Decorate your digs like a winter wonderland, not a North Pole explosion

By Virginia K. Smith  | December 11, 2014 - 12:59PM

Too busy party-hopping—or squabbling with the neighbors about your lobby's tree—to decorate your apartment yet? There's still plenty of time to give your place a festive facelift without dropping lots of time and cash. (Never underestimate the treasure trove of cheap decorations that is the NYC dollar store.) 

For tips on doing it tastefully and with minimal headaches, Refinery 29 culled tips from NYC decorators. Below, a few of our favorite pointers:

  • Clean up your act. This is particularly true if you're throwing a holiday shindig, but in any case, it's good to give your apartment a major clean before you start stringing up lights. After all, no holiday flower arrangement looks good enough to distract from that pile of papers on the kitchen table.
  • Don't go (too) overboard.  Pick a few basic colors and stick with them throughout your decorations—green and gold, for instance—to give things a streamlined look. And feel free to focus on one larger statement piece like a major tree, instead of draping every inch of your apartment in garlands. 
  • Incorporate plants. Don't feel obligated to opt for a real tree if you're not up for the hassle. Faux options are reusable, and won't leave your floor covered in dry pine needles. But even if the pine scent in the air came from a spray can, try to add some non-plastic plants to the mix as well, such as a wreath or a few poinsettias. A little greenery can go a long way.
  • Say no to anything with a mustache on it. And more generally, if you're picking out decorations you intend to reuse in the years to come, it's wise to avoid anything too trendy that'll inevitably fall out of fashion. Another thing to avoid altogether: elaborate Pinterest-inspired projects. Unless DIY decor is your favorite pastime (and you're confident that your homemade cookie garland is going to come out looking the way it's supposed to), don't feel obligated to go full Martha Stewart. Store bought everything is more than fine.
  • Expand your definition of decorations. If you've got, say, a particularly cool collection of vintage cookie cutters, or some jewelry that could double as a decoration, don't be shy about adding it to the tree. Similarly, feel free to think outside the box—or rather, the star—when it comes to your tree topper. Whether it's a hat or a disco ball, anything goes.


For the lazy but festive: get your Christmas tree delivered this weekend

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How to decorate your lobby for the holidays—without starting an in-building war

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