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6 Small space holiday decorating ideas to transform your little place

Fun ways to make your petite place festive.

Fun ways to make your petite place festive

(Source, left: zarahome.com; right: anthropologie.com)

I have lived away from my family for eight years now and heading home for the holidays is wonderful because I can rely on my mom to have tastefully turned my childhood home into a very seasonal 'scape — trees, wreaths, accents, etc. — and I don't have to even help deck those halls. The one downside is that my tiny Toronto apartment can feel a little lacklustre during December. I've decided it's time to remedy that without spending all of my gift budget on my own winter wonderland and I've compiled my budget-friendly findings for small spaces below. Whether you find yourself leaving for vacation as the core holidays arrive, or are simply looking for some more compact holiday cheer, here are some sweet little decor solutions for this season.

Wreaths and greenery > trees

(Source: cb2.com)

Yes, these stunning images from CB2's holiday campaign may not scream small spaces, but I'm definitely taking decor cues from them this season. Look at those delicate wreaths! Incorporate seasonal greenery and you'll never regret not trimming a tree. This is an easy way to make your mantel, or even your entryway the focal point of a room.

Plus the possibilities for holiday botanicals are basically endless. Bring the outdoors in, or go for totally faux. DIY your own gorgeous wreath that you can use year after year. Even adding some greenery to a tabletop can help brighten up a space. Head to your local florist's or DIY a centrepiece of your own. And don't overlook the garland — because who needs trees when you can literally string boughs from every surface in your space. Think evergreen boughs, seeded eucalyptus, magnolia leaves or whatever gorgeous greenery strikes your fancy.

GET THE LOOK: Cedar Wreaths, starting at $63.71, cb2.com; Pine Spray, $16.95, cb2.com; Artificial Eucalyptus Garland, $17.99, ikea.com; Lightly Flocked LED Garland, $52.12, chapters.indigo.ca; Artificial Holly Wreath, $5.99, ikea.com; Faux Cypress Garland, $139, westelm.ca

Decorate your plants!

(Source: urbanoutfitters.com)

House plants are trendy — it's a seemingly obvious statement, but it's very true. So if you've already got a bunch of large, space-sucking plants in your place, consider decking one of them out instead of lugging an evergreen up the stairs of your building. Add a string of lights and call it a day, just like in the inspo image from Urban Outfitters above. Alternatively, you can go all-out with ornaments, too.

Delicate, lightweight ornaments and lights are definitely key to not killing your ficus this season. I particularly love the idea of going for vintage-inspired ornaments and paper ones. And keep in mind that battery-powered strings of LED lights can also keep your plants from getting too much heat.

GET THE LOOK: 10' Silver String LED Lights, $18.75, chapters.indigo.ca; 6-pack Christmas Ornaments, $12.99, hm.com; Set of 6 Red Ornaments, $3.99, ikea.com; Set of 20 Miniature Retro Ornaments, $50.20, anthropologie.com; Set of 54 Round Glass Ornaments, $33.37, chapters.indigo.ca; White Orb String Lights, $24, urbanoutfitters.com

Go full-fledged kitschy

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Embrace tacky — embrace all the tinsel. This is one of my favourite approaches to seasonal decor. If you're low on space to begin with, chances are, you won't want to fill up an entire closet of valuable real estate with precious holiday decor come January. Instead, I love the idea of heading to the dollar store, second hand store, bargain basement, or wherever and looking for whatever is the weirdest — and won't take up much space. You can also re-donate post-holiday season to ward off the clutter. This aesthetic feels a little vintage and a little bit like A LOT, but in all seriousness, it's also a budget-friendly way to add a very fun and festive feel to your place. Plus, it mingles well with any decor from your childhood. It was also my go-to for dorm living when I wanted Christmas but didn't want to invest.

For this approach, look for lights, flashy decor and all things old-school. Whether it's based on nostalgia or a love of the weird finds from the dollar store, you can pick up a lot on a relatively low budget. String fun lights around your space, add tinsel garland to the doorways, and wrap anything you want in wrapping paper; the more the merrier. And, if you intend on bringing home a tiny tree, please please consider decking it out in tree tinsel.

GET THE LOOK: Tree Tinsel, $9.95, crateandbarrel.com; Felt Mistletoe, $9, westelm.com; 32' Gold Garland, $1.99, ikea.com; Snoopy String Lights, $14, urbanoutfitters.com; Set of 3 Bottle Brush Trees, $3.99, ikea.com; Mini Pink USB Christmas Tree, $23.50, urbanoutfitters.com

Change up your textiles

(Source, left: zarahome.com; right: hm.com)

Switching up your favourite pillows, throws and blankets for the season is a simple way to make a big impact around the house. It immediately adds interest to any room, and conveniently for winter, it's one of easiest ways to cozy-up a room —  there's a reason you've been hearing about the importance of "texture" in decor for the last fifteen years. And by season, I don't necessarily mean holiday season. Opt for wintertime cozy for more longevity and you'll certainly get more value for your investment. The beauty of this approach is if you're taking off on an end-of-year vacation, your place will still be nice and cozy when you return home and you won't have to pack up a ton of themed decor for a holiday that's long past. Plus, when you do pack all of these cozy pieces away, you can vacuum seal them in a bag, tuck them under your bed, where they'll take up minimal space and then pull them back out year after year.

You can incorporate new textiles all-over; aside from the addition of pillows and throws, consider kitchen towels, tablecloths, shower curtains and working in some new bedding for the winter. Giving your bed a makeover (like the bedding the inspo image above) is especially effective way to make a seasonal statement if you're living in a bachelor apartment. Opt for faux fur, velvets, cable knits and anything else you'd want to cozy up and read a book with.

GET THE LOOK: Cable Knit Sherpa Ivory Throw, $79.50, chapters.indigo.ca; Off-white Fleece Cushion, $14.99, ikea.com; Cotton Velvet Star Cushion Cover, $19.99, hm.com; Shimmering Snowflake Table Runner, $76, anthropologie.com; Flannel Checked Duvet Cover, $99-139, zarahome.com; Faux Fur Ombre Throws, $99, westelm.com

Put lights on everything

(Source, left: westelm.ca; right: urbanoutfitters.com)

It's 4pm and it's pitch dark, right? I highly recommend you do yourself a favour and light up your space. It'll make your place seem especially warm and cozy when the weather outside is frightful. This approach combines well with the candles-everywhere option above to truly transform a space. A little sparkle also makes entertaining more special. This time of year is a little opulent, but it doesn't mean you need to have a big space to achieve a little glam.

Add some festive ambiance with string lights — don't underestimate the power of a single strand of lights. And the beauty is that just about every surface can be decorated. Add some LEDs or candles to cabinets, staircases, tabletops, bar carts, railings, door frames… the list goes on. Candles can also add a seasonal scent to the room, so you'll never miss the tree. Just please keep in mind that candles are generally forbidden in dorms. 

GET THE LOOK: Retro String Lights, $22, vdevmaison.com; Faceted Mercury Candleholders, $9.99, westelm.com; Capri Blue Cinnamon Noir Jar Candle, $39, anthropologie.com; Extra Long Galaxy String Lights, $74, urbanoutfitters.com; Illume Boxed Glass Candle Balsam and Cedar, $34.50, chapters.indigo.ca; Silver Star Shining Lights, $23.95, crateandbarrel.com

Create a winter wonderland of monochrome hygge

(Source: Greg Gardiner/New Line Cinema)

Channel Buddy the Elf (BTW, Elf turns 15 this year) and DIY your own wonderland. Stick with me on this one. It may seem a little OTT, but in reality, monochromatic paper crafts make for a very wintery, low-budget look. (And, I can assure you that they're particularly wonderful for dorm life — it's way more fun to cut out 100 paper snowflakes than it is to study for exams.)

You don't actually have to DIY this whole decor situation, even if paper snowflakes are kid-friendly and budget-friendly crafts. Instead, channel a very nordic winter vibe — as seen in the Insta inspo image from @christine_simplybloom above — and opt for hues of beiges and whites, plenty of birch, and cut-outs for your own wintery scene.

GET THE LOOK: Glittered Paper Fan, $3.96-11.88, anthropologie.com; Pom Pom Snowball Garland, $2.99, ikea.com; Tufted Christmas Tree Tapestry, $104, urbanoutfitters.com; Snowflake White Pendant Lamp Shade, $10, ikea.com; LED Paper and Birch Wood City, $37.12, chapters.indigo.ca; 2-pack Christmas Ornaments, $6.99, hm.com

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