Designer trees for a cool Yule

It's no good just getting out last year's decorations, you know. Below, three style-brokers theme their firs for James Sherwood

Stephen Woodhams, floral and garden designer: "I thought it was time to get away from what I'd call the chintz brigade Christmas decoration. Festive garlands, fussy bows and tinsel are all a definite no. The trad school of thought plays on nostalgia and I wanted a much cleaner, modern feel.

"So, I've taken a conventional Christmas tree, sprayed it with a base coat of silver then used an ice-blue aerosol paint-spray over the silver coating. If you are going minimal, then you need to get the details right. I've sprayed the fairy-light cable silver. You are never going to find anything other than green cable when you buy your lights.

"Because the overall look is quite stark and cold, I wanted to emphasise the crispness of the tree with white light. Coloured lights just look gaudy and make your tree look like Blackpool illuminations. We have an own-brand collection of jewel-coloured baubles (89p each) but I stuck to one colour, the sapphire blue. By cutting the colour scheme to silver, blue and white light, I think the overall theme says Christmas rather than screaming it. Cluttering a tree with too much junk and too many colours looks old fashioned.

"The galvanised steel trash can I've used for the base of the tree follows my chain of thought because it is unconventionally severe but still beautiful. We use a lot of glass and galvanised steel vases and boxes in the shop. So, I was pushing the idea just a little further for Christmas. I worked on the same idea for Joseph's Christmas windows, using flame red, and the idea kept the contemporary feel. My message for Christmas decorations has to be keep it simple."

Stephen Woodhams, 60 Ledbury Road, London W11, 0171 243 3141.

Paula Pryke, floral designer: "I live in a loft, so I don't have a Victorian fireplace to decorate or stair rails to drape holly garlands from... thank God. Your Christmas decorations have to compliment the mood of your own interior, so it would be rather daft to live in a tastefully minimal space and then stick some gaudy monstrosity in the middle of it over the Christmas period.

"I took the silhouette of a trad Christmas tree and gave it a twist. I started with a conical metal "skeleton" circled with candle-holders. Then, I twined ivy around the whole structure to make what is essentially an ivy Christmas tree. Instead of fairy lights, I just put about 40 thick ivory candles in the holders and concealed the base of each candle with ivy. I made purple velvet roses with gold-edged velvet ribbon, which make the tree look so baroque once the candles are lit.

"Trying to be too minimal does take the fun out of Christmas decorations. You can still keep well within the bounds of good taste without being too boring. An alternative idea for Christmas trees that I used in my loft apartment are two 10ft cacti in terracotta pots, draped in white fairy lights. I'm also working with fruit: spraying real pineapples silver then clustering them into pineapple trees with silver palm leaves. I found my extravagant golden apples made out of reeds from the Philippines. They are a bit of fun, but you see what I mean about modern not necessarily having to be minimal.

"Trust me on this one: real fruit arrangements will see you through the 12 days of Christmas without going off. When they start to sag, you know it's time to take your decorations down anyway. This year, I'm concentrating on natural materials in exotic colours".

Paula Pryke Flowers, 20 Penton Street, London N1, 0171 837 7336.

Emma Bernhardt, owner of Mexican Interiors: "Utter, unadulterated madness. That's what I want from a Christmas tree. Everything I sell in Emma Bernhardt is sourced in Mexico, so it is party time all year round for me. Christmas is an excuse to go even wilder. Last year, I bought these huge bags of silver glitter-dust from Mexico and practically threw handfuls of glitter at my tree; letting it fall all over the floor. Not such a hot idea if you are obsessed with Hoovering, but who wants to Hoover over Christmas anyway? But this year, I wanted to work with a baby Christmas tree and make something so cute you'd want to keep it up all year round.

"I buy these strands of plastic roses in, you've guessed it, Mexico. I've just draped them on the tree without being too careful. It's a kind of 'pink roses are taking over my living room' look. Because the top of a Christmas tree looks bare without a crowning bit of glory, I just took more plastic flowers and bunched them until they looked as if they are exploding from the tree top. I attached the plastic posy with clothes pegs, bulldog clips, whatever... as long as they are pink. I also detached five of the rose buds and pegged them to the top tier of tree branches like a halo.

"I say anything goes with a Christmas tree. Go insane if you want to. It's a hell of a lot more creative than a solitary white lily in a glass vase tastefully displayed on your coffee table. I think Christmas is a good excuse for style victims to let loose for a month and indulge in all things glitzy and gorgeous."

Emma Bernhardt Mexican Interiors, 301 Portobello Road, London W10, 0181 960 2929.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SAP Project Manager

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

    SAP Project Manager

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

    Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

    £600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

    Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

    £65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
    Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

    Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

    Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
    Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

    Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

    Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
    Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

    Spanx launches range of jeans

    The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
    10 best over-ear headphones

    Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

    Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
    Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

    Commonwealth Games

    David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

    Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star