Decorating is one of the biggest and costliest holiday traditions for many people – as some homes can look like living gingerbread houses.
Don’t let being an apartment dweller mean you miss out on this festive part of the season. With our 6 thrifty tips, we’ll show you how to fill your apartment with holiday decorations while staying under budget – simply by using many items you already have!
1. LED String Lights
These essential holiday decorations might cost you a few dollars up front, but thanks to the durability and energy efficiency of LED light technology, they will last for many years. And by changing how you hang them each holiday season, they might never go out of style.
Our favorite options for LED string lights include:
- Wrapping your balcony with them;
- Hanging them in front of the window of your living room; and
- Draping them on top of your bar area in the kitchen to create festive illumination.
By using LED lighting, you’re lowering your energy usage, which means a smaller utility bill won’t eat into your holiday budget.
2. Bring Nature Inside
I am a huge fan of bringing the outside into the house. At this time of year, we dream of those snowy winter scenes found on the front of holiday cards, even though many parts of Texas rarely witness snow. This year, these holiday decorations will bring the forest vibe into your apartment and surround you with winter!
- Locate an old pasta sauce jar (or any large “Mason” style jar).
- Clean it up and remove the label by soaking the jar in a sink of warm soapy water.
- Once clean, head outdoors and look for pine trees, fir bushes, and other wintery trees that producing little red berries this time of year.
- Cut a few branches and place into your jar for a green and festive centerpiece.
- Finish the look by wrapping a piece of lace or ribbon around the jar, or pick up a few small and inexpensive baubles from the dollar store to hang from the branches.
In a small apartment, this vertical and vibrant naturescape can be quite effective. If you have a color scheme for your apartment in general, pick up a cheap can of spray paint and paint the outside of the jars.
3. Paper Snowflakes
This is one of my favorite crafts I complete with my daughters. Since the chances of experiencing snow are so low in Texas at this time of year, we make the snow ourselves!
- Find some coffee filters and pair of scissors.
- Fold the filter 4-6 times and start to cut out little triangles and curved shapes.
- Open it up and you have little paper snowflakes – no two that will be the same.
Paste them to your windows with tape and enjoy their simple beauty.
4. Upcycled Lanterns
Another great way to use old jam, pasta sauce, and pickle jars is to turn them into little lanterns you can use as holiday decorations for many years to come!
- Wash them and remove the label by placing the jars in warm, soapy water.
- Collect little pieces of tissue paper, leaves you find outside, shiny gold stars from the art supply kit, or one of those snowflakes you created in Tip #3.
- Using a decoupage glue that will dry clear or opaque (I recommend Modge Podge or Elmer’s Glue), paste them to the outside of the jar.
- You can also cut out a holiday scene from black construction paper such as a house with windows, a Christmas Tree shape, or a Menorah.
- Be sure and apply a thick layer of the glue to complete the lantern.
- Finally, place a tea light candle inside, and enjoy the glow.
This is a great activity to do with older children or at a party with friends!
5. Wrap Your Wall Art
This one is really fun and allows you to make good use of the scraps of wrapping paper you keep in your closets, but it takes a bit of commitment. And if you don’t have any excess supplies at home, you’ll also need to pick up a few rolls of festive holiday wrapping paper and shiny, thick ribbon.
- Take your framed art and pictures off the wall and wrap them
- Carefully place the ribbon around the front and back and tie a pretty ribbon at the front.
- Flip the frame over and cut a long hole in the back so you can access the hanger again.
- Hang back up, and you have shiny presents hanging all over your apartment!
And after the holidays are over, you can recycle the paper!
6. Bauble Bunting
This idea for depends upon the amount of extra holiday decorations you have available. Then again, if you buy them new this year, you can use them for many years to come
- Locate a piece of twine or sturdy string for the base.
- Attach other pieces of string of different lengths from the main line at varying intervals.
- Tie inexpensive ornaments from the ends of each string.
- Hang your bunting across your living room wall, in front of your fireplace or wherever you deem best.
Hung at different levels, the ornaments can the catch the light from the LED string lights in Tip #1 quite beautifully.