Tips to Celebrate When You’re Short on Square Feet

My first place was 400 square feet and I loved it. Ten years later, married with a child, I’ve upgraded to a voluminous 742 square feet. You can’t call my place a tiny home (those are under 500 square feet) but, it’s less than half the size of the average American house. And I still love it!


I’ve found that a little home allows me to live large. The simplicity leaves more room for creative pursuits. To restructure that old adage, “The less things you own, the less things own you.”    

When you live like this, you find that your approach to the holiday season changes. Instead of worrying about obligations and to-do lists, you refocus on the simple things that matter most to you. 

How’s that for an #autumnmood?

Whether you live in a small house by choice or chance, you can find ways to pack in some holiday spirit. 

Idea 1: Rotate and pack seasonal items. Your home will feel fresh with the new white spaces.

Before you dig out the holiday decorations, find some things to put away. Each season requires different tools, gear and clothes. While you want flip flops and a yard sprinkler in reach during the summer, take some time this fall to sub them out for a raincoat and rake. 

As you do your fall walk-through, pick up anything that wandered out during the warm weather. 

Tiny Tip: Get everyone in the household involved by assigning rooms. Send them off to different spaces to fill a laundry basket with anything that needs to be packed away for the winter.

Idea 2: Choose high-impact, low-clutter decor. With some creative substitutes, you can tailor holiday mainstays to fit your place.

Flip through any home magazine and you’ll find maximal designs for McMansions. If you’re short on space, you’ll need to rethink  your favorite ideas. 

For example, piles of plush pillows and complicated tablescapes can cramp a little living room. But, swapping out your wall art with cozy, winter images won’t take up much space. 

Tiny Tip: Take a photo of your room to evaluate the design. It can help you see messy areas with fresh eyes.

Idea 3: Embrace Lagom. It’s the new Hygge.

If you were hot for Hygge, you’ll love Lagom. The Swedish word translates to “just the right amount.” Basically, the philosophy prioritizes balance in all areas of life. 

When you’re living in a tiny home, those are #wordstoliveby. So, make the most of the fact that less square footage means less maintenance and cleaning. With less chores, you get more time to work through your fall bucket list.

Tiny Tip: Find a pretty way to work this word into your life. While you don’t need to tattoo it on your wrist, it would make an excellent device background. 

Idea 4: Sub brunch for dinner. It’s easier to host this small plates meal when your home is “standing room only.”

You can entertain in a little home. Just substitute a sit-down dinner with a brilliant brunch. Self-serve with dessert plates and let your guests wander as they eat.

My favorite brunch foods are muffins and mini quiches. You have a savory and a sweet choice. Plus, they’re easy to make ahead.

You’ll find that a standing brunch creates a fun energy. It’s relaxed, playful and social.

Tiny Tip: Divide up your food and drinks into a few small stations around the space. Then, people won’t crowd one area.

Idea 5: Meet up! When you start to go stir crazy, check your bucket list of places you always wanted to visit.

When chilly weather drives you inside, find a way to get out. Tight spaces can create a bit of cabin fever. However, you can break up the days by playing tourist in your own town.

For inspiration, I always ask longtime locals about their annual traditions. If a venue is worth a repeat visit, I definitely want to try it.

Tiny Tip: Experiences make great substitutes for physical gifts. Plan ahead for Christmas by asking people to fund your mini adventures as a gift.

If you find yourself in a little home for the holidays, enjoy the chance to focus on the spirit of the season. With less homekeeping, you can put your energy into the moments that matter most. From that first pumpkin spice latte to your last glass of eggnog, you’ll be enjoying the simple life in your small space.