Buying Guides
Oct 3, 2010

10 Christmas tree alternatives and other small-space decorating ideas

By: Helen Racanelli

10 Christmas tree alternatives and other small-space decorating ideas Author: Style At Home

Buying Guides
Oct 3, 2010

10 Christmas tree alternatives and other small-space decorating ideas

By: Helen Racanelli

Decorating for the Christmas season in a small house or condo can present multiple challenges, foremost of which is the Christmas tree conundrum. When space is at a premium, it's not easy to move or even remove furniture to accommodate a real tree. And even if you have the space for one, some apartment and condo rules prohibit real trees because of disposal and common-area clean-up issues. Not to mention many condos also don't have a mantel or staircase-traditional places to deck the halls with Yule decor. With these concerns in mind, we gathered up 10 solutions for Christmas decorating in a small space.

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1 Use wall decals
All you need is a little bit of blank wall to put up this Christmas tree wall decal, by Montreal-based Subhuti Designs and available on etsy.com. The sticker decals are made of vinyl, come in a large range of cheery colours, and are easily removable. They're even suitable for smooth surfaces like fridges, large furniture and windows. Consider using one in a tight entranceway or even as a focal point behind a sofa, as shown. $24 US, Subhuti Designs on etsy.com. 2AnthroHook-550.jpg
2 Hang monogram hooks for your stockings
Like most high-rise buildings, yours doesn't have a chimney on which to hang your stockings with care. You can't tape them up because they're heavy, and dangling them off a dining chair doesn't seem right either. Solution: Install a pretty monogram hook for each member of your family, such as this iron wire version by Anthropologie. Put them by the doorway and you'll have an instant key-rack or coat hook for the individuals in your home the other 364 days of the year. For the tree-free, consider placing gifts under each hook for a charming vignette. $22 US, Anthropologie. 3PaperTree-550.jpg
3 Opt for a cardboard tree
Babies and pets have a tendency to nibble on or destroy many of the traditional tree trimmings such as glass ornaments and tinsel, not to mention they can get tangled with the trees themselves. For the safety wary, consider this mod cardboard version that comes in a one-foot high tabletop model or a three-foot tall floor model. Made out of recycled cardboard, it can be folded up neatly and tucked away for next year for those with limited storage space. Plus, at an affordable $10 for the small version, you can afford to buy more than one. $9.95-$19.95 US, thecardboardtree.com. 4PlateWithOrnaments-550.jpg
4 Serve ornaments on a tray
We've all seen the trick of putting Christmas baubles in a bowl, but for a twist on this display, try piling all your prettiest ornaments on a three-tier serving tray. Add some sprigs of evergreen and presto, instant holiday decor for a tabletop. This inexpensive dessert tray from IKEA features removable glass plates with scooped edges that will keep fragile balls from rolling off. $14.99, IKEA.
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5 Go for the faux

It's okay if you refuse to give up Christmas trees even though your apartment building's management forbids them. But maybe you're not crazy about artificial evergreens. Enter the white Christmas tree. Styled in a rainbow of ornaments as the storeowner of Opendoor Studio has done in her home, they can be a gorgeous fake-and-proud addition to your holiday decor scheme. Need to find space? Moving furniture closer together in the living room (or banishing a side table to a closet) will not only open up a spot, but will make holiday entertaining a cosy affair as well. Photo courtesy of Opendoor Studio. White tree (similar),$249.99, Sears. 6AcrylicReindeer550.jpg
6 Use clear decorations
Employing transparent furnishings in a small space is a longstanding trick of many designers. Because pieces like lucite coffee tables and see-through glass lamps lend visual weightlessness, they mesh well with a variety of decor styles and particularly suit tiny rooms. Christmas decorations are moving in on the trend, allowing us to add sparkle without making a room feel cluttered. These acrylic reindeer available at Loblaw could dress up any tabletop or be placed on the floor next to a sofa without overwhelming a tiny space. $8-$20, Loblaw.
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7 Bring it into the bedroom

The bedroom is just as worthy a spot to lavish your holiday decorating attention as the other rooms of your home, even more so if you live in a studio or bachelor apartment where the bed is a focal point. Pretty bedding printed with cardinal birds and pepperberry branches says Christmas in this small bedroom, enhanced with festive red accents like pillows and ornaments, and a twig wreath above the bed. $25-$99 US, Pottery Barn. 8Branches550.jpg
8 Branch out
The most obvious choice when looking for a Christmas tree alternative is the tiny potted evergreen tree that sits on your table, the kind readily available at the supermarket. Cute, yes. Unexpected, no. For a more sophisticated look, use a vase and an assortment of tall branches. Now you've got a beautiful place to perch Christmas tree ornaments, such as this set of eight vintage tin bird ornaments with black-and-cream ribbon by Ultraluxe. $59.95 Set of 8 painted vintage birds, Ultraluxe.
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9 Dangle ornaments from the ceiling
A little inventiveness can take you a long way in dressing up a tiny space. You may not have expansive tabletops or floor space, but you probably have a ceiling with lots of room. Try dangling a selection of ornaments such as rattan stars directly from the ceiling (using adhesive-backed hooks that will come off easily when you're done, if you wish) over a dining area or even in front of a window. $29-$39, Pottery Barn.
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10 A little ribbon goes a long way

Drape and fasten ribbon (using thumbtacks if you don't have anywhere to tie it) on a banister, over a window or door, or even on the wall as a handy place to hang Christmas notions or cards. For those unwilling to trade in the tried-and-true holiday colour trio of green, red and white, you don't have to-they can work great in a contemporary space mixed with natural elements like pinecones. This adorable advent calendar features these beloved holiday colours, with mini eco-felt stockings that you can stuff with surprises like candy and little treats. $35, Ultraluxe.

Trim the perfect tree with Debbie Travis' Christmas tree tips.
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10 Christmas tree alternatives and other small-space decorating ideas