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Christmas decorating according to Luke Edward Hall and Duncan Campbell

Go kitsch this season with 1970s-inspired tablescape and hosting tips from this dynamic designer duo

duncan campbell and luke edward hall at their london home
Photography Stephanie Sian Smith

Hosts par excellence, artist and designer Luke Edward Hall (right) and partner Duncan Campbell (left), co-founder of creative consultancy Campbell-Rey, met over a decade ago during a stint interning at fashion brand JW Anderson. After quickly moving in together, the debonair pair have been throwing dinners and parties in their home, the second-floor flat of an impressive Camden townhouse, for over eight years. This summer, they bought a cottage in the Cotswolds and have been spending more and more time there entertaining at weekends. It’s also where they plan to host Christmas. ‘We love to cook and prepare for everyone,’ says Edward Hall, ‘we’re really excited. It’s so nice to have a little more space.’ lukeedwardhall.com; campbell-rey.com

We asked the duo to share their tips for entertaining guests with flair and individuality…

A party shouldn’t need a huge amount of planning. We send an invitation about a month before. It’s nice to design it if you can; I might doodle something simple, or Duncan will design the invite.

Make sure to build the evening up. Music should be gentle to start with –some lovely carols and then, as the night goes on, it can progress to jazz. Finish with 1980s pop – it always gets people dancing.

A sketch instead of name placement cards can be a nice touch and will help make guests feel special.

‘Christmas isn’t the time for subtlety!’

Mixing napkins against a bare wooden table can be very effective. We collect them and love to mix up, say, block-printed designs with chintzy floral ones.

Combining a spectrum of coloured candles always looks great.

We’re keen on a 1970s-esque canapé spread... devilled eggs, chipolatas, breadsticks, cheese straws, devils on horseback. It adds a kitsch flavour to the whole evening.

Mismatched cutlery and tableware look organic, add originality and steer your table away from looking contrived. We collect ceramics and glassware, so it’s fun to use vintage bits and bobs we’ve found along the way.

Duncan Campbell and Luke Edward Hall at home
Photography Stephanie Sîan Smith

Huge bunches of flowers add drama to any table. Lots of foliage, such as eucalyptus, is great around the festive season, but we also love tulips or giant delphiniums. Don’t forget to add greenery elsewhere too, mistletoe above doorways is a must.

We love to add a bit of fun with pieces that look like something else – whether that’s bowls in the shape of cabbages and lettuces or fish decanters.

And remember, Christmas isn’t the time for subtlety!


Luke and Duncan’s top five places to find those Christmas essentials

For beautiful flowers perfect for any table setting, try Fern Verrow

Candles for atmosphere from Pentreath & Hall

Vintage crockery adds character – Station Mill has good options

Alternatively, look to Rigattieri Liliana in Venice for ceramics

You’ll find stunning glass tree decorations at John Derian at Liberty London

    First featured in the January 2020 issue of ELLE Decoration

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