With the Fourth of July around the corner, and all the barbecues and gatherings surrounding it beginning already, my thoughts have been on how to create a great seasonal decorating scheme with a small home and an even smaller budget. Nobody likes waste, but this may be even more true of people who live in DC's small apartments and townhouses! Luckily there are some easy ways to set the tone for each holiday gathering without filling up your small closet with a dozen holidays' worth of decorations!
Consumables are the Best Decor
Like many small home dwellers, I like everything in my home to serve at least one function, if not several. Because of this, consumables are my favorite holiday decorations. Food, soap, napkins, and candles would get used around my house anyways - why not theme them? Stores like Homegoods make it easy to find seasonal candles, handsoaps, even bar napkins, which are handy all over the home. They make great appetizer plates in a pinch and you can leave a small pile of them by your bathroom sink for guests to use - this is one decorative item you know won't go unnoticed!
Food makes for great, colorful decor in the kitchen and dining room. Bowls of colorful fruit are obvious choices- but make sure to choose fruit that is not only hardy but that will also get eaten! A vase of miniature pumpkins looks great in the fall, but I don't know of anyone who actually ends up eating them. A practical and pretty array of colorful squashes is not only more colorful but also more likely to become dinner come the end of November. For the Fourth of July, red, white, and blue frosted baked goods make a huge statement under glass globes in your kitchen, and you won't have trouble finding someone to finish them off at the end of the party. You can also reuse glass mason jars to make a red, white and blue display of individual sangrias for your barbecue. Simply make red and white sangria and then add blue food coloring or blueberries to make the blue jars.
Bring the Outdoors In
Plants make wonderful decor for homes where storage space is at a premium - at the end of the holiday they can simply be tossed or composted. Wreaths of seasonal foliage are obvious for wintertime but work perfectly the rest of the year, too. A plain grapevine or straw wreath form can be bought very cheaply at any craft store and changed dramatically with the addition of fresh flowers and thematic ribbon. You can leave the same wreath hanging all year and just spend a few minutes each season attaching festive flowers, small gourds, ribbons, or even flags. Similarly, these wreaths make a great base for a centerpiece - just decorate as you like and put a few pillar candles in the middle.
Textiles are your Friend
One of the easiest things to store is fabric, so I rely heavily on flags, banners, pillowcases, and handtowels when it comes to holiday decor. A whole season's worth of holiday textiles only take up a couple inches in the tiny chest of drawers I call my 'linen cabinet,' but they make a big statement. Hanging a flag outside your home sets the tone for your gathering and makes people notice your other decor more. The best decorative items, though, are things people interact with and are sure to notice, which is why I love towels and easy-to-change pillowcases. Purchase textiles that are more broadly toned for the season, rather than holiday-specific, so that they will only need changed a few times a year.
While bringing a festive touch to a small space can be a challenge, there is no reason that a lack of storage should stop your home from reflecting the season. A few decorative items fortunately go a long way in a small home, so your guests will be sure to notice and appreciate the theme you have created.