How To Have A Ton Of Christmas In A Small Space  

Posted by Heidi


Do you ever look at Pinterest or decor blogs and long for one lovely "look" or the other, but give up because your place is too small?  At 1,000 square feet, my little cottage is far from the smallest dwelling I have seen, but it's pretty darn small.  Somehow I put up 3 or 4 trees every Christmas and find a way to take advantage of every square foot.  The photo above is my version of a ubiquitous photo on Pinterest pinned from a popular decor blog by Carolyn Aiken.  I slip-covered the pillow in some vintage matelasse that I had in my stash and picked up the uber soft throw at the dollar store.  (Yes, the dollar store!  For that price, I could cover a whole sofa full of pillows.)   I now have this cozy corner that feels cozy and wintry and absolutely special.  The dogs and I fight over it.


I do a Christmas decor blog post most years (Blogger is having trouble with linking this weekend so if you wish to see last year's decor, you can search Heidi Ashworth blogspot pink green and silver shabby chic Chritmas and Heidi Ashworth blogspot red and white traditional Christmas) so I am mostly posting photos of the things I have done differently this year.  I move things around at my house a lot, which helps me to "see" my possessions better.  This is the first year I have done an Advent tree.  I bought the ribbon adorned with the many names of the Savior on an 80% off sale after Christmas last year.  As an added bonus, this idea helped to solve the dilemma of what to put against my new Laura Ashley wallpaper for Christmas.


Every day we put a red ornament on the tree.  They are each inscribed with a different name of the Savior.  I keep the ornaments who are waiting their turn in the lantern next to the tree.  I first saw this idea on Pinterest last year and I love it.  It has given our family a chance to discuss why Jesus Christ is called "examplar", for example.  I also love the tree sitting in the ironstone soup tureen (it's held in place with wheat from my food storage--but no harm done, it is still edible) which is a favorite piece of mine that often has to be put away to make room for Christmas other decor.


Over the tree are my "Nauvoo corbels" which I bought many years ago when I was visiting there. They used to hang out in the back yard but we added the piece of scrap wood and now it is a gorgeous architectural piece that I get to look at all year long.  I adorned it with icicle garland and a silvery bell garland with hanging snowflakes, all of which had different places in the house last year.


The other hallway in the house is outside my bedroom door.  I have always wanted a gallery and this is where I have mine.  It's small, but I love every single piece of artwork here.


Last Christmas I added a red plush throw to my bed and I was absolutely obsessed by it.  There are many photos of it on my decor blog from last year so I didn't bother with it this year.  However, I couldn't resist one photo of the bed because I have always wanted a canopy and a few years ago, we made one using pvc pipe hung from the ceiling on white coated chain and draped it with thrift store sheers.  The Jingle pillow was a Pottery Barn clearance sale score, though I noticed it's back up to regular price again.


I have, for many years, had a Christmas tree in my bedroom.  This is because we used to watch a lot of T.V. in there.  Once our kids go to bed, it is too noisy for us to watch T.V. in the living room.  Last year we got a cheap pair of headphones and now we can watch snuggled up on the sofa.  I love having a tree in my room, though, and there are many photos of it on previous blogs.  The chair next to it is a new addition, however.  Usually we put chairs out in the garage to make way for the big tree in the living room, but I decided to put this one next to the bedroom tree and I pretty much love it.  It just might not make it back out to the living room after Christmas.




This set of sugared fruit used to be part of my Victorian tree, but after 10 years of doing that one, I got bored with it and so I tossed the fruit in my pitcher and basin set.  It's very pretty and a whole lot less work than the tree was.


If you are short on space and long on creative decor ideas, don't forget the bathroom.


I drafted my son's little tree for the advent tree this year, but what to do with his ornaments?  As it turns out, they look darling hanging from the clothes rod in his closet.  BTW, we took off his closet doors long ago to gain a healthy amount of square footage in his tiny room.  Everything he wears folds up, anyway.


Most of us spend more time than usual in the kitchen at Christmastime, so it makes sense to add a decor touch or two.  This "spying" Santa is my version of Elf on the Shelf.  He stays put, too, which is nice.   I am too old to have had the Elf on the Shelf tradition (ours were real and constantly in hiding which is why we never saw them) which means the whole idea of moving him each night feels like work to me.


How much time does it take to add a few festive touches to a cup of hot chocolate?  Just seconds.


Our home is small and so is the backyard, but there are windows that take in a view of the whole thing.  As such, I don't leave it out when it comes to Christmas decor.  The garden isn't at its best this time of year so it makes sense to distract the eye away from the browning geraniums.  I have always wanted a Victorian lamp post--especially at Christmas time--but we aren't able to add one where we live.  This lamp post-style lantern fills that longing for me and I can move from back to front whenever I like.


This is one of my favorite new things this year.  During the summer I dug out a lightbulb on a cord that I had and set it in the non-functional chandelier.  That extra glow behind the plastic snowflakes adds a dimension of magic that I adore.


I also adore fake snow.  It makes my cozy Christmas corner just a little cozier. So what if it looks really, really fake.


This figure of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus is not new, and neither is the angle sconce above it.  However, this is the first time I have hung the angel over this scene.  It makes perfect sense, and not only because the window is from an old church.  I love the wintry white feel this display adds to the room, as well.


I have been jonesing on Joanna Gaines style lately. She is a designer who has her own show called Fixer Upper.  I love taking discarded items that have lived out their life and using it in a new way, just like Joanna.  She does a lot with chalkboard paint, too.  This old footboard is now a lovely architectural touch to a place that used to have way too much going on.



I simplified the chaos on top of my lighted cabinet this year.  It contains most of the red in the living room and I love the way it glows.  The toned down color palette on top provides an interesting contrast.  I removed the pictures from the frames, as well, which helped to tone down the color noise.  I made an exception for one of my favorite art pieces, an Asian inspired Cinderella drawing by my brother-in-law, a professional artist.


I went back and forth about cleaning the silver up here.  In the end I decided I preferred the sparkle at this time of year as opposed to the "atmosphere" of tarnished silver.  Here it is, a week before Christmas, and I still haven't cleaned it.  oops


This bench entered my home because I had a deep ache for a Swedish style Gustavian bench.  It's still a far cry from what it is meant to represent, but it is extremely useful when we have company for dinner. The pillow with the snowflake was a Christmas gift from my sister last year. Isn't it pretty?  And there's that dollar store plush throw again . . .


Rather than put up my entire nativity set this year, I decided to stick to the important pieces.  This meant that I didn't have to wrap up and put away an entire shelf of dishes.  I have a tea light with a timer on it so that it stands out when it gets dark, as this cabinet is not lighted.


One storage solution for small places is to adopt the layered look.  This works very well during the cold weather holidays when a plethora of stuff feels festive.  The Debi Coules painting behind Santa goes over my mantle for most of the year.  Starting in October, I usually put it away, but this year I stuck it up on top of the cabinet and am enjoying it so much.  When the weather gets warmer and calls for a less cozy look, it will go back over the mantle.


I love Christmas tree ornaments.  It kind of doesn't matter that I don't have tree-space for all of them. This year, most of the white and cream santas ended up in this basket.


This display is a new arrangement this year, as well.  It sits on my drop-leaf table.  When it is time to eat, the display goes on the counter and the table leaves go up.  Having most of it on one tray makes it a simple transition. The rest of the time it serves as a sofa table.


I found a way to light up my pink glitter house without a string of lights and unsightly cords. This house came without the bulb that should be stuck in the hole in the back.  In years past, I just thread through a string of white lights.  However, that wasn't going to work where I have it now.  The hole is too small to stick a tealight through or in it.  So, I used a high powered, tiny flashlight that one can find all over the place now.


This arrangement was inspired by a Pottery Barn advertisement.  It was fun to pull things from here and there and make something new and entirely free.


I have a number of battery operated candles but nothing glows and sparkles like the flames of a real candle.


I added a bit of glittery fake snow to the round candle and I have to say, it looks delicious.


All of this stuff together does make for a bit of a crowd.  However, excess is perfect at Christmas time.  It is easier to pull off with a muted palette, as well.  This is what I see when I walk out of my bedroom each morning and it always lifts my mood.


Last year was the first time I hung these glass hearts from my chandlier.  To say I was obsessed with them is an understatement.  I took many photos of them, but they never looked as good as they do in reality.  This year I got smart and stood underneath the chandelier and now one can see how they shine in the light.  Meanwhile, my poor tree is groaning under the weight of my copious ornaments.  I finally got rid of my 20 year old fake tree in January and got this at a 87 percent off sale, but it doesn't stand any straighter than the old one did.  Too many ornaments, perhaps?  Another item of note:  this is the first time that I can recall doing my mantle the same as the year before.  I guess I finally hit on an arrangement that I really like.


This is the first year I have put silver tinsel garland on my tree.  What was I waiting for?  I grew up with a tree that was adorned with very wide gold tinsel garland which I loved--but I wanted something different for my tree when I got married.  I have been using the pearl garland ever since, but goodness does that silver tinsel add sparkle!  So, it doesn't matter how small your place is:  you can have what matters most to you and you can do it on a budget, too.  Merry Christmas!

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 19, 2015 at Saturday, December 19, 2015 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Wow, Heidi, you sure know how to deck the halls! Beautiful. Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2015 at 7:48 PM

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