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How I decorated for the holidays in my 340 sq. ft. apartment

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

This past August I moved into what I call an “upscale dorm.” My apartment is 340 square feet… around the same size as my freshman year dorm, but I now have my own kitchen and bathroom. Unfortunately this is what I get for going to a school in the middle of Kansas City with no affordable housing. Another downside for me is that I picked an inside unit that looks directly at other resident’s windows and does not get direct sunlight. The way I have made up for my lack of space and seasonal depression has been through decorating. Once November 1 hit, I was itching to put up a Christmas tree and holiday decor.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room: the Christmas tree. You may be asking, “Ciara, how did you even manage to put a tree in your itty bitty apartment?” Well, I got an itty bitty tree from Walmart. A string of lights and tinsel, cutie ornaments and a throw blanket are a perfect fit for any compact space.

The key for any small living area is to decorate the walls with decals and art. This is also a perfect way to have a Christmas tree without buying a physical one. I did not end up using this idea, but it was definitely my second option. Go online and search “Christmas tree wall decal.” A bunch of large tree decals will pop up that you can stick on the wall. If you want to get creative, you can hang up actual lights to add some pizzazz. Another great idea that I am going to try this holiday season is garland and lights around my door frames, windows and bathroom mirror. To add more details, find cohesive looking holiday wall decor from stores such as HomeGoods or Target. I already have a couple of items hung up and it has been an easy way to make it feel like the holidays without filling flat surfaces. 

Comfy bedding during this time of year is the most important decoration of all. This is the easiest way to decorate for Christmas if you don’t want to buy anything else. A couple of holiday throw blankets and pillows on the bed and couch go such a long way. As someone who has cream colored sheets and pillow cases, it is very easy for me to switch out my fall orange blankets and pillows to a winter green color.

For the final touch, the easiest way to make it feel like the holidays is to make it smell like the holidays. As someone with a small apartment, if I cook anything on the kitchen stove, my entire apartment smells like it for a couple of days unless I actively use something that smells good. I have three ways that I create  a cheerful aroma in my apartment:

1. Essential Oil Diffuser: The On Guard scent from DoTerra smells just like the holiday season.

2. Candles: The Forest Fir scent from Target is amazing, and I use my heat lamp instead of lighting it.

3. Simmer Pot: Take slices of apple, cinnamon and nutmeg and heat them up in a pan of water. 

I wouldn’t say I have gotten used to living in such small quarters yet. However, I do think that some holiday decor and cheer will liven up both my space and mental health. After fully decorating my dorm room last year, it is only fair to totally deck out my apartment. Many college students are also living in small spaces, so I hope this article helps those who will need some holiday cheer before and during winter break.

Ciara is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis of Marketing. She enjoys studying at coffee shops, shopping at antique stores, going on road trips, and decorating her 340 sq. ft. apartment. Ciara is involved in the Delta Zeta sorority as the panhellenic delegate, Career Services as a Peer Career Coach, and University Tees as a Campus Manager.