14 Christmas Decorating Tips, From The Experts

14 Christmas Decorating Tips, From The Experts

Could your Christmas décor do with a bit of an update? If so, take a bit of fresh inspiration from the people who do it best. Here, some of our favourite interior designers and tastemakers share their Christmas decorating secrets…
BEE OSBORN

Bee Osborn loves to make an entrance… 

“It’s always nice to decorate the hallways and stair balustrades. That way you create an immediate festive feeling the minute you step through the front door. Use natural foliage where possible – tree branches, holly leaves and ivy from the garden all work well. In our house, we love the scent of a real Christmas tree, but if it’s not for you, use scented candles or gather fresh eucalyptus, fir cones or moss. Dried orange peels or crushed cinnamon sticks are two more classic Christmas fragrance options. We like to put our presents under the tree as soon as it’s up, but if you’re not that organised, you can always wrap empty boxes and pop them under the tree as decoration first and foremost.”

Matilda Goad combines metallics with hops…

“We’re decorating with lots of coloured lights and hops this year – it’s the ideal base for brass decorations, like our new bow ornaments which look beautiful hung on a tree or as a standalone piece. Complete the look with a pistachio green velvet ribbon – they come in three sizes, so you can choose something that fits perfectly with the proportions of your tree or interior space.”

MATILDA GOAD
WARD & CO/ VEEVERS CARTER

Rosie Ward makes the most of dried flowers…

“Dried flowers are everywhere right now and are a more sustainable choice as they will outlive the festive season. Pre-made arrangements are easily available at most florists, while online retailers such as Etsy have hundreds of options that will work all year round. Alternatively, you could dry fresh flowers yourself by hanging a bunch upside down in an airing cupboard for a couple of weeks ahead of the big day. Just remember that dried flowers are more susceptible to open flames, so make sure your candles are nowhere in reach.”

BIRDIE FORTESCUE

Birdie Fortescue layers decorative table linens and accessories…

“At Christmas, it’s all about a unique table setting – that means mixing patterns and layering an eclectic mix of crockery and coloured glassware. For lunch, even if it’s just with the family, focus on small arrangements of flowers; create a quirky and informal look with bud vases of different heights filled with minimal stems. Just make sure you pick out some of the colours in the floral arrangements and match them with the linens to keep the look cohesive – early season dahlias in rich reds and autumnal ochres look very effective. For dinner, skip the flowers and add an array of coloured candlesticks, preferably in glass holders. If you have a table with a pretty patina, leave it bare to nod to a more traditional winter setting and layer it with decorative accessories.”

KATHARINE POOLEY

Katharine Pooley uses foliage in every room…

“I love filling my home with candles, as well as natural garlands of ivy, pine and festive greenery. Try adding small surprises where you can – like fresh or dried oranges nestled on the dining table to add some vibrant splashes of colour. I also like to hang foliage garlands from the light pendants, cover mantle pieces in evergreen branches and pinecones, and twist and drape foliage around staircases. In my opinion, nothing beats a bit of dark red at Christmas – add it where you can with silk velvet ribbons, pomegranates scattered on tables and berries mixed into the foliage.”

Louise Roe uses homemade touches…

“Most of us focus on the Christmas tree, but in recent years I’ve paid more attention to the fireplace – it looks so cosy decked out. I usually mix pomander oranges with a faux garland from OKA (which makes incredibly real-looking ones) and this year I’ve added some pretty paper fans for a pop of colour. Make your own dried orange slices, too – they’re the easiest thing to do with children and their scent is amazing. Let little ones choose a different coloured ribbon to hang them at the end. Also use baubles as a centrepiece – they look so pretty in bowls and dishes. Finally, scour Etsy and antique fairs for vintage decorations. I bought a few metres of red wooden beads last year and they made the tree feel so timeless.”

LOUISE ROE
THE SETTE

Sophie Elliott mixes styles & colours…

“As far as the Christmas table is concerned, it’s my belief that the centrepiece is the most important feature, whether it's full of candles, bud vases or an oversized hurricane with a big candle inside it. Start here and the rest will follow. This year, The Sette has a great festive tablecloth in red and white, which would work perfectly for a more contemporary look – add lots of branches and foliage to give it a truly woodland feel.”

SARA COSGROVE

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