Decorating a Small House for The Holidays

We typically put up our Christmas décor the Saturday following Thanksgiving. We did not make it this year. We spent too much time relaxing for the first three days of the holiday weekend.

When Sunday rolled around and it was 70 degrees that day, we decided it was the perfect time to run the gasoline out of the boat for the season. It was, but it was also more fun than cleaning before putting the decorations up.

As with anything in a little house, there is a trick to decorating for the holidays without it looking overdone or cluttered.


When we built Our Little House, we went with a decorating theme. Although I am not a great creative when it comes to decorating, I remember why I got a C back in sophomore Home Economics in decorating.

“Your house doesn’t have continuity in decorating,” my teacher wrote (or something to that affect). “Your colors will not blend together from room to room and there is no central theme to your house.”

While I pretty much didn’t follow this advice on my larger house in the city, because every room can be seen from almost any point in Our Little House, I chose a central woodland theme with a continuity of earth tones.

I follow this same principle when I decorate for Christmas. We have a small woodland-looking tree with woodland themed ornaments.

My mom, who loved Christmas and loved decorating, also gave me as gifts a few black bears with Santa hats that I sit around.

We have a wood burning stove, so no hearth from which to hang stockings. They are hung on the knobs leading into the pantry/laundry closet from the kitchen. Red place mats, a gingerbread house my mom made and holiday towels complete the decor in the kitchen.

Thanks to my throwing a little bit of red splash for color into my regular decorating, having red and more green during the holidays doesn’t clash.


For many people with small or tiny homes, our outdoor living space is as important as our indoor space.

This is very true for us. Between Our Little House and The Belle Writer’s Studio, we have 2 covered porches and 1 deck, all of which is decorated in lights for the holidays.

Of course, we have the obligatory lighted deer (this was a must for our woodland landscape when we moved).

I’ve used white icicle lights for the railings the past few years, but it was time to buy new ones this year. There were too many going out and breaking on the old strands.

“I think blue and white would be pretty,” Dale said when he spotted them.

Since we have plain white lights on the tree inside, I agreed. A more colorful glow shining through the woods from the porches will look nice.

I’m anxious to get to it. Maybe next weekend.

Do you have any holiday decorating tips for people with small spaces?

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22 Responses

  1. Kerry Dexter says:

    lovely to see your decorations, Kerri. I especially like the outside lights. no outside lights where I live. I have a wreath, lights, and pine cones and berreies in the windows though. I always find it cheerful to see lights on houses, in yards, and in windows when I pass by, whether I am out in the country or in town. so thanks to all who decorate for the season!

  2. Heather L. says:

    You’ve almost got me in the mood to decorate. I have no tips. I never feel like I do it right. My favorite way is to decorate every room we use.

  3. merr says:

    I love lights, and only recently starting stringing lights inside the house. So much fun, and makes the room feel so cozy even if we don’t have snow here.

    • Kerri says:

      We’re far from snow here right now, Merr. I wrote this morning on the FB page that I never have watched the Christmas lights from open windows. Its been in the high 70s here during the day and not below 55 at night!

  4. I haven’t even started putting up decorations so you’re ahead of me! I keep my decorations pretty minimal anyway. I like the idea of blue and white on your outside lights

    • Kerri says:

      We *finally* got the outdoor decorating done yesterday. Going to put up the little tree inside tomorrow afternoon. I wonder what it says when it takes us old people a week or more to do the decorating!?

  5. I love the blue and white lights outdoors. Very pretty.

  6. Sue says:

    Love your little tree, Kerri. I have a smaller one on my island, which is also my table. It kind of gets in the way but it’s the only place I have and it’s not there long. I like that you have the gingerbread house your mom made too. Everything has to have meaning in our little homes!
    I have 3 inexpensive artificial wreaths that I hang inside on doors or walls or in the window. They have my ornaments I didn’t want to part with when we downsized. One is ornaments the kids made.
    Like you, I think the outside is a great place for us small house people. We cut a small cedar tree from our place and put it on the porch. Usually I just put outside lights on it but this year I went ahead and put some ornaments I had on it. Some yarn snowballs I had made and a handful of ornaments. I figured I might as well use them even if the weather hurts them a little. Better than keeping them in a box. The tree is on the back porch which is screened and away from the north wind, so they are ok so far.
    I also make a cedar wreath each year and hang on the front gate. And I tie 3 cedar fence posts together at the top in a teepee shape and wrap with outside lights. This year I put it by the front porch on the ground, like your deer is. It’s easy to tie it into the porch icicle lights that way.
    I like how you change things up a little, like the color of the outside lights. With limited space it’s hard to keep things fresh and even a little change makes a difference.
    Best thing I did this year was get an outside extension cord (only about a foot long) with a remote on/off clicker from Lowe’s for about $10. Our front porch plug is kind of hard to get to and this way I can turn the lights off from inside. And carry the clicker in my truck and turn the lights on from the driveway if I am coming home after dark!

    • Kerri says:

      I love your little porch tree too, Sue! Good idea for your beloved ornaments. A lot of mine are still packed away in boxes in the storage garage. Your clicker idea is brilliant. I need one of those! Thanks for posting.

      • Kerri says:

        Sue, we could not find a remote control outdoor lighting thing, but did find a timer one and put that on the studio. Dale set them to come on at 5 and off at 10 and now I can keep those lights on all evening without having to come all the way back over before we go to bed! Thanks for your comments as it was the catalyst.

  7. Alexandra says:

    I find that a really festive wreath enlivens with the whole front of our house. We have a local wreath pageant where I get my wreathes. This year, it will be a workshop, so I may learn to make my own!

  8. Cindyt says:

    The most wonderful time of the year! Does bring it’s challenges after moving to smaller spaces. I found I had to re think my decorating model where more was best….to now less is more! I had to scale down my tree…and yes it is artificial but it is the slim size so it fits in the corner and I am able to get all my special ornaments on it collected over the years. I also supplement with real greenery swags and wreaths for the door and across the fireplace mantle so I get that pine smell. The rest of my decorating is on the cabin outside and on the back deck with twinkle lights. The only other decorations inside are my cards and little battery operated candles that are set in each window and automatically light every evening and go off at 11 pm. It makes a nice warm glow here in the cabin and I love it! Merry Christmas to you and Dale and all the puppers! Cindyt

    • Kerri says:

      I have some lights for the windowsills, but they are electric, where did you find the battery operated ones, Cindy? Your cabin sounds very festive and cozy! Merry Christmas to you as well!

      • Cindyt says:

        Hi Kerri, I bought new ones this year from Home Depot. I have purchased them in the past at Gardenridge…but that may be local to Texas. I have seen them at Lowe’s too and on line. The come in packages of 3 or 6 individual candles. I had the plug in ones before..but that was not always handy for window and plug. I like the timer that is built in and turns them on and off. 🙂 Cindyt

  9. Looks festive and cozy! Our house recently suffered a water heater breakdown and the first floor is under re-construction, so no decorating inside. However, we did put lights on the front of our house and cut a little cedar tree to put in a container by the front door, also lit with white lights. I love seeing the lights from the road as I drive to and from our house. There are no other houses around us, we’re out in the country, so those lights really sparkle and stand out against a black night sky.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, so sorry about your remodeling woes, Kathleen, but at least next year, your house will be all done as you wish! Your entryway sounds so festive! I hope to see a photo.