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15 creative Christmas decorating ideas to inspire your home’s festive makeover

It’s time to deck the halls, and the tree, and the table… Make this Christmas special with our inspirational tips for every room

giant wreath
Kristen Peres/ Worm/ Quadrille

The advent calendars are officially counting down and it’s time to get your home looking ready for the festive season. Whether you're a lover of maximalist decorations (if we can’t go big this year then when can we?) or your tastes tend more towards cosy, natural styling, we have ideas that will spark your inspiration. So put away those tired old baubles and tinsel and start planning a Christmas to remember…

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1 Go large for impact
minimalist christmas wreath ands table setting by broste copenhagen
Broste Copenhagen

Create a focal point at a drinks party with an oversized yet understated twig and fir cone wreath. Layer your table in soft, earthy tones with linen, candles, bowls and coloured glasses –perfect for a pared-back celebration.

Glassware all Broste Copenhagen at Nordic Nest. For similar linen tablecloth, try ‘Gracie’ tablecloth, £107, The Scandinavian Shop

2 Personalise an advent calendar
homemade christmas advent calendar with photographs
KRISTA KELTANEN

Add a personal touch with an advent calendar made of photographs and handwritten notes that are significant to your nearest and dearest. Display the 24 cards on a canvas frame. Number each photo on the reverse and arrange in a random order, decorating with string or ribbon and secured with a pin or peg.

3 Candle display
rowan and wren christmas candles for festive table setting
Rowan and Wren

For a simple but striking centrepiece, use tapered candles. Arrange along the length of the table, with candle holders nestled among fragrant fir branches.

British beeswax candles, from £8 for a set of 4; ‘Bingley’ brass candlesticks, from £16 each, both Rowen & Wren

4 Improvise if short of space
christmas baubles and candles from hm home
H&M Home

No room for a tree? Create a festive vignette by decorating a branch stood in a coloured vase. For an extra layer of magic, scatter baubles beneath it and add your favourite scented candles.

Baubles, from £1.99 each; candles, from £3.99 each, all H&M Home (hm.com/home)

5 Use what you have
christmas dining table with candles by lou archell
Lou Archell

You don’t need to buy new Christmas decorations every year. Dress the table with existing mismatched candlesticks, low vases, heirloom decorations and simple white table linen. For a cosy yet sophisticated yuletide touch, introduce candlesticks in different colours and display hand-picked dried flowers from your garden.

6 Deck the mantlepiece
wooden garland and eucalyptus
Oleander and Palm

Introduce long-lasting scent and colour by hanging fresh, fragrant eucalyptus (or a realistic faux option) across the mantelpiece. Add a beaded wooden garland for extra texture – Marquis Weaves at Etsy has options.

‘Succulent & Eucalyptus’ faux garland, £45, Cox & Cox

7 Make your own wreath
homemade wild christmas wreath
Kristen Peres/ Worm/ Quadrille

Get in the festive spirit by making your own wreath. For this loose and natural arrangement, use branches of fir and sprigs of ivy. You’ll need a willow frame, floral shears and twine. Begin from the top and work clockwise, adding foliage with twine, focusing on one area at a time.

For DIY wreath frames, try floristrywarehouse.com or littlecraftybugs.co.uk

8 Go all out on the tree
hyperfocal 0
Polly Wreaford

If you’re going to have a Christmas tree, then make sure it’s the star attraction. Drip from head to toe with vintage lametta tinsel. You won’t need much else as the reflective foil will pretty much light up the space.

For lametta tinsel, try Lion’s Home

9 Mark the days of advent
floral and candle advent wreath hanging over dining table
SCHONNEMANN ANDERS

The atmospheric advent wreath originates from 19th-century Germany, when Pastor Johann Hinrich Wichern built one for children using an old cart wheel and candles, which he lit each day until Christmas.

Find a hanging kit at Manufactum

10 A magical display
christmas dining table with hanging decorations
KRISTA KELTANEN

Handmade paper-cut snowflakes, single fir branches, dove decorations and glass baubles make for a whimsical display hung above a dining table. Tie at varying levels with string or ribbon for full effect and remember the lowest ones need to be above head height so that guests don’t bang into them.

11 The more the merrier
paper decorations for a maximalist christmas by re
Rich Kenworthy

Create maximum impact by going all out with paper honeycomb decorations. Fill from floor to ceiling in unused alcoves, within a window frame or suspend from each corner of a fireplace – the possibilities are endless!

‘All White Paper Decorations’, from £1.25 each; ‘Paper Fans’, from £2.50 each, all RE

12 Create a warm welcome
natural christmas wreath on a green door painted in annie sloane paints
Annie Sloan

A large, dramatic wreath on your front door will give your home a suitably grand entrance. Choose from our edit of the best luxury Christmas wreaths that are guaranteed to make guests smile. Just remember to spray with water every now and again to ensure the wreath stays fresh.

13 Pay attention to the small details
bannister with foliage and ribbon
Rambling Renovators

An effective yet easy way to inject a festive touch in a hallway is to wrap green foliage around a bannister with highlights of copper leaves. Complete with a simple, loose silk bow.

14 Invest in future heirlooms
christmas glass icicle baubles by rowen  wren
Rowan and Wren

Often simplicity is the best way forward when it comes to Christmas decorating, so go for clear glass baubles such as these icicles, handcrafted in Liverpool. Hang on a tree for a touch of frost-like elegance that can be enjoyed for years to come.

‘Eliah’ recycled glass icicles, £12 for three, Rowen & Wren

15 Remember loved ones
sweet paul christmas tree with photographs
Hector Sanchez

Create a tree of memories using treasured photographs of family and friends. Especially poignant for remembering lost loved ones, or those who can’t be with you this year.

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration December 2020

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