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Small space style

By JOANN PETASCHNICK

For many, a Christmas tree represents some of the fondest memories of the holiday season.

A fresh-trimmed tree creates a warm and homey ambiance, but one that might not be possible if you live in a cozy apartment or condominium. That doesn’t mean you have to forgo holiday decorating, however.

"We have a lot of customers who live in apartments or condominiums who want to bring some seasonal touches into their homes," says Emily Neubauer, owner of Belle Fiori, a full-service florist on Milwaukee’s East Side. "It is possible to capture a festive feeling even without a traditional tree."

Many people choose a tabletop artificial tree, but others opt for small live trees, says Neubauer. "Some of our customers enjoy the small Norfolk Island Pines. They can be decorated with miniature ornaments of whatever type you like," she says.

It is possible to find small live or artificial trees at florists, garden centers or even stores like Target. And it makes sense to match the scale of the ornament to the size of the tree. Smaller glass bulbs, mini lights, colorful ribbons and even pine cones that won’t weigh down the more delicate branches are decorating ideas that are widely available.

If a tree isn’t really your cup of tea, consider a sparkling holiday centerpiece, such as a lovely glass bowl brimming with colored ornaments or an urn filled with evergreen boughs or decorative branches.

"We often use cut evergreen branches, which have that wonderful fragrance. These can be decorated with lights or ornaments," Neubauer notes. "But a tall, narrow spray of branches covered in silver metallic really brings in the winter season nicely. The silver tones can cross over different religions and they can last throughout the winter season."

Red and green are the traditional colors of Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you must stick to that scheme.

In fact, this season’s holiday color palette has moved in an entirely new direction, Neubauer says. "Chocolate brown is extremely powerful this year, mixed with turquoise or chartreuse green," she says. "That might be a little too contemporary for some people, so for a more traditional look, you can mix the brown with burgundy and gold tones. Those colors can be very comforting and they really bring home the holidays."