Christmas is a divisive time in the world of interior design. It’s the one month in the calendar where style can go out of the window, and tacky themed decorations reign. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We have asked top interior designers from around the world to share their Christmas design tips to allow your decorations to be the envy of the community this season.
1. Reflect your style
“I love Christmas and I love dressing my home for the festive season,” Judith Todd fromHomestyle 4 U says. For me it’s all part of getting in the mood along with baking and choosing Christmas presents. There are lots of themes to choose from so go for whatever suits you and your home whether it’s traditional, contemporary, sparkly, scandi or a mixture! I personally like to keep it restrained and simple, but if you like to throw everything at it that’s perfectly fine. There are elements that are common to whatever your scheme – I would include a wreath or some decoration for the front door, a garland for a mantelpiece or staircase, lanterns or fairy lights, and of course a tree hung with a mix of decorations.”
2. Warm as well as stylish
“Over the festive period, layer-up your interiors to add a touch of luxury to keep you cosy and snug. Use faux fur or chunky knit throws for a real Scandinavian look and accessorise with glass or something with a bit of sparkle,” suggests Samantha Morphew of Morph Designs.
3. Be on-trend
Eleri Lloyd, Senior Interior Designer at Landmass London, has identified a key trend of the 2015 festive season. “We think the trendy Scandinavian neutral colour schemes with woven, cosy and natural materials create an instantly recognisable Christmas effect.”
Suzy Maas at The Final Touch says that indoor plants and smells will be popular. “Bring the outside in with lots of evergreens and foliage. Also use wonderful Christmassy fragrances such as bunches of eucalyptus, dried herbs such as lavender and dried oranges.”
4. A warm welcome
Friends and family will come and go from your home over Christmas and New Year, so make sure you welcome them accordingly. “’First impression counts’ and nothing says more about you than your front door,” Elisa Fanella of ElNi Interiors points out.
“Whether is fir, willow, mistletoe, a mix of festive accessories combined creatively, make sure you spruce up your front door to welcome your guests in style.”
5. Tree decorating tips
Helen from Elle Interiors has some advice for creating the perfect tree. “First of all, it’s all about the shape. If you start with a beautifully proportioned full tree it will look amazing when finished, but if your tree is sparse you’re going to have to work twice as hard to decorate it. Then, add the lights. Intertwine lights from bottom to top. 300 lights will look pretty, while 500 creates a more dramatic effect.
“Choose a theme next. My favourite combinations come in twos, such as black and gold. Showcase your favourite decorations in prime position first then hang larger items evenly around the tree then fill in with medium & smaller items. Finish dressing the tree by adding speciality decorations such as large clip on flowers and add a tree topper.”
6. Christmas memories on display
Louise Bird of Trindade and Bird Interiors is a particular specialist in Christmas design as she had a festive wedding. “Each year we celebrate and decorate our home with all the beautiful decorations that originally decked the halls of our ceremony,” she explains.
“As we live in a woodland setting, our Christmas theme is one of natural hues, woody textures and of course, a real tree to fill our home with the glorious scent of pine. Real trees are of course each unique and vary wildly in shape so we bulk out in between the gaps of the branches with floral stem arrangements and decorative sprays. We supplement tinsel for delicate feather boas on our tree to typify layers of soft white snow on the branches. Our stag emerges from the tree as if in the wild and creates a wonderful point of visual interest for the display. And of course lots (and lots) of lights, we have small round lights much like little berries to add the sparkle.”
7. Reflect permanent decor
Louise Bird of Trindade and Bird Interiors says: “As interior designers, our top tip for decorating your own home this festive season is to consider and work in harmony with the scheme of your permanent décor, that way your decorations will simply melt with your interior to great effect and your home will look as though it was designed for Christmas.”
8. Quality over quantity
“To achieve a quality finish to your Christmas decorations, stick to a colour theme for decorations throughout the house. Go for fewer high quality and handmade items rather than overloading with cheaper decorations,” advises Eleri Lloyd, Senior Interior Designer atLandmass London.
To make your house Christmassy without bordering on tacky, Suzy Maas at The Final Touchsays: “Try not to introduce too many colours. Stick to two at a time, such as red and green, or gold and silvers. However it is Christmas, so if you want to go overboard you are allowed to just this once. It’s the perfect time to get it out of your system.”
9. Table design
Christmas dinner is the highlight of the entire festive calendar for many, so it’s important to pay attention to the dining room. “Some Christmas spirit can really lift a dinner table’s look so pick a colour theme, borrow some ornaments from your tree and create a festive table this year,” advises Eleri Lloyd, Senior Interior Designer at Landmass London.
10. Copper Wonderland
Copper metallics have been very popular this year, so ElNi Interiors advise bringing the trend into your Christmas decorations as well. “Celebrate the festive season in glittering Deco style. Mix sparkle and shining metallics with natural elements and lots of fresh foliage to achieve a rustic and glam charm,” suggests Nicky Dyer of ElNi Interiors.
11. Theme the tree
“When it comes to decorating the tree, make sure you apply the same rules as when decorating your interiors – choose a feature colour and stick with it,” Samantha Morphew ofMorph Designs recommends. “By picking out complimentary Christmas decorations to that of your room scheme, you are creating a sophisticated and festive feel that will wow all of your guests.”
12. Light more than just the tree
“Lights will always illuminate your Christmas tree, but LED string lights can illuminate objects and decorative pieces in new ways,” says Eleri Lloyd, Senior Interior Designer atLandmass London. Fairy lights in large glass vases can add a touch of atmospheric light to the living room.
13. Christmas Garland
Elle Interiors place a lot of importance on creating a beautiful festive garland wrapped around the bannister. “The Christmas Garland is without a doubt up there with the Christmas tree as the key focal point of the hall when entering your home during the festive season.
“Choose a quality garland which is full and proportioned with the bannister size as too small will look sparse and unfinished. Intertwine lights from the bottom to top in circular pattern, and choose a theme and colour combination. Red and green is rich in colour and still works perfectly well for a traditional theme. Tie gold ferns and secure baubles or fruit decorations onto the garland & intertwine ribbon through the garland for depth. Finish by attaching a huge statement bow from the post, leaving enough ribbon to reach the floor for a full luxurious look.”
14. Mix modern and classic
“Christmas is the perfect time of the year for your home to become not only a venue for entertaining friends and family but also a creative space to transform with beautiful and stylish decorations,” said Elisa Fanella of ElNi Interiors.
“Don’t be afraid to mix traditional and modern to give a contemporary twist to any room,” she advises. “Red, a very traditional Christmas colour of Xmas has been used to dress this English country cottage. The red and white festive ‘combo’ decorations complement beautifully the on-trend interiors and eclectic artwork.”
Judith Todd from Homestyle 4 U says: “I think we all like a bit of sparkle at Christmas and it doesn’t have to be blingy – sparkle can be very subtle and create a sense of luxury. Combine with textures such as fur and velvet to give that cosy and upmarket feel.”
If that style isn’t for you, Judith has another option. “If you prefer a more rustic look, redolent of a highland hideaway, country cottage or ski lodge then the key is natural elements both in the items chosen and the furnishings. Think of cold evenings curled up in front of the fire for inspiration, so use woollen throws and cushions, soft lighting and pieces inspired by the outdoors.
“Don’t be too focused on a scheme. The point about decorating for Christmas is that it’s all about you and your family and I don’t think it should be too polished. Choose the things you like and which will be special to you rather than aiming for a show home look.
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