Apartment Christmas decor ideas: 12 ways to make a smaller space feel festive

These apartment Christmas decor ideas will make your space look fabulous, no matter its size. Whether you've a studio or spacious loft.

Apartment Christmas decor ideas
(Image credit: Colin Poole)

These apartment Christmas decor ideas will help you rethink your urban space this festive season. Of course, small apartment Christmas decor can be a particular challenge, but even larger apartments often have unusual layouts that make the traditional, tree centerpiece Christmas look, impractical. 

However, whether your apartment is large or tiny, there are plenty of ways to make it look magical over Christmas. From making clever color choices to rethinking room layouts, these Christmas decorating ideas for apartments will help you achieve the perfect look in your space.   

Small apartment Christmas decor

Small apartment Christmas decor can be tricky, especially if you have so little space that a regular-sized Christmas tree just will not fit in. Amy Wilson, interior designer for 247 Blinds (opens in new tab), reassures small apartment dwellers that 'just because you may have limited space in an apartment, does not mean you need to limit your Christmas decs.' 

Instead of worrying too much about floor space, you may find it easier to think vertically. As Amy points out, 'there is a number of really effective Christmas tree wall hangings available that add real impact and can even be hung in your window from a curtain pole if wall space is at a premium. You can also swap out your window dressings themselves; from a festive printed roller blind to a tartan patterned curtain, it's an easy way to mix things up.'

In fact, all kinds of vertical surfaces can be dressed up in apartments, from kitchen cabinets to staircases and, of course, mantels. 

1. Go for a narrow (but still stylishly decorated tree)

Christmas tree decor ideas

(Image credit: Home Studio List)

Narrow artificial Christmas trees are a style in their own right and not just for small apartments, but they are ideal for when floor space is tight. You can pick up these slim Christmas trees (opens in new tab) in most stores or order them online, and you can cram on the lights and decs. A slim tree just won't stick out into your room as much as a traditional tree.

2. Pick a snowy tree to keep the space light

Christmas tree decorating ideas

(Image credit: Cara Irwin)

It's design 101 that you keep colors light in smaller spaces, and that goes for Christmas decorations too. Picking a snowy Christmas tree idea means you can still have all the festive feels, but your tree won't feel like such a big part of your space. Decorate it with a neutral color palette – plus a bit of gold as it is Christmas, and voilà, it won't feel like you've walked into the wardrobe that leads to Narnia every time you open your apartment door.

3. Choose a tiny tree

Next small Christmas tree

(Image credit: Next)

And if a full-sized tree is just a no-go for your apartment, pick up a mini Christmas tree (opens in new tab) instead. Give them some height by putting them on a window ledge, a side table or a plant stand and decorate with some cute diddy baubles. 

4. Decorate your mantel

mantelpiece with colourful candlesticks and Christmas decorations

(Image credit: Photo Kasia Fiszer Styling Pippa Blenkinsop)

If you have been blessed with a mantelpiece in your apartment, make sure you decorate it! You could go for the traditional foliage and a garland or pinch this idea and create a cool display with funky candles. Candles (opens in new tab) have had a bit of a glow-up this year – we have never seen more twisted candles, color candles and sorts of other candles all over Instagram. Mix and match them to create a really cool Christmas mantelpiece feature that's perfect for small spaces. 

5. Decorate branches as a tree alternative 

hand made Christmas decorations on twig branches in a black vase

(Image credit: @theresa_gromski)

Another cute Christmas tree alternative that's ideal for an apartment is to decorate a vase of branches. Have a hunt around your garden or the local park for a good selection, pop them in your nicest vase and then hang some baubles from them.

6. Keep your Christmas decor chic and simple

holiday house tour - neutral holiday decorations

(Image credit: Jessica Sara Morris)

Obviously, if you want to go all our kitschmas this year then great, you do you, but just as with interior decor, going overboard on your Christmas decor can make a room feel instantly smaller, so it's probably best to keep things simple and minimal. Pick a color scheme and stick with it, and if you do have room for a tree, don't crowd it with decs – just hang a few of your favorites and add plenty of lights. 

7. Decorate your furniture 

Hill House Vintage x Wayfair

(Image credit: Hill House Vintage x Wayfair)

There's just something so festive about a bar cart that's all dressed up for the holidays. Pick out your nicest glasses to display, stock up on drinks that come in adorable bottles, and hang decorations off it. This could even be the place you perch your mini tree. If you don't have a bar cart you can give other pieces of furniture a festive spruce – string some greenery over mirrors, hang decorations from your picture frames, and decorate your shelves with fairy lights.

8. Add some festive vibes to your kitchen

Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

The kitchen can get a bit neglected when it comes to decorating for Christmas, but when you are limited for what you can do in your apartment, bringing the festive vibes into the kitchen is a must. Just string a garland around the cupboards, throw up some fairy lights and you are done – festive feels that take up zero room. 

9.  Switch up your cushions for Christmas cushions

H&M Black Friday sale

(Image credit: H&M)

How long does it take to change some cushion covers? A minute? Two minutes? Whatever, we think just changing your cushions with the seasons is a really quick and easy way to make your apartment feel instantly more festive. And if you aren't a big fan of the overtly Christmas cushion, then just go for fluffy sheepskin cushion covers (opens in new tab) – subtle but festive enough to make a difference. Oh and again, great if you have a small apartment. 

10. Make your Christmas cards your decor

Christmas card display ideas

(Image credit: Bloom)

A ton of Christmas cards + a small apartment = a whole load of clutter you could do without. So why not turn them into a Christmas decoration? String them up around the house, clip into your garlands or copy this Christmas card display idea and hang them from pretty ribbons. Sorts the problem of where to keep all the cards, and looks pretty too!

11. Consider placing your tree in the hallway

A Christmas tree and paper decorations in a hallway area

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Whether your apartment is on the larger or smaller side, things can get busy around the festive season. If you feel like your place is already a bit cramped with all the gift-wrapping and festive decorations, it may be practical to move your Christmas tree into the hallway area. Although positioning Christmas trees in the middle of a living room is more traditional, you may well find that it just works better not to have it in the middle of your lounge, blocking the TV/window. 

12. Rethink your furniture layout

A grey corner sofa and black coffee table in a Christmas-decorated living room

Rio Grey Sofa (opens in new tab), Furniture and Choice

(Image credit: Furniture And Choice)

On the other hand, if you are finding that no matter what you try, the Christmas tree just doesn't fit/look right, it may be time to rethink your living room layout ideas. Reconfiguring the furniture you already have will free up precious floor space and give your apartment a much-needed boost of fresh energy. 

Alternatively, it may be time to start thinking about a new sofa. All the best sofas are on sale this time of year anyway, so it's a good time to make an investment in something that will serve your floorplan better. For example, a corner sofa may give you more room to move about than a traditional long sofa. 

How do I decorate an apartment with little floor space?

You probably know what we're going to tell you: rethink that traditional, full-sized Christmas tree. Amy agrees and advises 'raising a smaller Christmas tree (or a gnarly tree branch sprayed in metallic spray) on a small side table - or even the center of your kitchen/ dining table.'

And, of course, pile on the lights: 'fairy lights take up very little space and illuminate small spaces and dark corners, making your apartment feel warm, inviting and fabulously festive.'

Where do I store Christmas decorations in an apartment?

In small apartments, decorating can feel like only half of the problem. The other half is: where on earth do your keep all the Christmas stuff when Christmas is over? Amy recommends investing in under-bed drawer storage containers (opens in new tab)– 'readily available on the high street.'

With decorations like tree branches, 'keep them up and just adapt for the seasonal changes - swap out baubles on your branches for flowers, stars or hearts.'

As for lights, that's an easy one: 'fairy lights are for life, not just for Christmas'. Just keep them on all year for added decor fun.

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.