There is one member of our team at Holloways who excels in getting ready for Christmas. Our interior designer Annie Blackledge loves this time of year more than any other. Annie welcomes her entire extended family for Christmas Day, so it is very important to be well-organised in advance. So we thought we could share with you her top tips on getting your home ready for Christmas. There's more to it than just the Christmas tree - you can make all corners of your home come alive with the Christmas spirit this year.
1. MAKE AN ENTRANCE
The front door creates the first impression. Take time dressing it with festive wreath – it tells your visitors that Christmas has arrived! There are many styles to choose from – simple and natural, Scandinavian winter with frosted berries, and oversized and exuberant with dried flowers and foliage. Annie adds “I like to place a bay tree on each side of the front door and hide micro-strings of battery-operated lights amongst the foliage. I add a few outdoor flickering candles (battery-powered) around the pots. It makes a sparkling and welcoming entrance on a dark evening.”
If you have a large entrance hall, this is the place to put your Christmas tree – it can set the scene from the moment your guests arrive. If you don’t have the space put a mini tree on the hall table or hang pretty glass baubles from the light on velvet ribbons, of varying lengths, in the colours you have chosen for this year’s scheme.
2. PICK A THEME
Decide on a colour scheme – this can include two or three co-ordinating colours, such as coppers, teals and golds, or silver with shades of dark blue. In Annie’s opinion, this is the one thing that will make your home look very considered and stylish.
Give your home a festive feel and cosy up your sofas with a winter fur throw and some Christmas-themed cushions. What could be more inviting than a super-soft throw and scatters to curl up on? Annie keeps a collection of cushions and throws for the Christmas season – soft fur, wool, velvet and some with a little sparkle. There are always plenty of seasonal cushions and throws at Holloways to tempt Annie to add to her collection.
Get the best glassware out – it’s a special occasion! And it sparkles beautifully in the candlelight. Polish the cutlery and use your best dinner service. Metallic mats or chargers at each place create drama - and make sure there is a tealight close to everyone's place. It wiil light the meal perfectly!
5. MOOD LIGHTING
Place fresh and artificial foliage down the centre of the table interspersed with candles, fir cones and battery-operated light strings. No overhead bulbs allowed - mood lighting only! Annie dresses her table with a runner down the middle, lots of green foliage, candles of all different heights run down its length plus a string or two of tiny lights to add even more sparkle. And she hangs glittering baubles on velvet ribbon from small sticky hooks on the ceiling above the table.
6. DON'T FORGET THE SENSE OF SMELL
Place diffusers and scented candles in cloakrooms and entrance hallways – cinnamon, Christmas spice and clementine create gorgeous fragrances. Guests will really appreciate a beautifully-scented bedroom with a cosy throw at the foot of the bed. ‘I like to leave a basket of toiletries for my guests in nutmeg, cinnamon and cranberry scents in keeping with the season,’ says Annie. The entire house should smell of Christmas!
7. ADD PERSONALISATION
Layer your table with linen runners and napkins to reflect your colour scheme. Arrange each place setting with a fresh sprig of foliage on a rolled napkin and secure with garden string. For place names Annie bakes reindeer-shaped biscuits and pipes the children’s names on them with icing, the adults have miniature bottles of their favourite tipple with their names on them and even the dog has a Bonio with her name piped on it too.
8. USE THE FRUITS OF THE SEASON
Fireplaces decorated with fresh pine branches, clove-studded satsumas, walnuts and twigs with winter berries and flickering candles make a truly Christmassy focal point. Hang a garland with tiny lights over a big statement mirror to reflect light and sparkle. A few hanging glass baubles will add elegance and extra twinkle.
Fill your house with music – festive carols and background Christmas songs will set the scene and get everyone in the mood!
10. GET ORGANISED
Most important tip for a stress-free Christmas, according to Annie, is to plan ahead, make lists and enjoy it!
If you need inspiration for decorating your house this Christmas visit our Gift Shop. It is stacked high with stunning tree decorations, faux foliage, sparkling baubles, light strings, outdoor candles and glittering tealight holders. And you won't find a better collection of seasonal cushions and throws anywhere. We are open every day until Christmas from 9am - 5pm, late night on Thursdays until 7pm and on Sundays 11am - 4pm.