchen/dining area/living room packed into one petite space, you need to be realistic about how to style your holiday decor so that it complements your day-to-day routine. Not big on sit-down parties? Put a full-sized Christmas tree in the dining room. Lacking in floor space? Make use of all those blank walls.

This dining area by Craftberry Bush allows the fabulous tree to be the room's focal point, while incorporating hints of greenery throughout the all-white space. Glam and functional.

TRY A TINY TREE

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Keep it small and simple with an adorable mini holiday tree, like this set-up from The Merrythought. Ideal for rooms lacking in square footage, keep the surrounding decor Scandi-chic with neutral colors (yes, even presents!), a few cozy blankets, and the daintiest of fairy lights.

DRESS UP THE CHAIRS

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Jazz up your everyday furniture with Christmas flair without taking up any extra space. In this festive vignette, Burnett's Boards adds a a sweet touch to wooden dining room chairs with a small wreath and neutral ribbon.

FOCUS ON THE BAR CART

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If there's one holiday vignette your guests will all gather around at a Christmas party, it's the wine and spirits. Take inspiration from Hank & Hunt and decorate your bar cart with faux fur, cranberries, whimsical candlesticks and a wreath.

HANG MISTLETOE

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Make use of those out-of-reach areas, and possibly get a holiday smooch in doing so. Rustic Wedding Chic arranged this romantic bundle from cedar, pine, holly and, of course, mistletoe.


MAKE YOUR WRAPPING PAPER THE DECOR

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You already have presents out, so let them double as decorations. Adding a few sprigs of festive foliage to brown paper wrapping with twine is a tasteful way to celebrate the season's bounties indoors (and draw attention the holiday's goodies), as proven by this approach to gift wrapping by These Four Walls.

Add Pompoms to errrthang

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Nothing says happy holidays like a seasonal pom-pom wreath. Kellie from Nest of Posies added some extra eye-catching texture to her decoration using ball fringe and felt flowers. Her tutorial explains how to layer using hot glue.