How to decorate your tiny apartment for the holiday season
The weather has changed in New York City…then changed again, and once again. Fall had its ups and downs, but the leaves are almost gone and soon it will stay cold for what will feel like an eternity. With winter just around the corner and the holidays upon us, it’s time to get festive!
If you live in the city chances are your space is limited, but you can still add some seasonal cheer to your dwelling. Here are a few easy ways to get your apartment, no matter how small, ready for winter.
Plants — One thing I look forward to every holiday season is spending too much money on a little Christmas tree, hauling it home, decorating it, and forgetting to throw it out until April. Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas, plants can help liven up your space during the cold months— even dead ones that drop stiff pine needles all over your couch. Get at least one, whether it be a (nearly) foolproof succulent or a high-maintenance flowering plant and put it on your windowsill. If you live in a basement, lucky you! You don’t need to get a plant since you’re already living with all sorts of fungi.
Scented Candles — It’s getting dark earlier and earlier, which can be a bummer — unless you have a good attitude and a warm fire. Of course, if you don’t have an actual fireplace, I don’t recommend starting a fire in your apartment unless it’s on your stove or within the safe confines of a scented candle. Treat yourself to a fancy one that comes in a pretty piece of pottery and smells good. When it starts to get dark in the late afternoon, light that baby up and inhale its sweet, sweet fumes — just make sure your face isn’t too close to the flame.
Blankets — When it’s chilly out, nothing feels better than wrapping yourself up in a cozy blanket and curling up on the couch. Why not go a step further and drape your room with blankets? If you have the space, throw in some pillows and couch cushions and make a fort. Just make sure none of your roommates gets a glimpse of your new dwelling — they’ll either get very (and perhaps rightfully!) concerned about your mental health or beg you to decorate the bathroom in a similar fashion, which will be fun until you find yourself showering with literal wet blankets.
Sparkles and Lights — When it’s dark and cold outside, nothing brightens up a bedroom that’s technically a closet like something shiny! Whether you hang sparkly garlands or string lights, get yourself a disco ball or collect a few shimmery ornaments, adding a little shine to your living space will instantly lift your mood on even the darkest days. If you’re broke, just go ahead and dump a container of glitter all over your room, which will remain covered in tiny pieces of shimmery plastic for the next decade or two, no matter how much you vacuum. Trust me — there’s nothing quite like seeing the moon reflected off your old carpet.
A Space Heater — Nothing screams winter quite like dry, hot indoor air! If your building has a radiator, chances are your apartment is arid and scorching all winter long. If your landlord isn’t very generous with the heat, however, take matters into your own hands and get yourself a space heater, then turn it up so high the inside of your nostrils feels like glue. That way, you can ring in the season the way I always do: with a sinus infection.
Hand Lotion — Whether you have a radiator, a space heater or a different source of heat burning up your apartment, one thing is for sure: your hands are likely turning into sandpaper. If you want to preserve the small amount of skin still attached to your hands, it’s time to adorn your apartment with hand lotion. No matter how small your living space is, you should buy at least six separate bottles of hand lotion, then plop them on every surface so you never, ever forget to grease up your hands immediately after washing them.
Food — I make food all year round, but it would be inaccurate to refer to the meals I prepare in the summer as “cooking” since I live in an apartment with no air conditioning and can’t bear to turn on my oven between May and October. As soon as it gets chilly, however, it’s chili time (sorry). Nothing will make your apartment feel like a wintery wonderland quite like a soup simmering on the stove or a plate of treats fresh out of the oven.
Friends — What could make your home feel more full of the holiday spirit than your closest friends? Once you’ve done all that cooking, invite some pals over to help you eat it! Of course, if your apartment is anything like mine, you reach maximum capacity with three medium-sized adults and one small dog. ‘Tis the season to be cozy, however, so go head and invite a few extra friends. A real pal will be cool with sitting on your mutual friend’s lap and eating soup with their hands if you don’t have enough spoons to go around.
Tupperware — It’s that time of the year when everyone’s traveling and bringing back leftovers in their relatives’ best tupperware. Most Americans collect anywhere from 5–15 new food containers every winter, then stuff them into a cabinet, hidden from view. This year, scatter that tupperware all over your counter to make sure visitors know that somebody somewhere loves you enough to not only make you food, but to part with their old gelato containers.
Weight Gain — If you’re a minimalist who prefers a sparse living space, there’s still one easy way for you to get festive. Nothing says “wintertime” quite like 5–10 extra pounds centered around your middle. Don’t think of it as eating too much dessert — think of it as embellishing your body for the season!