Christmas is just around the corner, and by now you’re definitely thinking about how to spruce up your mobile home in time for holiday guests. But in the small footprint that many mobile homes offer, it probably sounds a little impossible. An elegant Christmas? How? It may surprise you, but we believe there is plenty of “scope for imagination” (as Anne of Green Gables would say) even in the small spaces. To achieve that elegant look you so desire, it’s going to take plenty of imagination. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or even expensive!
With that in mind, we bring you the complete guide to an elegant Christmas. This guide is specifically tailored to a mobile home owner’s unique situation. We’ll talk about everything from decor to dining and how you can nail the elegant effect you want. Let’s dig in.
What do we mean by “elegant Christmas”?
Elegance is, to a point, in the eye of the beholder. What says “elegant” to one may simply be flashy and over-the-top to another. Try to picture your idea of elegance. Elegance often brings to mind grand, six-foot Christmas trees and millions of twinkling lights. Perhaps an over-abundance of things decorating every surface possible. And, true, it often means expensive-looking.
But elegance should really be only this: simple and tasteful. Yet even then, styles vary widely. One person may translate elegance as buying everything from a store, making sure there’s plenty of red and green. Another may add touches of rustic wood, hand-made wreaths, and plenty of DIY. Both versions are totally fine. And both can look equally elegant if handled carefully.
Decor: taming the beast
If you’re a minimalist, raise your hand. Congratulations! You probably won’t have a hard time with this part. For those of us who don’t share the virtue, here are some tips: don’t feel like you need to haul out the entirety of your decor collection. Elegance isn’t going to happen if you stuff every corner and surface with festive items. You aren’t going to achieve elegance if Christmas dinner is a gymnastics match because the table is so full of pretty things that no one can pass the butter.
If you need to keep some back, do it! It needs to be tasteful, remember. That’s the number one key to elegance. It’s easy to over-decorate, especially in a mobile home. But if you’re not a minimalist, we aren’t saying you have to change that. Maximalism is on the rise today. People find all sorts of ways to use an abundance of decor and still make it look good. Elegance is the difference between clutter and taste.
And, if we’re honest, “minimalism” doesn’t come to mind when one thinks of elegance. But that doesn’t mean minimalism isn’t elegant. That’s why we’re here: to help you find the balance.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about practical ways you can apply the principles of elegant decorating.
The Christmas tree
Arguably the most important part, right? Pine trees are the most elegant trees in the world, so it’s an essential part of the decor. Even if your not a fan of the “outdoorsy elegant” look, we’re guessing this is the exception.
To make sure your tree is sufficiently elegant, it may be a good idea to buy a real tree. A real tree is naturally full and luxurious. If that isn’t your thing, however, you might consider buying a pre-lit tree. Since pre-lit trees are made in such a way that you don’t have to stick every individual branch in and string the lights, they are fuller and more elegant. No one wants a scraggly tree for an elegant Christmas.
But what about that six-foot tree we mentioned before? Isn’t that more elegant than the small (but cute) tree you own? No, not at all. Ornaments can transform any tree. Instead of a hodge-podge of ornaments saved from every Christmas since you were five, choose a theme.
Do you have a lot of red ornaments? That will be the main color. Put in some gold, whether in the form of ornaments are a festive garland. This method will work for any color. Just make sure to narrow the color scheme down to not more than three colors. Less is more! Don’t be afraid to draw attention to your prettiest ornaments by eliminating the distracting ones. Remember to stick with a theme – perhaps bulbs only, or all snowflakes-and-candy-canes, or just cute woodland creatures.
The tree skirt
In a mobile home, it’s probably going to be pretty hard to fit a large, luxurious tree skirt, right? Good thing that’s not a necessity! Check out this gallery on HGTV.com. To maximize the space they have, these mobile home owner’s placed their trees in a box or basket, tucking a pretty blanket around the stem. No need for a sprawling tree skirt! Donna at Funky Junk Interiors has found ways to forgo skirts altogether. She once placed a tree on an old-fashioned sled instead!
Lights aren’t just for the tree! There are many other ways to incorporate lights, especially in small spaces. To make sure you’re complying with the rules of elegance, though, keep a few things in mind. There should be an elegance to the way you decorate with lights. Saw that coming, didn’t you? But it’s true. Make sure it isn’t overwhelming. If your tree is right next to the fireplace, you may want to skip covering the fireplace in lights and opt for candles instead.
Put lights and garlands around the doorways, especially the front door. Guests will immediately get the impression of elegance and grandeur if they walk through a festive doorway first thing. Put lights in jars, and get a string of mini fairy lights to brighten up the table.
Generally speaking, you’re going to want to choose warm, yellow-colored lights to make sure you achieve that touch of elegance. Stay away from colored and white lights, as a general rule. Although, if you’re feeling brave and you think you can pull it off, then go for it! There isn’t a strict set of rules.
Garlands and wreaths
As we talked about above, garlands can add a sense of elegance if you hang them around doorways. But don’t forget the windows, and most importantly, the fireplace. You may be wondering how big or small you should go with garlands. Large, chunky garlands are a great choice. The bigger, the better to pull off an elegant look. Garlands may be the only chance you have to go big in the space restrictions of a mobile home. However, this can conflict with the tree, so you may want to go extra small on the fireplace and have one doorway decorated with a big, flowing garland. Or don’t use pine garlands as all! Pom-pom garlands are just as elegant. Other kinds of branches are pretty too, such as magnolia and olive branches.
Wreaths are even easier. Unless you’re hanging them in a window (in which case they can be as large as space allows) it’s probably better to get three or four smaller ones to hang around the house. And remember, wreaths don’t need to be pine! If you have too much pine might start looking a little boring and mundane. Boxwood wreaths are always a lovely choice, or a mini berry wreath might look cute and classy hung inside a picture frame.
The nice thing about wreaths is how versatile they are. Besides hanging them in windows or above the fireplace, there’s the vent hood above the stove, the backs of chairs, and even in a picture frame. Those are all fair game. And while you’re at it, the doors and cupboards could use some festiveness too!
Decorating the outside
Not forgetting the all-important curb appeal! Not only are you giving yourself and your guests a cheery home to drive up to, but passersby will appreciate it too. If you’re dead-set on having that six-foot-tall tree, why not put it outside where there’s room and everyone can enjoy it?
The front steps are a good place to start. Put a couple of mini trees out there, hang bells on the door, and maybe some giant lanterns. One of our favorites is hanging over-sized ornaments on the porch ceiling.
Just be sure to stay away from blow-up Santas and light-up reindeer. They don’t fit with the elegant look you’re going for inside, and you want to have a nice flow from outside to indoors. Be consistent! If you want reindeer, something like this may be just the ticket.
The dining room
Christmas dinner, Christmas brunch, Christmas parties! They all happen in the dining room. It’s important that you give a significant amount of attention to this room. Whether it be the decor or what you’re going to be serving your family and friends, you need a game plan. And, as always, we’ve got the tips you need to make it happen.
That table is important. No one’s arguing that. But there are ways you can make it even more festive. Step back and survey the room. Could you possibly add a small tree? Do you have the room to add a sideboard to hold extra refreshments and decor? Decorate the chandelier. Tie ribbons on the chairs, or hang small wreaths on them. Use a long table runner, one that reaches the floor. If your having a small crowd and don’t need the chairs at the head and foot of the table, remove them and put a long garland in the middle on the table and let it hang down the sides.
Don’t overcrowd the table. If there is space for decorating in other parts of the room, choose that over an elaborate centerpiece. Your centerpiece can be as simple as a box with candles in it and still be elegant. The plates are where you can really have fun.
Don’t worry if your plates, cups, and silverware don’t match. If they do that’s great, but it’s not the most important thing in the world. A mismatched table tastefully decorated can have a charm and elegance all it’s own. Be sure to buy cloth napkins, because nothing is quite as elegant as that! Matching placemats and napkins can bring a table together and make it look uniform, even if it’s actually not. Consider putting a bit of hand-picked pine bough on every plate, or in between two plates.
Serve your guests with simple food that tastes great. Don’t try to go all out. Everyone loves ham or turkey, so serve either of those or something equally simple. Then add mashed potatoes, gravy, heirloom carrots (since we’re trying to go elegant, here!) and cranberry sauce.
Dessert should also be simple; think sugar cookies instead of pastries. If you want one impressive thing on the table, let it be the snacks. This Festive Antipasto Skewers Christmas Wreath is elegant and fun, especially for the kids! Tear-and-share buns in the shape of a Christmas tree? Perfect!
So many ideas, so little time…
Before we wrap this up, there are a few more ideas we want to let you in on:
- Create a hot cocoa bar.
- Make it smell like Christmas! Mull some spices on the stove or spray or diffuse festive essential oils.
- Hang up wall decor, like signs.
- Hang ornaments in the windows.
- Change out your rugs for holiday-appropriate ones.
- Get a Christmas-y doormat.
- Stockings aren’t just for the fireplace!
- And most importantly, be merry and bright.
Have a merry (and elegant) Christmas!
No matter the size or shape, an elegant Christmas is undeniably a merry one. We hope you’ve enjoyed this little jaunt of ours and are ready to create the elegant Christmas you want even in the limited space you have. If you need more ideas, go and check out these articles: How To Decorate Small Spaces For The Holidays and Transform Your Mobile Home Dining Room For The Holidays.