10 Ways to Christmas-out your Dorm or Apartment

By Maggie Martin on December 5, 2013

This is my first Christmas season with my two roommates and I in our apartment this year and we finally buckled down and decorated to the musical stylings of the ever-talented Jingle Cats and Josh Groban (the combo worked for us, don’t worry). While we decorated I realized that I was borrowing some of the techniques and DIY ideas I’ve found from Pinterest over the years and wanted to share ten easy ways to deck out your dorm or apartment for the holidays.

#1 Christmas Lights 

While we keep our lights up year round, we decided to modify this idea from Pinterest to make it more festive. We hung ornaments from the Christmas lights lining the entire family room to make for an incredibly festive look!

Photo Credit: thedecorista.tumblr.com

#2 Aroma 

While we love candles, nothing beats the smell of a stove-top homemade poutpourri. All you have to do to achieve the smell of Christmas in your apartment is simmer cranberries, sliced oranges, and cinnamon sticks in a small pot for however long it takes to get your desired smell. Here are the full instructions.

Photo Credit: iheartnaptime.net

#3 Adorable DIY Containers 

Thanks to Missglamorazzi on YouTube for this idea. All you need is an old candle, white paint, puffy paint, and some glitter to decorate this snowflake container however you like. This is a great idea for any season—you could paint it any color you would like. Here is the full video with instructions:


#4 Christmas Pandora Station 

Not only will you be excited to sing along with your roommates for the month of December, but you will also discover awesome contemporary covers of your favorite Christmas tunes that you probably will be obsessed with (hello, Sleeping At Last Christmas album!)

Photo Credit: pandora.com

#5 Book-mas Tree 

If you don’t have a tree at your disposal, I’m sure you have many books lying around. Why not make a Christmas tree out of books? It’s great for book lovers and people who still want a tree that may not have brought one to college with them.

Photo Credit: themarysue.com

#6 Cookies 

For those of you living in dorm rooms without an oven, and who are craving cookies for Christmas, have no fear! Cookies in a cup are actually pretty delicious and can be made in the microwave. The full recipe and instructions can be found here.

Photo Credit: number-2-pencil.com

#7 Mint DIY Serving Trays 

If you have a party to go to, what cuter way to bring your delicious baked goods than with a mint serving tray? It’s so easy to make—I have a party this weekend that I am making one for. All you have to do is arrange the mints however you would like either on wax paper or a cookie sheet and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 mins. Full instructions here.

Photo Credit: tuttobellablog.com

#8 Homemade artwork

In our apartment we encourage creativity. That’s why we’re drawing our own holiday pictures (with some awesome markers and colored pencils!) We have a rule that each person who enters or apartment must draw us a holiday themed picture to hang on our picture wall. It’s a fun way to remember who all came to your place and decoration built in one.

Photo Credit: gomakeme.com

#9 ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas 

ABC Family is the mother of all Christmas movies this month and we have the schedule taped to the entertainment center. For real. If I’m not watching 25 Days of Christmas every night I’m probably unhappy. Here’s the schedule.

Photo Credit: abcfamily.com

#10 Take a Roommate Christmas Card 

While you will want to document all of your adventures this year, the roomie Christmas card is something you can look back on fondly forever. Whether it’s goofy or serious, sit down and take a photo, you won’t regret it.

Photo Credit: Elin Tegels


Photo Credit: Elin Tegels

I am a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication, obsessed with all things arts and culture. If I'm not reading a book or watching reruns of Parks and Rec, I can be found playing at the Hawkeye Marching Band field.

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