December is in full swing and the city of Chicago is abuzz with holiday spirit. With Hanukkah commencing this week and Christmas following shortly thereafter, transforming your Chicago apartment or condo into a festive retreat is a must.

For those living in an apartment or condo, outfitting your home for the holidays – without breaking the budget – is an option. Here are four ways to make your Chicago home dazzle in December:

Trim the Kitchen

Owning special dishware to entertain around the holidays is enticing, but storing extra sets of plates and glasses can be a hassle in a small apartment or condo kitchen. Instead of cluttering the insides of your cabinets, decorate your kitchen so that guests still feel the holiday vibes at your next soiree. Consider hanging small wreaths via red ribbons from the tops of cabinets to hang over the door fronts to add coziness to your culinary space. This idea can easily be carried to other parts of your condo or apartment, including bathroom cabinets and doorways, for a seamless look.

“Spruce” Up Your Dining Space

Who needs an elaborate chandelier? Try hanging cardstock-cut snowflakes above the dining table to add a seasonal touch without taking up precious floor space. Instead of using massive centerpieces, head to the nearest craft store and stock up on small clear vases or mason jars to fill with greenery and cranberries. Don’t forget about the power of candles – the soft glow and added ambiance goes a long way to making your home feel warm despite the chilly weather.

Don’t Overcrowd with a Tree

While a towering Fraser fir is the traditional Christmas décor go-to, your studio or one-bedroom apartment is probably not the most practical place to put such a large and temporary item on display. If you’re tight on living space, opt for a mini 3-foot artificial tree. You can always use a spare table or repurposed wine crate to add vertical interest. Or, opt for a minimalist modern Starlight tree. Either way, going faux eliminates the need to regularly vacuum pesky needles, which are easily traced and embedded into bedroom carpets. Best of all, both are easy to store and reuse next year to make the most of your investment. Don’t miss out on that fresh cut tree by scattering ornament sticks, lighting candles or diffusing a greenery-inspired essential oil blend. The latter also helps clean your home’s air, which tends to be stuffier this time of year, and is said to promote a positive and energized mental state.

Let the Mantle Shine

If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace in your Chicago apartment or condo, now is your chance to make good use of the display space. Start with garland and sprinkle in (you guessed it) candles, pinecones, menorahs or tabletop trees and nutcrackers. Don’t forget the stocking holders. Since these are small, easy to store and reusable, having stocking holders engraved with everyone’s initials is worth the extra cost. Finally, you don’t have to purchase premade stockings to hold your smallest gifts. Instead of going premade, consider a more unique option, like hanging old mittens or sewing full-sized stockings out of old cozy sweaters. Just make sure the material and color complements the rest of your home décor.

Living in the city, you probably have limited square footage and aren’t as concerned with exterior décor. Your trimmings will likely differ from those who have stairwells to adorn and front lawns to light – but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo feeling merry and bright at home.


Happy Holidays from the Z Chicago Team!