Tips for Holiday Decorating a Small House

The Belle Writer's Studio; I'm adding some gar­land and red rib­bon this year


I have friends who love the hol­i­days but don’t dec­o­rate their homes because they say their houses are too small and there isn't enough room.

If we can dec­o­rate for the hol­i­days in 480-square feet, then you can too. The trick is not mak­ing it look over­done or cluttered.

Here are some tips I've learned over the years:

  • Remove a small piece of fur­ni­ture that is not crit­i­cal to liv­ing. This may be dif­fi­cult since the trick to liv­ing in a clutter-free small home any­time of the year is only hav­ing things that have a pur­pose. But remem­ber, this is only for a month or so. Can you live with­out a desk or one of your night­stands? If you can’t remove the piece com­pletely, get a table­top tree and use the piece of fur­ni­ture for your stand.
  • Do dec­o­ra­tions that speak to your small space. I can’t have the 6 foot tree we had in our larger house in the city, so we choose a small arti­fi­cial tree that looks like it came straight from our woods.
  • Choose a theme. My tree in the city was a hodge­podge of dif­fer­ent orna­ments I had col­lected over the years. My hol­i­day décor in Our Little House, like the décor through­out the year, has a cen­tral theme. This is espe­cially impor­tant since most spots in your home can be seen from each room.
  • Go sim­ple. Small hand tow­els in the bath­room, hol­i­day themed night­lights, place­mats on the table, candles.
  • Go all out out­doors. The key to enjoy­ing a small space is our out­door liv­ing space, and this holds true with hol­i­day décor. We put up lights that glow in our woods at night (on timers, so as not to waste elec­tric­ity), small wreaths on the doors, red bells and gar­land and rib­bons on the deck rails.

How do you dec­o­rate a small space for the holidays?

20 Responses to “Tips for Holiday Decorating a Small House”

  1. Pat says:

    We sup­port a "no kill" pet res­cue. They have sev­eral thrift shops which are full of beau­ti­ful donated dec­o­ra­tions. Not only at Christmas but they have Easter, Autumn, etc. for each hol­i­day or sea­son. Since items are donated, prices are very low. I buy dec­o­ra­tions from them and then donate them back. It's fun to shop for new themes each year and elim­i­nates need for storage.…and the "lit­tle guys" ben­e­fit from the sales.

  2. Vida says:

    Hi Kerrie,

    Alot of our Christmas dec­o­ra­tion is made from for­aged mate­r­ial: leaves, branches, twigs etc etc. We also light lots of can­dles. This kind of dec­o­ra­tion does not require stor­age. Other stuff like rib­bons do not take up much space. Sometimes I also cut up wide strips of burlap, com­bine with red or tar­tan rib­bons to tie around my home­made wreaths and dec­o­ra­tions. The burlap can be thrown away later. The rest of the stuff can be burnt in the wood stove! I do have lights and a bit of shiny stuff that I store but one can dec­o­rate beau­ti­fully in the nat­ural, rus­tic style without.

    The other thing I do for a Christmassy feel is change the cov­ers of my cush­ions and sofa throws…for red, white, tar­tan or green or what­ever the theme colour is for the year. Throughout the rest of the year I reuse these cov­ers in dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions so it doesn't look like Christmas!

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Vida, so nice to hear from you! The all nat­ural Christmas decor sounds lovely! I might have to adopt a true wood­land theme next year. A great idea burn­ing it all when the sea­son is over. I hope you and yours have a very mag­i­cal hol­i­day season!

      • Vida says:

        I hope you have a won­der­ful Christmas too! I look in on your blog often but don't have time to com­ment, I am run off my feet with the ani­mal res­cue char­ity that we set up here!

  3. Sheryl M says:

    This is our 2nd year of Christmas in our smaller house (it's not quite as small as yours, Kerri). We have decided we really don't have space for a tree, so we're declar­ing it a "tree free zone"! We didn't put up a tree last year, either. (But we do have a 12" table top orna­ment tree). The rest of our Christmas ideas are directed towards dec­o­rat­ing the 6' man­tel and the loft rail­ings — stock­ings and gar­lands on the man­tel, and a wreath and more gar­lands on the rail­ings. We put can­dles in the win­dows, and have string lights hang­ing on the front porch rail­ing. Keeping the decor on the walls, or up high, works best for us.

    As for stor­ing Christmas items, every­thing packs up into 3 medium size boxes that are stored on a cor­ner shelf in our shed. The only thing I've added this year are the string lights out­side. The key to a small Christmas is to not keep adding more and more to the col­lec­tion (the same as the house phi­los­o­phy!) I love read­ing all your small blogs Kerri. Thanks!

    • Kerri says:

      That sounds lovely, Sheryl. The impor­tant thing is that it speaks to you and makes the house feel spe­cial dur­ing the hol­i­days. We have those bat­tery oper­ated can­dles in the win­dows that come on a timer, we love them!

  4. Marianne says:

    Love these ideas and I love to dec­o­rate for the hol­i­days. My ques­tion is .….where do you store hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions when they're not being used? In look­ing at tiny homes, I see that stor­age is care­fully planned out, but min­i­mal, and usu­ally only enough for daily neces­si­ties. Do peo­ple who live in tiny house pay for stor­age units or have sheds to keep hol­i­day decor, etc. in?

    • Saumara says:


      My home is extremely small, not on a 8' trailer small, but 12x16 indoors (196 sq ft) But, I do have 2 lofts, one that extends over the porch and one that is over my kitchen/bathroom. The loft over the porch is only about a 3' clear­ance and really can­not be used as a bed­room. So, I use mine for stor­age. This is where my items are kept. Plus, I rent a piece of prop­erty from my par­ents, and they allow me to store larger items in their garage. But, I have con­sid­ered a small stor­age shed if need be. But, it's not needed yet, and hope­fully, it won't be needed. Kinda takes away the pur­pose of liv­ing small…

  5. Saumara says:

    I also live in a tiny home … half the size of yours com­ing in at 196 sq ft. I also hang a wreath on my front door. Since I have a win­dow in my door I can see it inside or out. Last year, I had a huge tree because my house wasn't fin­ished and I knew I could get away with it. I also have 12' ceil­ings so I think up now not out. There are also trees that are flat and can be hung on the wall. I will be using this on the front of my house and have a small 4' skinny tree in doors. Also there are some mag­a­zines like Lakeside that have solar pow­ered Christmas lights…then you don't have to use any elec­tric­ity. I also put a few nick­nacks on shelves and box up books for awhile or my fire­place has a good spot too :)

    • Kerri says:

      Congrats on your move into your tiny house, Saumara! Your dec­o­rat­ing plan sounds won­der­ful. Share some pho­tos with us on Facebook, please!

  6. Firstly I would say great tips. I really like it . One thing that I use to dec­o­rate my home is hang­ing the orna­ments from win­dows along with match­ing rib­bons. It really gives a beau­ti­ful look to the house.

  7. Rebecca says:

    This is not a com­ment for your web­site. This is a logis­ti­cal ques­tion. I feel dumb ask­ing but here goes.

    I really enjoy your posts. Is there a way for the posts to come to me ( through email or Facebook) rather than me going to the website?

    I am using a quirky I-pad. That is why I ask. I like your other blogs as well and won­der about those.

    One would think an I-pad could han­dle this. Trust me, for now, it's not reliable.

    If the answer is "no"', that I must go to the web­sites, then I will find a solu­tion. Doesn't hurt to ask.

    • Kerri says:

      I don't have it set up to come to read­ers via email, Rebecca, sorry. Not sure what you're talk­ing about with the other blogs, this is the only one I write. :)

  8. Pamela says:

    After years of get­ting an 11 foot tree for our Philadelphia town house, I never thought I could be happy with a small tree. But hav­ing to bring it home on the bike means we're going even smaller than usual.

    And you know? Once our tiny tree is up and dec­o­rated I don't miss the big one a bit.

    • Kerri says:

      I admit, I do long for some of the larger antique dec­o­ra­tions my mother had. But as for putting the tree up, dec­o­rat­ing it and then hav­ing to take it down, I don't miss the larger tree. :)

  9. Great tips! I also think that replac­ing daily items (like your hand soap dis­penser, your sugar bowl, the vase on your night­stand etc) with hol­i­days themed items that do the same job is a great way to dec­o­rate with­out clutter.