A Renter’s Guide to Holiday Decorations

Mini Christmas Tree in Nursery

Decking your halls can be tricky when your halls aren’t really yours.

Between restrictions in the lease agreement, the issue of storage space, plus the ever-present knowledge that you may be in a different rental the next time the holiday season rolls around, seasonal decor in a rental can prove particularly challenging.

Our Christmas decorations are in their third rental in four years, which I think makes me somewhat of an expert on decorating a rental for the holidays.

So, whether you’re in a dorm, an apartment, or a house, here are my tried-and-true guidelines for decorating your rental for the holidays.

Do decorate!
It can be tempting to skip the hassle altogether, but even the smallest seasonal updates will make your space feel more festive and more like home.

Do have a Christmas tree!
No need for this to be a traditional Christmas tree. I have seen super cute regular fiddle leaf figs or faux tropical plants-turned-Christmas-trees by stringing some lights and/or putting ornaments on them. Any tree will do!

3 Foot Christmas Tree in Basket

I am so in favor of having a Christmas tree that we have small one in just about every room of our apartment. My favorite of them is this 3 foot pre-lit tree. It’s big enough to be noticeable, but small enough that I know we will always be able to find a place for it no matter how small or oddly shaped our next rental may be. Which leads me to my next point…

Don’t spend lots of money on space-specific items.
Just because you have room for a 9-foot tree this year doesn’t mean you will have room for it next year!

Do work with what you’ve got.
It’s tempting to rush to the store and get a cart full of seasonal items (that would definitely look amazing and be super fun to put up… I am not one to discourage a Home Goods haul), but before you do that, take a good look around and see what you already have that could be repurposed or repositioned to give you a holiday feel.

Not only is this a very budget-friendly option, it will also cut down on items that need to be stored and moved. Some of my favorite of our Christmas decorations are just our regular decorations with small adjustments. 

Christmas Cow
Slap a Santa hat on your cow painting.
Christmas Letterboard
Update your letter board.

Do get things you use, rather than things you just look at.
Seasonal throws, cushion covers, flannel sheets, and hand towels are all very functional items that you will for sure be able to use wherever you live next. Plus! Soft blankets and warm sheets and cushy pillows majorly up the coziness factor of your home, which is a good thing for the winter months.

Winter Cushion Cover

Do give preference to consumable items that you would buy anyway. This would be things like hand soap and candles. If I had to choose only one thing to do to decorate, it would probably be this. Having some peppermint soap and seasonal candles adds a decidedly festive vibe to your space. PLUS. You use them up and don’t even need to worry about storing or packing or moving them. Win!

Christmas cushion

I would love to hear your tips and tricks for decking out your rental for the holidays! Tell me about them in the comments below!


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