From twinkling trees to candle-lit tables, it’s time to adorn our homes with a touch of glitz. Whether you go all out with the tinsel or want a pared-back minimalist theme, here I reveal how to keep our homes stylish this Christmas.
For many of us, the focus of our Christmas decorating is the tree. A real tree – such as a Douglas Fir – with its pine aroma and lush needles, gives lovers of a traditional aesthetic that authentic feel. Artificial versions, meanwhile, offer a more practical approach, and these days there is a wide choice available. At Christmas Tree World, for instance, you can source realistic, luxury trees, which can come pre-lit or ‘snow-covered’ s well as dramatic black, white and even upside down options.
When it comes to decorating the tree, you can update your scheme by taking note of some of the latest trends from high street retailers. John Lewis, for instance, has revealed seven different key looks for this year, such as ‘Sapphire’, an underwater, oceanic theme, and the all-white ‘Moonstone’, but predicts that its ‘Rainbow’ theme will be the most popular.
Scott Bartle, junior Christmas buyer and partner, reveals more: “The rainbow trend originates from social media platforms, like Instagram and Pinterest, where a colourful post means more likes! We wanted to capture customers’ imaginations by showing them how to create something truly different this Christmas.”
Meanwhile, at Yonder Living, a homewares company focused on craftsmanship, the look is all about the tropical vibe with gold, palm-tree candlesticks, beaded lobster decorations and retro pineapple baubles all the rage.
Lovers of a simple, Nordic look should look to Sue Parkinson’s minimalist range of mango wood stars, antique silver baubles and zinc wreaths. And, adding a sense of fun to the branches, meanwhile, are Cody Foster’s multi-coloured decorations – from blue roller-skates to scarlet ketchup bottles, available at W.A. Green.
Christopher Ray, category manager for Christmas at B&Q, however, predicts that the Dachshund dog will be the must-have adornment this Christmas.“One of the highlights from our new Christmas range is the Sausage Dog Tinsel Pop-up Character,” he says. “It’s one of this year’s hottest trends and a great way to inject some fun into your interior style. It is sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.”
Interior designer Joanna Wood gives her festive style tips
- Top it off: instead of a fairy, which can look a bit twee, go for a tree-topper star which gives a more glamourous finish.
- Hide it away: opt for a willow tree skirt to add a touch of rustic charm and to hide the tree stand and wires.
- Scent the room: If you go for an artificial tree, invest in a spritz or a room candle scented with pine, candied citrus fruits or red berries, to give that authentic touch.
From golden fairy lights to twinkling candles, lighting, of course, is vital to add that all-important ambiance at Christmas-time. Offering a wide range of scented candles in elegant glass vessels, Peppermint Grove Australia has launched a new Christmas range which aims to capture the magic of the season.
Hannah Staples, director and co-owner, says: “We have three new scents, including ‘Sugared Shortbread’ – which has sweet, buttery notes and smells good enough to eat. ‘Crushed pine’, meanwhile, conjures up the aroma of a freshly-cuttree. While ‘Coconut & Lychee’ is a fruity fragrancereminiscent of bright lights, starry nights, sweet treats and tasty feasts!”
A highlight of the festive period is, of course, time spent with family and friends, much of which is centred around the dining table. If it’s your turn to host this year, then serve up your fare on stylish crockery, such as Ottolenghi’s new colourful collection of plates and serving platters and Clarissa Hulse’s Midnight Blue collection – perfect for giving a wintery feel to family get-togethers. Emma Britton’s etched glassware is ideal for raising a toast, while the emerald and scarlet goblets at Nisi Living add a regal theme to parties.
“Most importantly, it all starts with the right table,” says John Sims Hilditch, co-founder, of Neptune. “You can’t beat a solid timber dining table and chairs, or indeed a bench. When you dine on a natural material, it makes you feel connected to the great outdoors and that’s particularly special at Christmas. It helps to create a woodland atmosphere that is intimate yet inviting – perfect for a gathering in the country.”
PEACE AND PETALS
Bloom & Wild’s Sara Gordon on how to incorporate fresh flowers in your scheme
- The mantlepiece: Mantles suit either exaggerated tall arrangements – think: branches – or short ones with stems that tumble off the mantle edge – like ferns.
- Table settings: Once the table is set, pop napkins onto plates and tie them with ribbon or twine with a name tag. For a lovely finishing touch, slide in a flower or piece of foliage, like rosemary.
- Branches above the table: Source a lovely branch from your local florist or garden centre. String each end up quite solidly with fishing wire for strength and fix in place with Command hooks. It’s simple but effective.
The winter period means prolonged time in the home, and a few cosy elements can add all the difference to comfort. Giving the ultimate in snugness is a wood-burner, like those from ACR Stoves. While the addition of a soft carpet will also create an inviting feel.
Natalie Littlehales, Brintons’ consumer marketing manager, agrees: “The texture of wool underfoot makes it a great way to build a comfortable and inviting décor scheme.For many years it has been all about neutral shades and a plain finish, however recently we are seeing a return to patterned styles, such as tartans and plaids, which create a warm, cosy feeling for the Christmas season.”
Meanwhile, DFS’s senior designer Lauren Harris suggests adding a touch of festive luxe by going bold with furniture and accessories: “People tend to opt for neutral furniture and bolder accessories, but by turning this on its head, the end result makes a real statement. Don’t forget about texture; colour adds depth and character to a room, but texture is just as important. If you want a luxurious feel then rich, tactile textures like velvet are a great option.”
If you are looking to redecorate a room, then Valspar Paints suggests that a pastel blue palette is the perfect backdrop to festive decorations: “It wouldn’t be Christmas without holly greens, berry reds and deep chestnut browns, but this year we’re taking a leaf out of Elvis Presley’s book and predicting a blue Christmas,” says the brand. “Skip traditional red shades and paint your room with light, bright pastel blue hues to chase those winter nights away.”
Finally, Jack Hinshelwood, managing director of The Magic Flower Company, which specialises in preserved flowers, suggests how to give the ultimate finishing touch: “Fresh flowers and foliage are a beautiful addition to your home during this time, but don’t always stand the test of time. A great solution is investing in natural flowers that have been preserved to last for many months, or even a year, in the home. Timeless combinations, such as sprigs of eucalyptus and pale white or rich red roses, achieve that festive finish with ease, yet also promise to look beautiful in the home all year round.”
MY TOP TEN CHRISTMAS HOME BUYS
Moonstone Snowball and Pearl Wreath, £30, johnlewis.com
Star Decoration, £45, ellajames.co.uk
Floral Champagne Flute, £9, emmabritton.net
Joy Wreath Pom Pom Cushion, £20, kaleidoscope.co.uk
Talisker Decanter Pendant Light, £34.99, my-furniture.com
Red Magic Christmas Tree, £50, nisiliving.co.uk
Aged Smoke and Black Round Danoa Bauble, from £16.95, sue-parkinson.com
Brass Palm Spoon, £8, yonderliving.com
Cody Foster Lips Decoration, £12, wagreen.co.uk
White and gold Celestial plate, £12.50, saramiller.london
This article is also published in the December 2018 issue of The Cambridge Edition Magazine