How to Deck the Halls, Apartment-Style

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What do you do if you’re a big fan of holiday decorating but live in a small rental space? It can be defeating to feel you can’t decorate your home the way you want. And you likely worry causing damage will force you to lose out on your rental deposit. 

The good news? You can still create a festive mood. You just may need to be more creative to minimize damage to the area. 

Learn ways to maximize your holiday cheer while minimizing damage to your landlord’s property. First, if you are in a rental property, it’s essential to protect yourself and your physical space.

Don’t Skip Your Renters Insurance

You want to be sure you have renters insurance. You should speak with your insurance agent or research renters insurance online in your area. Remember that different companies may be better for certain areas; the best renters insurance in Austin, TX may be a different provider than that for Las Vegas, Nevada.

 A renters policy will cover your belongings and personal legal liability as well as any additional living expenses in case your rental becomes uninhabitable. It will also offer limited coverage for medical costs if a guest is injured on your property. However, your landlord is responsible for dwelling fire and other insurance for the structure. 

If you look up the dwelling fire meaning, you will see that the landlord’s policy would cover only the exterior and provide no coverage for the tenants’ property. 

Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas for Renters

If you are in a rental, it may be relatively small. However, you can still hang a wreath and some garland and even string lights in your space. Many options are available for hanging wall art or décor that minimize damage to walls. 

You can use hooks or velcro-based hangers that minimize damage. An exciting and unique idea is using ribbon or string to make a place for holiday cards. Just use clothespins to clip onto your display. 

Window decals are colorful and festive and are easy to remove. You can add garland, a small poinsettia, or other holiday plants or fresh flowers if you have a mantle. Sprinkle a few ornaments and pinecones to add seasonal color. 

Christmas Tree Options

Many people don’t feel like their décor is complete without having a Christmas tree. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find a place to put up a tree in a small apartment. An easy alternative is opting for a smaller tabletop tree with lights and small-scale ornaments. 

There are also more creative options. For example, outlining a tree on the wall using twine and thumbtacks will give you an area to display ornaments and photos without using your valuable floor space. 

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You could also use the same idea and use small battery-powered fairy lights instead of twine, or a combination of both. 

A Real Christmas Tree

If you prefer a real fresh-cut Christmas tree, you’ll want to decide where you will place it in your home and the best size for your space. With a fresh tree, you need to be sure you have a place away from the fireplace or radiator, and you may want to use a humidifier to keep the tree from drying out too quickly. 

You must prepare the tree properly before setting it up in your home. Make a fresh cut across the bottom of the trunk so the tree can take up water. Then soak the tree in a bucket of water before you set it up inside. 

You want to be sure to place the tree in a good quality tree stand that holds plenty of water, and check the water level daily. 

Artificial Christmas Trees

Christmas tree manufacturers have begun recognizing consumer demand and creating options for smaller spaces. For example, one-sided options look like full trees but have only one side, allowing the tree to back up flat to the wall. 

Alternately, there are also corner trees, allowing a tree to use a small space by snuggling into a corner. There are several options for quite tall, narrow trees. Or consider choosing interesting bare branches to display with lights and ornaments. 

Festive Holiday Touches

Don’t forget the more subtle touches. A red and green throw on the couch or thrown across a chair adds a holiday feel. A bowl of pine cones with brightly colored ornaments is festive, especially if fairy lights are added. 

Look for battery-powered fairy lights with a timer. They are cheerful and bright and easy to add to a tabletop display, thread through a garland, or add to a wreath.

Holiday Fragrances

Don’t forget about the fragrance of the season. Pine, cedar, peppermint, cinnamon, and citrus all have a place in memories of the holidays. You might want to try using an oil diffuser, scented candles, or potpourri to enhance the atmosphere in your holiday home. 

Use artificial greenery, garlands, pinecones, and berries to decorate surfaces in your home. Pierce an orange and stick a few whole cloves in the skin. The orange and cloves will scent the air for weeks and add a festive touch.

Other Festive Ideas 

Use a winter throw in holiday colors on furniture, and add throw pillows with a holiday design. Setting up a small snow village across a mantle, bookcase, or cabinet top is a fun holiday activity. 

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Add a string or two of fairy lights with a timer to add cheer to long winter evenings. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can still use some stocking hangers made to sit on the edge of a mantle,  or hang your stockings across a shelf, ledge, or in front of the kitchen island. 

Proper Storage of Your Decorations After the Holidays 

When the holidays are over, you’ll want to pack away your holiday decorations for next year. In a small rental, that can be even more challenging. Think about possible storage areas in your space. 

Plastic totes come in a range of sizes designed to fit in odd spaces. For example, some bins are sized to fit wrapping paper rolls and will slide under a bed or other piece of furniture. 

If you have a small artificial tree, you may simply be able to slide a plastic bag over it and put it on a high shelf in a closet. Taller trees will break down into shorter pieces and fit into weather-resistant bags or bins. It’s ok to store in outdoor storage areas if you add a desiccant to prevent mildew. 

You may want to get a collection of smaller bins to store small ornaments. These bins may stack in the back or bottom of a closet, an out of the way cabinet, or a tall closet shelf. Carefully wrap fragile or heirloom ornaments and store them away in a protected space such as unused drawers or under furniture, or even inside a storage ottoman. 

It’s a good idea to give some thought to how you use the packed items and put tree ornaments and lights together, separate from tabletop décor or linens. Label these bins and storage containers with a short description of the contents. 

Small Space Decorating

It can steal your holiday spirit to feel you can’t properly decorate your space. Fears of damage to your rental and worries about your lack of space can have you feeling less than cheery.

However, with some thought and creativity, it’s possible to enjoy a festive season of holiday décor in a small space on a budget. Pack your holiday collection away carefully to help with the next season and minimize storage issues.

Alexandra Arcand writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, She loves decorating for the holidays and enjoys sharing ways her readers can create the holiday space of their dreams.