How to Make Your Apartment Festive When You Cant Squeeze in a Tree

Maybe you live in a walk-up and dont feel like lugging a balsam fir up four flights of stairs. Maybe you just dont have the space for a massive plant to take up an entire corner of your living room. The good news is you dont need a tree to complete your festive decorthere are plenty of other ways to get in the holiday spirit that dont result in pine needles littering your floors.

The key is a combination of reworking what you already have and picking up a few new (small!) accents that you can easily pack up in under-bed storage bins come January 1. We approached it like a design challenge, playing around with traditional elements of the season to come up with something fresh.

Set the Scene

String lights are a classic, but they dont just belong on a tree. Pick colorful strands or bulbs in a funky shape, then go wild draping them over any surface that needs a little zhuzhing, from an empty mantel to above your doorframe.

Make a Few Substitutions

Youve spent so much time and money raising your beloved houseplantswhy not make them the stars of the show? Group a few of your tallest together and toss some ornaments their way; if they dont have branches, try garland. Anything can be a Christmas tree if you keep an open mind.

Pause for Some Reflection

Mirrored surfaces are innately glitzy. Go as big as a new side table or as small as a series of trays for your coffee table (you can pile baubles on the platters for a tiny impactful vignette).

Boost the Mood

Candles are a holiday favorite for a reason. Simple gold holders with cream tapers are timeless and elegantand make a chic centerpiece in a pinchwhile a bunch of silvery votives give off twice the glimmer when lit. (Pro tip: If youre looking for an abstract take on a menorah, a few candles staggered in height will do the trick.)

Pepper in Little Bits of Tradition

Okay, you might not want a full-on tree, but what about a couple mini replicas? Be it something sleek made of milk glass or a rainbow of bottlebrush versions, these objects will go a long way in helping you feel festive. The best part: They barely take up any storage space.

Fill Every Vacant Vessel

Preferably with something a little less on the nose than red berries. Burgundy-colored eucalyptus will do the trick, but if you can get a few sprigs on the drier side, spray-paint them metallic gold or silver for a touch of shine.

Play Up Your Walls

We love Ferm Livings Art Decoinspired piece because you can keep it up year-round; make it December-ready simply by affixing a sprig or two of holly. Or why not try a nontraditional wreath for your front door? MoMA Design Stores Technicolor one will up your spirits before you even step inside.

See more ways to prep for the holidays:
Frederick and Maes Quirky Ornaments Will Make You Rethink Holiday Decor
5 Festive Beverages to Bring to Dinner That Arent Wine
Winter Decorating Ideas to Steal From a Cozy Home in Bath, England


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