Ideas and tips for decorating your apartment or small space with holiday style and charm.


How to Decorate a Small Space with Christmas Charm - Christmas Tray Vignette


It’s not the size or construction of your dwelling nor the location that makes it home… what makes a home is the love that lives there, the memories created, and the friends and family who belong.

And that, my friend, is the heart behind decorating your small space with style and charm this Christmas.

My small space happens to be a tiny apartment which we thought would just be temporary.  Yours might be a humble home or a cozy corner in a large house.  Whatever and wherever it is, I hope that you will be inspired by the ideas I share in this series.


Tips for Decorating a Small Space for Christmas & Great Ideas for Living Big in a Tiny Apartment


1. Assess your options.

  • What space do you have to work with?
  • Where can you place or hang Christmas decor?

My 182 square foot “living room” lives large despite its diminutive size and serves as a sitting area, an office, entryway, workshop, playroom (for neighbor kids), and provides storage.

Today we will focus on one wall and corner of the living room.

There’s just enough space for a loveseat with ottoman and a round end table along the wall.  The loveseat and ottoman were thrifted and the end table picked up inexpensively from a local furniture painting shop. I would call it a furniture flip and purchased the end table because of its style and size, not its color. At this point, I haven’t decided if I will keep it French blue, I’m trying to work that out. What do you think?


Apartment Living Room Christmas Decorating Ideas on a Budget - Small Spaces CAN live BIG


At first, it seems that I don’t have much room for Christmas decorating, but as I assess my options, I actually have three areas… 

The wall behind the loveseat, the end table, and the ottoman. 


Small Space Wall Decorating Ideas for Christmas with FREE Printable Graphics


2. How I Decorated a Wall Simply and Easily for Christmas…

Because my space is small, I chose to decorate on a larger scale.

A common mistake is to use a series of smaller items in a small space.

On the wall behind the loveseat, I hung a large 20″x24″ graphic and next to it a tall galvanized metal bucket which I filled with pine greens and winterberries I just picked.

TIP: Be careful to hang your artwork at just the right height. 

A common mistake is to hang artwork, too high. Remember that it should be easy and comfortable to view from a seated position.  I’m about 5’5″ and I usually try to keep the top of a picture no higher than the top of my head.  In this case, the artwork was too tall to do that.  I made a point to hang it as low as possible… clearing the top of the loveseat by about five inches.



Free Printable Scripture Verses and Christmas Songs Make Fabulous Christmas Wall Decorations for Small Spaces and Apartments at Christmas


The frame holding the “O Holy Night” print once held a bulletin board in a former life, before being rescued from the trash.  It had a few nicks and scratches, but nothing a little black paint couldn’t remedy.

I had planned on creating my own hand-lettered Christmas scripture verse, but I happened to run across a lovely Christmas hymn printable created by Laura from The Turquoise Home. She made it available in three color choices, I chose navy to go with my pillows, ottoman, and rug.  You can click here to get your “O Holy Night” printable.

TIP: Staples copy center is your friend. Have their team print and produce your artwork.

The print comes as a PDF which I downloaded and took to Staples. They were able to resize it to to fit my 20×24 inch frame… something I wasn’t sure would be possible.  For the same price as printing on heavy paper ($23+), I was able to have it custom printed to size directly on foam core board in just a couple of days.  All I needed to do was slip it into the frame when I got home.  How much easier could it get?

To say I was thrilled was an understatement.


Wall Ideas for Decorating a Small Space at Christmas - Fresh Greens and a Galvanized Bucket Look Fabulous on the Wall for the Holidays


TIP: Use Fresh Evergreen or Flowers ~ Something Natural Always Breathes LIFE into a Small Space

I usually go for a hike or scan the roadways for fresh greens and berries before I begin my Christmas decorating. You can also purchase small bundles of evergreens (tree trimmings) at Christmas tree lots or Lowe’s for just a few dollars. Pay attention to when the fresh flowers arrive at your grocery store and make it a practice to pick up fresh flowers regularly.  They may seem like an extravagance… but they are worth every penny.  If you don’t know how to arrange them experiment and see my tutorials for fresh flowers and evergreen arrangements.


This tall galvanized wall bucket was a recent purchase at Hobby Lobby at 50% off.  It makes quite a statement for just a few dollars.  The only thing is… I wasn’t crazy about the turquoise color that was used to embellish it.  I can’t say that the color was a sore thumb in my decor, but I really wanted to eliminate as much of it as I could, so I experimented.


Give a galvanized bucket a face lift with these easy tips


In the end, using a Scotch Brite pad and Bon-Ami, I was able to scrub the color off.  After it was cleaned off, the metal was a bit bright and shiny.  I remembered that I had some dark antique wax in my stash from my chalky transformation of a vintage washstand.  Why not try it?  It definitely gave the metal that old look.  It’s a wee bit browner than I think I need… but it works.  Who knows, I might play with it more after the holidays.

I’m all for low-cost decorating and this was free and super quick and easy, too.  I filled the bucket with fresh my fresh-picked scotch pine and white pine branches along with just a bit of that prickly juniper and finished it off with twigs of winterberries.


3. Do the Unexpected… Utilize the Ottoman for Christmas Decor.

TIP: Small space living requires furniture and accessories that can serve a dual purpose.

Make your everyday ottoman into a coffee table with the addition of a tray. The beauty of having a tray is that you can turn it sideways to use as a footstool or remove altogether.  Look for or make a large tray that is close to the dimensions of your ottoman… so it works visually as well as practically.

Here, I layered my “coffee table tray” with another smaller tray.  I love trays as they often act as a picture frame for a group of objects.  In this case, it also serves a dual purpose.  One, it’s visually more interesting and two, it’s easy to remove when I want to use my coffee table tray for snacks and beverages or as a “desk” of sorts.


Small Space Decorating Tip Turn your ottoman into a coffee table and decorate it for Christmas


My round thrifted tray within a tray features a beaded Christmas tree I picked up at a dollar store a few years ago.  To make it look more polished, it’s sitting over a metal cup/vase. The presents covered in white striped paper are tied up with beautiful dark blue ribbon that was originally wrapped around a plaid throw I picked up for 70% off.  I never dispose of ribbons that are used in packaging.  They are usually nice quality and perfect for another round of use. In order to give things just a bit more color and sparkle, I added a small silver bowl I picked up at a garage sale for a steal and filled it with vintage bulbs and white pine.

This vignette is quick and simple to put together and super easy on the budget.


4. The End Table…

The corner where I have my end table is a little bit awkward.  There is a hanging pendant when is tucked into the corner.  It’s not placed in such a way to allow it to function as a table lamp.  I replaced the odd light that was there when we moved in with a pendant light I received when I wrote about small space decorating and used in my dining area.  Since that time I’ve changed out the pendant for a chandelier, which I should share about sometime.  That left me with this pendant needing a home and the obvious choice in the short-term is here.  However, I am contemplating taking it out altogether because it does cause some decorating challenges.


Simple Small Space Christmas Decorating


My end table is 28 inches in diameter, pretty good size and without a table lamp, that is some pretty sizeable real estate for Christmas decor.  Because my goal is to decorate for pennies and having such a wonderful space, I chose to add a large apothecary style bottle filled with Epsom salt for snow and long twigs of fresh winterberries, a big favorite of mine and filling the space nicely.

Every year I go hunting for winterberries and this year I found some very nice branches… what a happy find.  I’m careful to prune judiciously to encourage new growth on the plant and leave behind plenty for the birds and future plant growth.


Christmas Vignette and Tips for Small Space Christmas Decorating


TIP: When creating tabletop decor or vignettes, try to decorate with odd numbers.  

It’s a great rule of thumb whether arranging flowers, creating a garden, or virtually any grouping.  Three is always right.  But, if your space is larger, feel free to have groupings of 5 or 7.

Three major elements make up my tabletop vignette. It features a large bottle filled with winterberry twigs.  Alongside are some old blue hymn books I picked up at the thrift shop, a new wooden tree-topper star from Target, and some hand-tied greenery and berries.  For the holidays, it’s always thoughtful to have a plate of treats out for guests and these are a type of peppermint bark.  I placed this in front, for the taking.

I’m not sure how I feel about this table having a shelf.  The question is always, “What to do or place on the shelf?”  At least for now, I answered the question by placing some fresh Christmas greens on the shelf with a few vintage ornaments that were a gift from a very dear friend.  Do you like it?  If you have a vintage French provincial table like this, how do you use or style the lower shelf?


Christmas Greens and Balls are a simple way to make your Small Space Christmas Decor


This little corner is a spot where I spend a LOT of time writing posts and editing photos so the ottoman with the coffee table tray are well used.

I didn’t mention the pillows on the loveseat.  Recently I started to put together a design plan and the fabric on the center pillow was the key for our color choices. It ended up being helpful for us in choosing our rug.  I have the fabric to make more of pillows, but at this time I’m unsure if I will do that.


Simple Small Space Christmas Decorating Ideas with a Dark Blue theme



The two dark blue pillows were a find at TJ Maxx.  Their color was PERFECT for the rug that grounds my living room.  However, they weren’t exactly what I wanted.  I would have preferred that they had a solid color on both sides.  Technically they do… except that they have the word Love embroidered in white on one side.  Oh well… I can just keep them turned so the plain side shows.  They were a real deal at $14.99 each as they are a fine velveteen and have feather inserts, too.

I discovered one and purchased it at the TJ near me.  Just this last week, I traveled out of town with high hopes that I would find a matching pillow at another store.  I prayed as I turned the corner and walked down the pillow aisle.  And right there in the midst of a group of blue pillows was MY pillow!!  You may or may not have seen me skipping down the aisle with my happy find.


Small Space Christmas Decorating on a BUDGET for Living Room Apartments


Although it is important to choose furniture pieces in scale for your small space, your decor does not need to be small, nor all your furniture small.  Don’t hesitate to live large in your small space with some large statement decor pieces… even for the holidays.  The simplicity of fewer larger items can actually make your space feel larger.

Do you have any small space decorating dilemmas?

What is your favorite holiday decorating tip?

Today I’m joining up with a creative group of bloggers who will be sharing a plethora of Christmas decorating ideas.  Please grab a cup of your favorite and settle down for some wonderful Christmas decor inspiration.  Just click any of the photo links below.

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Creative Christmas Link Party - Blogging Fifty Tribe
This Creative Christmas Link Party is hosted by Janet of Shabbyfufu and the bloggers of Blogging 50.
Please visit all of the talented bloggers below!


  1. Julie Briones says

    Great post, Diane… You are the first blog I’ve come across that has a small home (sounds like you may even have a rental home?). I came over here from your comment on my photography superstars FB group… Didn’t even know you had a small home. My new blog that I’m launching will be a small-home living niche, as well. 🙂 We also have the Lord in common! I’m hoping to bring Him much glory, and be helpful to others through the blog… just like you! So wonderful!

  2. Love the ideas for small space decorating! You’ve added festive touches, but it’s not overbearing. Just beautiful and classy.

  3. Minnie McCoy says

    Hello Diane,
    You have been a Merry little busy bee.
    Cozy, homey, warm, welcoming and Christmasy! I love Christmas and you captured it so beautifully! I will be filling my house with Christmas this weekend and if Santa isn’t looking I will be stealing one or two of your ideas. I hope I don’t end up with coal in my stocking.
    Blessings to you!

    • My sweet friend, you make me chuckle! I would love for you to “steal” an idea or two.
      Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. Tonight I’m working on getting my tree up. It’s a skinny one that needs a few more lights to even it out. I’m going to be busy at the workshop so I need to be busy as an elf. 😉

      Happy Thanksgiving!!

  4. Gwen says

    I really like this departure from “country” that we had a few years ago. The corner table is elegant. You asked so I’ll give my two cents?. Just a couple ideas. I mixed a brown black semi glass paint with the cocoa ASCP and painted the top of my parents’ octagon table. I painted the body one coat of duck egg blue ASCP. The darker top made it look so much different than it did!! It gave it a more sophisticated look. A small sample from Lowe’s would work. I mixed mine on a plate. All because I didn’t have enough cocoa chalk paint! Ratio maybe 1:1. I did not sand it all down. I put one coat of chalk paint and the rest the combo paint. Then wax. You asked what to put on shelf when not Christmas. You could continue to put candle rings there or larger books. Or magazines and books. Makes it functional. Or a low flat bowl. Anything goes. A metallic box. A game. A pretty checkers board. A silver tray. With a variety of votives and battery votives. You talked of getting rid of the orb. I’ve put timered candles inside things and it works so nicely. I saw an entire set of three at Michael’s and with a 50% off coupon. They were $25. That’s reasonable!!! For three flickering candles on a timer. No dangerous flames!! I love your color scheme too. My living room great room is not large so I have two love seats in an L shape. It helps with seating for a group. A chair where the L is open. I love the entire room!! God is soo good to give blessings. We received many blessings this day. Your post is also a blessing. It was so exciting!!

  5. Patricia says

    Thank you Diane, I really enjoyed this post. It all looks elegant and yet inviting to me.

    Please keep the French blue on the End table.

    God’s blessings to you.


  6. What you’ve managed to do is amazing Diane and I agree with using the larger items on the wall. Most people would be tempted to go small. Great tip on the printing too. Visiting from Blogging Fifty.
    Hugs – Kerryanne

  7. Diane, Your living room feels cozy and oh, so welcoming! Love the wall art and hey, all the great tips for small space decorating during the holidays!

  8. We moved into a small apartment last year and this has been an ongoing challenge – I love your tips, especially going big instead of lots of little things that just look cluttered. Thanks for sharing with Party in Your PJs!

  9. Nancy says

    Diane, I love so much about this post! First of all, your point of decorating large is perfect. I think using larger pieces in a small space actually makes the space live larger. And larger art work makes such an amazing impact!! I love your round end table. As for the color, I do like it, but I tend to lean towards more of a gray/blue over lighter blues for the most part. And as for styling the second shelf, the greenery and ornaments are perfect. For non-holiday, I would probably add a coffee table book or two. And I absolutely adore your rug!!!! Can you share where you found it? I would love to steal this one from you!!!
    Happy Holidays!

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