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CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: How to…decorate (part one)

2b3055f9bad966292af8b32d4c89a2a4So, it’s here. December has arrived and with it, the faint tinkle of jingle bells on the horizon. Is it really just over 3 weeks until Christmas? Yikes…To celebrate the festive season, we are bringing you a quite-fantabulous, really rather sparkly Christmas-themed fortnight of inspirational features, gorgeous fashion, great ideas and amazing competitions. Every day you’ll be able to win one of our incredible prizes from the likes of MiH Jeans, Crumpet Cashmere, Storksak, Atterley Road and many more…

In the meantime to kick things off, we’ve been thinking about that Christmas essential – decorating. In part one of our special, I’m looking at contemporary v. traditional ideas. From neon flamingoes to carefully co-ordinated trees, we’ve got it covered…


Pine trees aren’t for everyone. If you live in a flat, are short on space or simply don’t like them, then there are alternative centre pieces. I love the idea of a fairy lights strung out into the shape of a tree (check out the pic at the top of the post) and then festooned with a selection of decorations. So chic and even a little magical.


This alternative tree is in the same vein, but with a slightly rustic twist. You could even run a colour theme through your decorations – neon pink, for instance, if you really want to make a statement.

42638292924e78664956ca178db454cb And then there’s this cross between an Advent Calendar and Christmas tree. You’ll need some planks of wood, pegs and envelopes filled with pictures (or presents if you’re feeling generous) and you have a rather beautiful focal point for your living room.


If you want a tree, but it’s the pine needles that put you off, then this bare-branched tree straddles the rustic/contemporary divide perfectly. I also like the mishmash jumble of ornaments and the moose head…b06af112da3f069fb2ca3c6a327d1ae2

I love this outdoor light tree tower from Cox & Cox (who have an amazing selection of Christmas goodies this year). It would look so beautiful surrounded by snow…

The Decorations

fd3953625d151153264b6cdea28f4658There’s something about white or silver reindeers that I just love. An animal ornament, a selection of carefully coloured baubles and some pussy willow (real or fake) is a great way to do contemporary glitter and kitsch.


Real pussy willow, a hot pink vase and white ornaments. Love.


This look would be incredibly easy to re-create. All you’d need would be long, thin vases, pine cones (frosted or not frosted), long twigs and a couple of clear ornaments.

The Table


This is an incredibly grown-up Christmas table. I imagine it’s for an evening celebration. I love the monochrome theme and the fact that despite the sheer slickness of it all, there are still crackers.


Recreate the feel of this all-white table setting using large white baubles wrapped or covered in white sequins. Add white reindeer decorations and fairy lights for a cool Christmas look…


I’d call this rather amazing table decor ‘rustic contemporary’. If you want to try this look, just hang a branch over the table and decorate with ornaments. You could even spray paint it white or silver. Alternatively, if  having a tree hanging over you while you eat is a little too much, you could always spray paint smaller twigs and scatter them over the table.


Alternatively, go all out for colour with a fluoro table setting as inspired by this one at The Conran Shop.

Get the look…

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Pink flamingo decoration, £12, Paperchase; circular tealight tree, £99, Graham & Green; Perspex reindeer decoration, £6, The Conran Shop

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Hanging honeycombs, £10 for a set of 3, The White Company; Fluorescent candles, £2.95 for box of 12, True Grace; silver reindeer, £5, Asda


Of course, it could be argued that Christmas isn’t Christmas without a proper tree. If you waver more towards this school of thought, then embrace your inner Festive Elf and bring out the tree, the wreath and of course, the mistletoe. I’m a firm believer that anything goes at Christmas, so if you want to festoon your house with tinsel and paper chains, then go for it. Or take a tasteful colour theme (silver and gold with a touch of colour are the obvious ones) and mix it up with a bit of natural foliage. Most importantly, do what makes you happy – after all, Christmas comes only once a year!

The Tree

hallThis colour-themed tree (and presents!) is the perfect way to do traditional in a tasteful way. The tree looks gorgeous as do the giant baubles hung from the ceiling. You could create a similar albeit more low-key look with colour-themed balloons. And check out the banister, the all-white decoration is a nice touch.


This gold, white and silver tree looks fab. Once again the presents are co-ordinated (a little harder to achieve in real life – ‘I’m sorry, but I only accept gifts that are wrapped in my designated colours…..’), but the theme is gorgeous.


This living room is probably as traditional as it gets when it comes to colour schemes. Red, gold and white on the Christmas tree, decorations on the mantelpiece and a huge wreath on the wall.


How about just using bunting and fairy lights on your tree?



This (another image from the always brilliant White Company) shows how gorgeous an ivy-festooned banister can look. I also love the candles on every step (obviously one for someone without dogs/children/clumsy feet) and the low-key Christmas tree on the table.


How pretty is this Christmas wreath? Check back with us next week for Kirstie Allsopp‘s amazing guide to making your own….


I love this willow deer from Cox & Cox. Leave him outside or bring him inside for a wonderful North Pole feel.

ffba771d649d629dabd3af85c439b20fFake fruit sprayed with glitter and displayed in a bowl is beautifully festive.


A simple garland of gold bells strung up along a window pane looks gorgeous.

The Table


The natural tablecentre and the gold-themed tableware really make this table.a6cc660db533d04898a5d412e56cf5a6These place name baubles from Cox & Cox are a brilliant idea. Perfect for Christmas and beyond…

472b39e9fe718bd46353ae9104268b4aThere’s something really warm and welcoming about this table. The white crockery and candles work beautifully with the white roses. Alternatively, use ivy or other greenery for a similar feel.

Get the look

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Gold dove tree decoration, £4.50, Graham & Green; wooden heart with horse decoration, £4.95, Liberty; antique baubled fairylights, £35, The White Company

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Metal birds, £3.50, Seed; Teardrop glass decoration, £2.50, John Lewis; Set of 45 decorations, £25, M&S

IMAGES: Clive Johnson; The White Company; Rue Mag

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Coco in the Kitchen
    December 5, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Love the inventive Christmas tree ideas.
    So refreshing!

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