Christmas tree and fire 84845191Mrs. C: Want to have lofty Christmas decorating ambitions without the Manhattan loft? Then you’ve come to the right place. Glossy magazines, full of British country manor chic, minimalist modern marvels and grand Georgian treasures dressed to the Christmas nines, can be somewhat off-putting. But be deterred no more. With our help, you can do it. First, look at photographs of rooms decorated the way you like and ask yourself: what makes them work?

Ed Elf: Apart from the cavernous space, seven sofas, ancient stone fireplace and French doors looking out to grazing deer in the fields beyond.

Mrs. C: Well, quite. But even in the most splendid, huge and opulent of rooms, there is something we can see and like and adopt. Certainly at the very core of it, we can engage the rule of tidiness. All the rooms in the magazines are pristine. No pile of papers lying around…

Ed Elf: …or bottles of nail varnish to paint your toenails while watching telly.

Mrs. C: This may not be possible to achieve 100 percent in a busy household, but it is possible in at least some areas or rooms. Think tidy; aim high. You’ll be amazed what you can achieve after a bit of a de-clutter. Allow the inspiration to flow through you, then get to work on planning your colour scheme, deciding where your tree will sit and what accessories you will use. Cut out photos and make a mood board, maybe even a virtual version on Pinterest. Turn the ideas into reality.

Rooms with a Wow

Colour Me Christmas

Colour scheme is the obvious starting point. Multi-coloured rooms may need a little extra thought. Look at the big pieces of furniture in your room—if they’re neutral it will help to keep your colour palette to a minimum. Too much pattern from walls, curtains and furniture makes it harder to get the sophisticated look. But there console table 2are simple solutions. Putting inexpensive plain throws over your sofa and armchairs for the Christmas period will allow you to play more with colour. Working with the colours and shades in your room, decide which Christmas palette and theme will work best for you and stick to it.

Graphic Explanation

Here is something you may not have considered but may just embrace. If your room has plain walls, you might want to be really adventurous and decorate one with a huge graphic of a festive scene. It can be done through, who manufacture superb mural and graphic wallpaper you customise to the size of your wall – however large or small. Like the idea of reindeer framed by a snowy forest? This can be your backdrop for the season. The tree red in white room_117442228image options are abundant.

Practically Beautiful

Many of the photos we see in magazines have real wow factor as the rooms ooze with glitter and glamour. However, this may only work if you’ve got a very calm and controlled Christmas atmosphere. A house teaming with friends and family, a very excitable Labrador and disdainful cat may quickly scupper plans for your beautiful arrangements. Garlands draped on the spindles and handrails of stairs are lovely, but ask yourself: how practical will this be for my household? If you like the idea, you can always dilute it a little to make it more manageable. Why not convert to small hand tied arrangements positioned so they won’t receive much interference from human, canine or feline traffic. This applies to most of the ideas you see in photographs of festive rooms. Take the essence of an idea you like and make it work for you. For example, you might not want a red tree, as pictured here, and prefer the more traditional green. And yet, you love red at Christmastime and like the impact of the photograph. Therefore, go for red wrapping and nothing else (with a simple ribbon to decorate the presents as show), plain red stockings trimmed in white (as shown) and masses of red baubles on the tree. Add red cushions with no embellishments and, elsewhere in the room, dot around a few empty red boxes (as shown on the bench) of various sizes tied with ribbon. They don’t have to contain gifts. Simple, inexpensive and achievable.

Ornaments Out

candles lantern_186210149Have a plan where to place your freestanding ornaments, candles, vases, greenery, bowls of sweets and nuts. If you place things on surfaces at random, alongside the ornaments you usually have there, it could detract from your Christmas theme. Maybe consider clearing away at least some – if not all – of the ornaments you normally have displayed, even photo frames too. They can be stored in your Christmas decoration boxes temporarily. When you bring these back out in January, you will appreciate them anew. Group your Christmas ornaments together. This will maximise space and give the arrangement a purposeful look. You can also consider if any of your vases, cake stands or plain decorative trays could be used to hold your Christmas ornaments. Aim to make your regular vases and candles multitask. A hurricane lamp can be home to silver twigs or sprigs of greenery, maybe even battery LED lights. A tall glass vase can be filled with inexpensive baubles to match your tree decorations.

Decorating Themes

Dress your room and not just your tree for Christmas and your joy will be unconfined. Whether or not you have employed the notion of phasing in Christmas decor through a world of winter delights, this is the point your main living spaces can be transformed for the festivities.

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Don’t be put off into thinking you will have to buy lots of expensive products to make a theme work. If you include just a few key elements and mix them with items you may already possess, the desired look will come together. Make a sweep of department stores, DIY outlets and supermarkets and you will gain and instant overview of what’s “in” and whether or not it grabs you. We are using a more traditional Nordic theme to illustrate, but you will be able to adapt the theory and method to the theme of your choice using the Theme Guide.

Theme Guide

Choose a theme that fits your current décor

Choose a complementary colour scheme

Select and dress a tree that fits your surroundings

Remove existing ornaments and frames

Consider replacing current wall hangings with wreaths

Introduce cushions and throws to accentuate your theme

Add ornaments, bowls, vases and candle holders of a theme

Wrap presents in paper and bows befitting your theme

A Nordic Example

Use: red, grey, white and natural shades of brown. Think: snowflakes, metal, wood, wool, felt and fur. Feature: reindeer, skis, skates and sleds. Consider: cross-stitch, lanterns, bells and hearts.

A colour palette here of red, grey, and white, all used with a light touch. Throws and cushions instantly set the mood and fake furs add glamour to this theme. Any ornaments or decorations that suggest colder climes – such as reindeer, skis, skates, sleds and bells – can be used together with natural materials such as wood, metal, felt and wool. Red and white ribbons with check or heart patterns tie in the theme. If you want the room to feel really authentic, look at the iconic Dala horses from that come in various sizes and colours. This website has lots more suitable products for this theme. Also view for a fine selection for your home, both inside and out – and not just for a Nordic room.

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Visit our Decorating Trees page for more examples of festive themes, like Traditional, Vintage and Contemporary.

2017 Trends

We are great festive traditionalists here at How to Christmas, especially when it comes to decorating the house for the season. But we also appreciate and admire changing themes and trends, believing there is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ approach to decorating for Christmas.

There will be contrasting new trends for 2017, including a shiny, starry, cosmic look and a playful, almost frivolous, take on the season with bright colours to the fore and quirky characters like gnomes in abundance. Also in this “Fun Christmas” theme, expect baubles coloured group_212893603offbeat quotes in an array of coloured lettering to adorn baubles and ornaments. Paperchase excels with this kind of decor, but also visit for retro, kitsch and colourful at its best, check out all things bright and beautiful at Meri Meri through and glorious garlands of wool at Serenity comes with the pastel shades of a harmony theme in which spiritual symbols and designs based on the Hand of Fatima are likely to feature.

But if you believe these will be the only trends for the season, you’re mistaken. In the run up to “Pulse London” in May we checked out “Unique Styling Platform” for what it believes will be strong Christmas decorating styles for 2017. It listed three trends: Bloomsbury Christmas, Nomadic Christmas and Indulgent Christmas. The latter ties into the afore-mentioned Fun Christmas theme, with bright colours, extra sparkle, tons of tinsel, glitter galore and questionable taste all-round. Indulgence to the extreme.

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Nomadic Christmas Sanctuary

Bloomsbury, on the other hand, is darkly rich and sumptuous. This is all about good taste: mixing and matching Bloomsbury inspired fabrics and luxurious lifestyle. The Bloomsbury set, you may recall, included the author Virginia Woolf and was an informal group of intellectuals, writers and artists that lived and worked in the Bloomsbury neighbourhood of London around 1910. We love Rockett St. George for its unusual but darkly inviting catalogue of products, so why not check out the enticing emporium that is Liberty London is another must for this theme, especially having introduced its sumptuous new home collection, translating some of Liberty’s most coveted scarf prints into jewel-toned cushions and throws. Visit

As for a Nomadic Christmas: think rustic, earth tones, metallic elements, natural greenery (like sprigs of pine or eucalyptus in clear glass baubles) and influences from the world of travel and exploration. This could include Scandi-style pieces but can also take in aspects of style and culture from Asia and Africa. The idea is to build a Christmas retreat: a sanctuary of peace amid the swirl of the season; a place of safety to return to after nomadic travels. Visit and for inspiration.

John Lewis 2017 Christmas Decorating Themes

Decorating themes for the festive season are wide and varied at John Lewis for 2017. There’s Folklore, Highland Myths, Winter Palace, Into the Woods, Tales of the Maharaja, Lima Llama and Mitsuko. The quirkiest is Lima Llama, inspired by Peruvian traditions, food and art and paying homage to the nation’s revered llama. The colour scheme here is bold and bright and would sit well in a contemporary space. Winter Palace takes its inspiration from a Russian folktale, with a predominance of blue, silver, white and gold. Shadow puppetry, the Scottish Highlands, the forests of Ireland and regal India all have a role to play in the John Lewis collection. Check out the themes and a vast array of other Christmas products at