Christmas decorations fill homes at this time of year, though often interior design style is sacrificed in favor of being festive. Top interior designers argue that decorations can enter the home in harmony with the existing style. We asked them to share their top tips to make your home on trend – as well as festive – this Christmas.
1. Fresh and dried flowers
Interior designer Sarah Jane Neilsen enjoys bringing nature into her home at Christmas – in more ways that the Christmas tree.
“We are lucky enough to have an abundance of dried hydrangea heads in our garden with great colour, so I pick them, hang them and keep them dried throughout the year. We add silver/blue decor to the blue heads, sparkly bobbles with silver glitter and weave silver strands through the leaves, all then placed in a big glass bowl to make a Yuletide decorative statement, which is more special as it’s sourced from our very own garden. Sometimes you don’t need to look too far to find inspiration.
“At this time of year, we snatch the gorgeous red leaves of autumnal trees. In our house, we place these next to the fireplace and they look excellent set in contrast with our Bullrush by Morris accent wall. I love to pile up seasonal pomegranates and mandarins in separate stacks to add extra richness and colour. I also add mixed nuts and chestnuts in wooden bowls by the lounge fireplace. These do get nibbled and deplete throughout the festive season through!”
2. Be generous with baubles
““More” is my favourite way to go,” says Richard Bond from Jamie Hempsall Interiors. “A tree groaning with decorations is great to encounter and the more eclectic, the merrier. Buying a few new decorations every year allows you to build up a bank of memories that can be recalled as you rediscover and rehang your decorations.”
Interior Designer Lauren Matthews agrees and has tips for the best baubles. “Mix up natural accessories with matt and shiny baubles for added interest. A Christmas tree is brought to life with fairy lights which will reflect beautifully in the shiny decorations. Traditional gold bows and stars add a sense of nostalgia which optimise the traditional look. Be brave, be bold, and layer up the colours and finishes. Boxes of baubles can be bought for next to nothing, and will last for a number of years.
3. Festive Peacock
“The festive peacock look has certainly made an appearance this year with feathers encased in glass for the tree and a wreath that certainly shakes a tail feather.
“The colours within the peacock feather complement green, blue or even neutral room schemes. Some say that a peacock feather is unlucky in the home but we certainly embrace this look. This is the one month where sparkle, fairy lights and jazz can be layered up and your home be wrapped with love.”
4. Have yourself a colourful Christmas
The festive season doesn’t have to restrict your colour palette to red and green. Anna Ward from Furnished by Anna has some ideas.
“Bright paper and honeycomb decorations are really on trend for a modern and colourful Christmas. Strung up in clusters hanging from the ceiling, or trailing down the banister, these are a great way of adding bursts of colour and texture to your space. Personally, I love a huge mix of colours for Christmas with neon and bright pops of colours working with beautiful white fairy lights twinkling away. I also think a Christmas tree is the best way to show off your Christmas spirit. Just go for it, have some fun and make it yours.”
5. Choose your style
To give your interiors a more cohesive look, Jane Lanyon from JH Interiors has some tips. “Pick a style and stick to it – don’t just buy everything. The scheme could be gregariously festive or restful simply by use of different colour combinations. Choose something that complements your house and use plain colours rather than lots of patterns.
“My favourite colour schemes for Christmas include navy and copper, which is very stylish and unusual, and Nordic, which is silver, grey and white.”
6. Top tree tips
When it comes to real versus artificial trees, there is always a debate. Richard Bond from Jamie Hempsall says it all comes down to personal convenience.
“A real tree gives that glorious pine fragrance throughout the house, but means more maintenance. Ensure your tree stand allows you to water it (to help keep needles intact) and keep an access route clear beneath the tree so this can be undertaken regularly. Trim ill-fitting branches to help perfect your shape.
“Lay decorations out on trays and sort into sizes. Begin by hanging larger decorations at the bottom, working your way up to the top reducing the size of decorations in correlation to the length of the branches. This will ensure that you have a balanced looking tree.”
7. On trend: Scandi and metallic
Samantha Morphew from Morph Interiors has two top colour trends for the season.
“Metallics in interiors have been huge this year and copper has moved over for the rose gold palette to makes its debut. Shades of gold and copper look wonderful together and so warm against the deep green of a Christmas tree.
“The more adventurous are moving away from the traditional tree and leaning more towards a minimal Scandi look. This can be a very stylish look for the home, just remember keep bold and striking with decorations as you do not want to look Bah Humbug!”
8. Personal table memories
Christmas dinner is always a highlight of the 25th, so don’t forget about your table design.
“For the table, we also like to add those personal touches that evoke special memories,” explains interior designer Sarah Jane Neilsen. “Our own at-home favourite is to use crocheted Danish hearts which we hang from a large ornate tree root that I once found on a beach. We use long-stemmed heads for table decor and trail ivy and coloured small baubles for a table centre-piece.
“White candles in glass holders stand tall keeping watch over the berry-laden branches, twigs or holly which we drape over the table. Sometimes we will add a white or red central runner and we love white china with crisp white napkins. All white decor is an all-time classic and just works effortlessly whatever the room scheme.”
9. Natural and traditional
“Gone are the days of decorating our Christmas tree with cheap tinsel and adorning our ceilings with garish foil decorations,” says interior designer Lauren Matthews. “The high street is now full of stylishly evocative decorations that we don’t need to spend a fortune in creating a festive home.
“My recommendation particularly with a neutral décor, would always be to stick with traditional colours. Think red, gold, alpine green and natural elements such as fir cones, holly, cinnamon sticks, dried fruits such as orange slices, mistletoe and raffia.
“Introducing fresh and dried produce can instantly create inviting, festive scents to your home. The evocative aroma evokes memories of yesteryear which enhances the festive spirit.”
10. Christmas corner
Rather than simply putting up a tree, Anna Ward from Furnished by Anna recommends creating a Christmas corner to create a focal point.
“When decorating, think about the whole space as a frame, and as if you were taking a picture of it. To stop everything looking too over the top, think about key focal points and making these focal points count. Instead of having it stand alone, integrate your Christmas tree in to the corner of the room by decorating the wall behind it and the ceiling above as well as the tree to make a stunning Christmas corner and a real focal point of your celebrations.
“Likewise, if you are decorating the bannister of a staircase, leave the walls bare so that the ones on the stairs really stand out. And proportion is key. Decorations need to work for the space they are in just as a sofa or chair needs to be in proportion for the room’s decor too.”
11. Work on the wreath
In all the excitement about the tree, don’t forget to think about a Christmas wreath as well, warns Samantha Morphew from Morph Designs.
“Why not match your Christmas wreath colours to your wall colour palette,” she suggests. “Overload the wreath with sparkle and dazzle to create a luxurious accessory for your front door. Think of colours that will pop against your door colour and even add texture through different surfaces such as matt and shiny. Finishing touches of a lavish silk ribbon bow will showcase any wreath and be the talking point with passers-by.”
12. Think about the future
Decorations don’t necessarily need to come out once per year. Anna Ward from Furnished by Anna has some ideas.
“Decorations aren't just for Christmas. Furry throws can be added to sofas to bring tonnes of snuggliness that’s perfect when hunkering down to watch a Christmas movie and you can use disco balls, marquee lights, fairy lights as part of your Christmas decorations and then move them to a decorate bookshelves once Christmas is over.”
Emma Barber from EB Interiors has three favourite designs when it comes to Christmas. Which is your favourite?
“As soon as the words ‘classic Christmas’ pop up, the immediate colour that comes to mind is red. The great thing with this theme is that you can go either modern or traditional with it as in the shops there is so much selection for every taste and style.
• This look screams cosiness so use a warm, natural, soft colour palette to act as the simple backdrop for the beautiful berry red.
• Why not add a little tartan or tweed for an extra bit of interest? Try to keep to a soft finish to compliment rather than clash.
• If you prefer a more ‘modern’/clean look (rather than the cottage cosy look), why not go Scandinavian. Red and white are so crisp and clean, and give an instant Christmas look. Have fun and combine lots of patterns together, whether stripes, chevrons, stars, hearts, snowflakes or reindeers.
• How about using brown paper to wrap your presents? I’ve done this so many times and it’s kind on your pocket and looks fantastic under the tree. Tie them up with a selection of red and white string, and use brown packaging labels. You could even add berries, foliage, and small red baubles to the wrapping to add an even more personal touch.
• Why not achieve maximum impact with a wreath made up of berries and twigs? There are so many around on the high street, but if you’re feeling creative why not make your own. Snip some boughs from your tree to add foliage for a more traditional look.
“This look is simple, elegant and easily achieved after a winter walk and forest forage. I think the theme works best amongst a simple white back drop - think white Christmas. The great thing with this look is the it doesn't look out of place in January.
• You can collect most the look after a wonderful walk round a local park, forest or woods. Little hands love being involved, and are a great help when dragging an abundance of twigs back with you, something that seems to have become a family tradition in my house. Decorate with white spray paint, white fairy lights or even keep it natural, they will look beautiful and last forever.
• With all these twigs collected, why not get really creative and make your own decorations; stars are particularly easy. You can stick the twigs together with a glue gun and hang with natural coloured string from doors, fireplaces and windows.
• Eucalyptus is beautiful to use within this theme. It costs around under £1.50 per stem from a florist and you don't need too many of them.
• At Christmas I have always done little presents for the table, and I wrap them up with brown paper and string to go with my natural theme. It’s affordable and adds real impact to presents. I added sprigs of rosemary to each present and offcuts from my Christmas tree to each place setting.
• If you want to add a little something, and keep the rustic look, why not use dried orange slices and cloves. Thread natural string through them and add them to your twigs and foliage. And the best bit is they smell wonderful.
• The tree should be kept traditional; why not keep it simple and just flood it with white lights. If you want to dress it a little more keep to white decorations - less is more.
“We all love a bit of sparkle. Metallics have really made a confident appearance this year in many homes so why not go for it at Christmas? You can do this look in a couple of different ways - light and pretty or dark and glam. Both look stylish.
• Copper, gold, silver, bronze - shinny, sparkly or matt - they all look amazing together so have some fun.
• If you want to achieve a lighter elegant look why not add some fluffy baubles or even for a hint of colour add some pastel pieces.
• As this is a pretty modern look, why not go have some fun with a really stylised wreath? Use wire to create your own shape, then add lights and a lot of spray paint.
• When it comes to a tree, stay away from traditional to really create a centre piece to your room. Why not try a white tree for that soft, light elegant touch? Or why not go all the way and have a metallic finish tree? I would say all these options look best with white light and an abundance of metallic decorations.
• If your feeling really creative, why not create your own Christmas art work with some glitter and masking tape? Mask out the wording/shape of choice, spray the rest of the board with spray mount, pour glitter all over and leave to dry. Once dry, tip the board on its side to remove excess glitter then very carefully peel the masking tape away.
• If you want to add a bit of fun to your metallic look what not add some black and white accessories such as ribbon, serviettes, or wrapping paper. It’s art deco meets Christmas!
Thank you to all the interior designers who have inspired us with their Christmas tips and ideas. Find out more about the designers featured by clicking these links:
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