How to decorate your home for Christmas, according to experts

Celebrate the festive season in style

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Friday 14 December 2018 16:01
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Christmas is just around the corner, but you don't need to fret if you're feeling unprepared because there's still plenty of time to get festive and break out the decorations.

Between preparing the food, attending yuletide dos and buying your loved ones’ presents, transforming your home into a winter wonderland is a great way to embrace the holiday spirit, but it can feel like a lot of work.

So, to make things a little easier and ensure you celebrate the festive season in style, we’ve put together a handy guide filled with Christmas decorating ideas.

With tips from some of the industry’s top experts, read on to find out how to make sure everything from your hallway to your living room is festooned with the perfect finishing touches.

Choose a colour scheme

Choosing the right colour scheme can be difficult, especially when you want different rooms to evoke different moods. While gold, red and green, or silver and white are classic choices that will look elegant in most homes, in recent years there has been an influx of new colour options, including black.

“This year we’ve had a huge increase in the amount of request for blacks,” Tom Harrington, director at Harrington’s Christmas Decorators tells The Independent.

If you fancy giving it a go, Harrington suggests using a mix of glossy and glittered black ornaments that will reflect the light so the colour doesn’t become lost amongst the dark green foliage of a Christmas tree.

Another popular colour this year has been cashmere brown: “It works beautifully with other colours such as dull matte golds or pearl creams. It’s a very subtle, muted palette, which looks very elegant and timeless.”

The Christmas tree

Arguably the main attraction of any festive interior, the Christmas tree should be your first port of call when decorating your home but whether you opt for a real or artificial version comes down to personal preference.

Niki Brantmark, author of Lagom, The Swedish Art Of Living A Balanced, Happy Life and founder of My Scandinavian Home prefers to opt for a real one, which she collects from her local sustainable Christmas tree farm.

“There’s something about going into the woods with a saw and chopping down your own spruce that feels extra special,” she tells The Independent.

“Instead of opting for the most symmetrical tree of the bunch, think ‘au natural’ and opt for something a little more asymmetrical to give it a more natural, rustic feel.”

Once you have the tree sorted, it’s time to start decorating it. Here, Nadia Singleton, designer, stylist and interiors Instagram influencer, says the best place to start is with a scheme and theme.

“When it comes to scheme, I like to coordinate all my festive decorations with my room in term of colours. That way, my tree looks part of the home rather than looking like something temporary,” she tells The Independent.

“Similarly, the tree is the crowning glory of your Christmas decorations so having it themed will make it look polished.

“I like a natural theme, so you’ll find my tree full of roses, birds and butterflies, many of which aren’t actual Christmas decorations. There are no rules that say you can only hang Christmas decorations on your tree, anything goes and a tree with something different will look individual and interesting.”

The living room

For many people, the living room is the centre of the action, where you’ll spend many a chilly evening beside the fire. So, when it comes to Christmas décor, it should come as no surprise that your lounge will be the highlight of the house.

For this, both Brantmark and Singleton recommend transforming your room into a botanical wonderland.

“Hyacinths give the room a lovely scent. Keep them simple and white, remove the soil and place them in a special hyacinth vase so that the roots dangle into the water,” Brantmarks says.

She also suggests hanging a vertical brass candle wreath bound with eucalyptus on one of the walls – something Singleton says can really help tie the whole house together in terms of theme.

“Make a statement with greenery and faux flowers. If you use the fireplace, real flowers won’t last but greenery like branches and eucalyptus will be more robust to the heat,” Singleton adds.

“Go as big as you can to make a statement. Don’t worry about being neat or even symmetrical, it’s very on trend to have a more natural look with leaves over hanging the mantle.”

The dining room

When it comes to the dining room you’re going to want the table to be the main focal point and for this, candles are the only way to go.

“I love to use gold, its opulent and makes your table shine under candle light,” Singleton explains.

“A white table cloth comes first then fill the space down the middle with greenery from the garden, flowers, berries and candles.

“You can put candles in jars (for safety) or on candle sticks. Just don’t have anything too high, remember you have to reach across to pull those Christmas crackers.”

The hallway

The hallway is the first room that your guests will see as they enter your home so it’s important not to forget to add a little festive cheer here.

According to Harrington, more and more clients are requesting garlands around the front door, both inside and out.

“This creates a really warm and welcoming impression as you enter and leave and has a great visual impact both day and night,” he says.

Similarly, Singleton says that your staircase is a great area to spruce up in your entrance: “Wrapping real or faux greenery round the bannister full of hanging baubles and battery-operated fairy lights is always a good start.

“If you have a console table. A vase with a simple branch with baubles hanging from it and more fairy lights can also be great welcome for your guests to see what’s in store. Add a bowl full of gold chocolate coins too, everyone can help themselves as they walk by.”

The bedroom

If you want to transform your bedroom or guest room into a relaxing and festive hideaway for the Christmas season, Brantmark recommends adopting the Scandi approach by adding a simple chain of twinkling fairy lights.

Tempted to go all out? Then why not add a tiny Christmas tree too. “A mini one on the windowsill will fill your room with a wonderful scent and help your bedroom to feel extra festive when it’s time to open your stocking,” says Brantmark.

The bedroom is also a great place to help children feel included in the festive fun.

“If you have small children who jump onto your bed to wake you up Christmas morning this could be a lovely start to your Christmas day,” says Singleton.

“A good decoration to use over the bed is to hang paper stars and snowflakes. This will give the bedroom a magical feel Christmas morning and if one does fall off the wall in the middle of the night it won’t disturb you too much if it falls on your head!”

The exterior

When it comes to decorating the outside of your house, you have two options: keep things subtle or embrace the festive spirit and go big.

While Brantmark’s Scandi-cool style calls for pretty white paper star lights that you can easily hang in your windows, Singleton likes to make an impact with a scattering of icicle string lights.

“When it comes to exterior lighting, I use a simple icicle string of lights across the front of the house. Ours is 30-feet in length,” she explains.

“As it’s so long I take the time to roll it into a neat ball so it’s much easier the next year. You really don’t want to be uncurling 30-feet of lights.

“My lights are plugged in using a plug point from inside the garage. I use a cheap and simple timer that plugs into the electric point to turn them on at 4pm and then off at midnight. This saves going out into the cold to turn them on and off and also handy if you pop out for the evening, it always looks like there’s someone in."

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