Left it late to deck the halls? Here’s a fast-track to festive
PUBLISHED: 10:09 20 December 2014
If your home’s still a festive-free zone, or despite your best efforts, still hasn’t got top-of-the-tree style, there’s no need to panic.
A beautifully decorated home is within reach; all that’s needed is a little imagination, a willingness to get handy with some scissors, glue and paper, and a small outlay on a few well-chosen Christmas accessories.
“We’re all so busy at this time of year that decorations can be left to the last minute, or maybe have to be kept to the minimum if you’re on a tight budget,” says Anita Kaushal, interiors specialist and co-author of FamilyLifeStyle Home.
“Luckily, ‘less is more’ is the recipe for seasonal success, because it’s about making beautiful but simple statements. That can be a traditional tree hung with home-made, hand-painted baubles, or simply windows made seasonal with baubles hung on cord, or strings of paper decorations made by the children. Those personal touches won’t just add colour and character, they’ll make your festive setting unique.”
Follow our guide to stunning last-minute touches for Santa-ready rooms.
If you haven’t the space for a large, bushy tree, or don’t want to make that sort of statement, embrace the trend for slimmed-down ‘size zero’ trees, with slender trunks and bare branches.
“There are a lot of naked trees around this year,” says TV presenter and crafts queen Kirstie Allsopp. “It’s definitely a trend, and is for those who are confident in their taste and like something alternative and design-led.
“If you’re having a minimalist twig thing, then you put very small, very delicate decorations on it. One of the reasons Scandinavian decorations look so beautiful is because they’re so understated, and those Scandi trees do work well with just a few decorations.”
Hang ‘em high
Set baubles free from the tree and you’ll be amazed at their power to bring razzle-dazzle to rooms.
“Buy invisible wire thread, or fishing line, and attach to a window frame so you can hang baubles from it. Or use brightly coloured satin and velvet ribbon, cut to different lengths, and hang them from chandeliers and curtain rails,” says Kaushal.
“Be generous for maximum impact and keep to a colour theme - ideally using two bright colours and then contrasting with black or fashionable metallics, such as gold and copper. A tinsel or ribbon bow at each end of a strand adds a luxury touch.”
Onwards and upwards
Ensure visitors’ first impression is a festive one by dressing the stairs with a garland on a banister rail, or hang cards on a string down its length.
“Equally decorative are tiny gift-wrapped boxes suspended on silk ribbon, and for extra sparkle, spray with glitter paint. Then intersperse with Christmas cards, clipped with pegs, or get children to write their own festive messages, using glitter pens on plain gift tags or luggage labels, for a charming touch,” says Kaushal.
“For a different interpretation, and if the tread of the stair is wide enough, have a garland securely anchored on to the wall side of the stairs, and intersperse with battery-operated candles or tea lights.”
Bring seasonal magic to plain walls with festive images which will instantly conjure a winter wonderland.
“Christmas is a time to have fun with decor and play around with colours and effects which you wouldn’t dare to try at any other time of the year,” says Kauchal.
“If you don’t like cards cluttering surfaces, simply cut out a large paper template of a Christmas tree and then mark out the outline on a wall. Stick cards inside it to match its shape for a colourful feature.
Alternatively, use lengths of ribbon to delineate a tree outline, and pop a star on the top for a 3D effect.”
Making decorations is one of the traditional rituals of Christmas, and with the current revival for all things craft, they’re an essential home-made touch.
“One of the most effective ways to make paper decorations is by using paper from old books, comics or magazines, which will instantly give character and intriguing interest,” suggests Kaushal.
“Daisy chains made from old newspaper, sheet music, tissue paper or even tin foil also look pretty. The best thing about the foil version is there’s no need for glue, as the foil links can simply be twisted to close, making a chain simple and quick to do.
“You can give paper snowflakes or any decorations a little more ‘wow’ factor by dipping the tips in water colours or sprinkling them with glitter before cutting to size.”