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?

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20 Responses

  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 12×16 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.