Have A Merry Little Christmas

Interiors journalist Sharon Dale suggests ways of bringing Christmas into the smallest of spaces.

Starter homes and retirement flats are not big on square footage, which can present issues when decorating for Christmas. Housing a six-foot fir tree dressed to the nines in a one-bedroom apartment isn’t a viable option unless you chuck out a vital piece of furniture.

Small space dwellers also have to remember that less is more and that it pays to curate rather than buy randomly.
Here are some tips on how to trim your compact and bijou home for the festive season

Opt for a small Christmas tree, around 3ft, and give the illusion of height by placing it on a side table. You could opt for a real tree, though my favourite is a bargain buy from Marks & Spencer – a chubby little snow scattered artificial tree that is reduced from £19.50 to £9.75 at the moment. You can hide the base with fake presents i.e. boxes wrapped in tasteful paper, as in the picture, or buy an inexpensive plastic tub and cover it in felt or velveteen fabric tied with a ribbon.


The artificial 3ft tree from Marks & Spencer reduced to £9.75 at Marks & Spencer.

There are other space-saving possibilities, including a tall and super slim tree. John Lewis and B&Q do them. Rockett St George has a set of mini-Christmas trees, which look great grouped together. Or forage for large twigs that you hang little baubles from and place in a vase filled with fairy lights.


Mini Christmas trees grouped together, like these from Rockett St George, are an alternative to a big tree.

Choose a colour theme. Bright, contemporary colours work well in modern apartments but if you opt for this look then tone the brights down with natural greenery. If you want to play safe then you really cannot go wrong with a simple, Scandinavian theme using lots of winter whites, greens and a hint of red. Visit Ikea for inspiration.


Festive greenery and baubles hung on a picture frame, all from Sainsbury’s.


Glass cat decoration, £10.95, www.berryred.co.uk

Use the walls. I love this gold Merry Christmas garland, £12, from The Contemporary Home, www.tch.net. Poundland has a cut-price version. A trio of small wreaths hung on coloured ribbons and at different heights is a simple idea that has a big impact.


Merry Christmas garland, £12, from The Contemporary Home, ww.tch.net

Cushions and throws: It is becoming a “thing” to swap your everyday cushions for festive versions in December and there been an explosion of choice this year. At upwards of £10 each, this might seem an extravagance but you can bring them out every year if you buy well. Among my favourites is this Linea forest cushion, £20, from House of Fraser. For cosy throws, fake fur always looks and feels fabulous. Sainsbury’s have reasonably priced ones at £30. Ikea’s star-covered Vinter throw in grey and white fleece fabric is just £7.
 

Linea Forest cushion, £20, houseoffraser.co.uk


Ikea Vinter throw, £7.


If you don’t have one, and most flats don’t, then make your own mantelpiece using an existing shelf. Put a garland of greenery on top and hang a row of tiny stockings underneath.
 
Fairy lights are a must. Drape round pictures, mirrors and shelves. For the window, hang a simple wooden star or wreath wrapped in battery operated lights. For added cosiness, you can’t beat little tealight houses. The best ones are to be found at German markets. Paper tealight lanterns also give a twinkling glow. My favourites are by artist Kate Lycett.


 Tealight lantern, £15, katelycett.co.uk

If you have a dining table, give it a festive centrepiece. A collection of candles grouped together on a tray works well or fill a glass bowl with baubles and pine cones.


 Ten glass cone lights, £10, dunelm.com

Tree decorations come in all shapes, sizes and materials these days. Hang them on the tree, of course, but use them elsewhere. Hang on longer lengths of string or ribbon and attach to the underneath of shelves with a drawing pin or make a garland from them. Interesting gift tags also work well in this way.


Gift tags work well as decorations. Tie to the tree or hang from the underside of shelves. These are £2.95 per pack from luckandluck.co.uk
 

Publish date: 11/09/2017