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Limit your decorations to a few statement pieces.
As tempting as it may be to clear off every surface, lay down some garland, and arrange kitschy figurines...not this year. Instead, select a few statement pieces — wooden reindeer or what have you — in styles that feel at home with your regular decor. Mix ‘em in as if they were there all along.
Rely on metallics.
If your apartment color scheme doesn't happen to have commonalities with your holiday's, up the festive quotient by playing up the metallics and focusing on the details. No, you won't replace your dishes, but sure, you could find a gilded tray and shimmery napkins to tie 'em in.
Layer on texture — the cozier, the better.
Ugly sweaters are to fashion as holiday throw pillows are to home decor. Do to your furniture as you would your OOTD, and layer up the chunky knits and flannels to make it feel cozy and wintry. You can even cover pillows with scarves you already have.
Wrap presents earlier (maybe wrap a few non-presents).
An incentive to get your shopping done early this year: Bunches of beautifully wrapped presents piled in the open get everyone in the spirit but also seem totally casual. While the gift wrap’s out, cover a few catch-all boxes or books you keep on display (grade-school-textbook style), too.
Bring in some greenery.
Boxwood wreaths and topiaries have a modern look that reads “holiday” even when you forgo the bows. Also take advantage of the houseplants you already have, sprucing them up with the endless supplies in the craft-store holiday aisle, from acorns to colorful jingle bells.