A small home or apartment shouldn’t keep you from decorating and having a festive home for every season. No one knows this better than Sandra Auger, who owns a large home in another city, but currently lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Rome with her husband, Chris, and their dog, Winston. When Chris retired from the military after 30 years, and he moved to Rome for a new job, Sandra decided to move with him, even if it meant leaving their newly-bought, 3000-square-foot home. With experience as a professional home stager and special events decorator, Sandra doesn’t let her new, smaller space keep her from making it festive and merry for Christmas.
Here are her top tips and tricks for making your space your own this holiday season:
FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION
“In a small space everything has to pull double duty, because you don’t want to waste space,” Sandra said. “What I always say is that form follows function. You want your space to look nice, but you also want it to work for you.”
Sandra put this into practice with the way she decorated the shelf in her dining room. She dressed up her everyday stoneware dishes and glasses by adding a garland (50% off at Michaels!), candles, and fairylights.
“Not every piece you put out has to be purely decorative. Put out your everyday glasses, put a candle behind them, and they glow!”
CARRY THE COLOR THROUGH
“If you have a color theme that you like, represent it in every room that you can see from your main room. It pulls everything together and makes it feel bigger, like it’s one space.
Sandra suggests picking a simple, modern color scheme such as black, white, and evergreen that you can carry through all spaces in your home. These colors can easily be represented in the tree decorations, garlands, pillows, candles, and even the white lights around the apartment. Sandra also recommends matching your wrapping paper with your decor and using real, wrapped presents to decorate.
“Wrapping paper doesn’t cost much, so you can display your presents around the house, not just under the tree; and you’ve got easy, cheap decor.”
LESS IS MORE
It’s important to not overdo it in a small space. Just like a painting, Sandra says that you can overwork a room. That’s why in the bedroom and hallway areas, she suggests just adding a small amount of Christmas decor, such as a wreath and festive pillows.
IF YOU CAN’T GO OUT, GO UP
In small spaces, you can easily run out of room or run the risk of overcrowding the space. That’s why Sandra suggests using the age old staging trick of decorating up the walls. This is why she used the magazine rack, dining shelf and a tall, skinny tree to add height to her rooms.
NO MANTLE, NO PROBLEM
“We don’t have a fireplace or a mantle, but we have to have our stockings. It’s a huge family tradition,” said Sandra. That’s why she decided to hang her stockings on her magazine rack. With pillows, garland, and wrapped presents, the rack is pushed up against the wall, adding height and dimension to the room, even without a traditional fireplace.
MAKE THE TREE THE FOCAL POINT
While many people do a themed tree, Sandra recommends keeping your tree decor personal. “Every year we get a hand painted ornament that means something to us, representing something from the year. We have the Presidential ornament for Chris when he retired from the military after 30 years. And we have a wedding cake for our daughter’s wedding.”
She also recommends using cheap, plastic ornaments for filler to make your tree look more full. And if you can’t find the right colors to tie into your color theme, you can always use a can of spray paint to recolor them!
Finally, Sandra also is a fan of using pillows underneath the tree. “I love when it’s quiet outside and my tree lights are on to just sit under the tree. So I also put pillows under there. It’s festive and comfortable.” Her black and white checkered, buffalo print pillows tie in perfectly to the color scheme and make everything feel more cosy.
SHOP SALES, SAVE BIG
“I’m a big fan of shopping in February, when all the Christmas decor is on sale. You can use it next year and it’s like a present to yourself!”
Sandra also recommends the decor at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Walmart, and Amazon.
And if you’re still worried about spending too much, she suggests clipping greenery branches and berries from outdoors and buying candles from the dollar store.