Who isn't dreaming of a white Christmas?
Crisp, white decor that’s at once cool and wintry spells elegance and style for the festive season, whatever the world is doing outside.
And with enchanting Christmas trees laden with natural decorations, frosted tablescapes laid with shimmering glass and crisp linen, and neutral furniture dressed with faux fur throws and textured accessories, the stage is set for a magical celebration - however modest it may be.
Here, Holloways Interior Design Consultant Annie Blackledge discusses ways to create an exquisite white Christmas, whether we’re keeping it small in our family bubbles, or celebrating with cherished loved ones with bubbles of a different kind.
Making an entrance
“Your front door is your shop window,” says Annie. “It creates that all-important first impression for your guests.
“Take time dressing your festive wreath. It tells your visitors that Christmas has arrived.
“To a natural wooden frame, add silvery foliage and bleached fir cones and hide micro-strings of battery-operated fairy lights in amongst the fronds. Place outdoor battery-operated candles of differing heights on the doorstep, in glass storm lanterns along the path or to frame a set of steps for a sparkling, welcoming entrance on dark winter nights.”
In a hallway, try bleaching fir cones (literally soak cones in a bleach solution for a couple of days and then allow to dry – the effect is amazing!) and piling them, interspersed with clove-studded satsumas, into a generous wooden bowl on a console table.
Neptune’s white ceramic houses, in different sizes, are a playful touch.
And wrap your gifts in white paper, tied up with raffia or velvet ribbon and foliage from the garden for a natural luxe feel.
“A real Christmas tree fills your home with the unmistakable scent of Christmas,” says Annie.
“Warm, welcoming and traditional, it’s perfect in period and modern settings and can be as minimalist or as generously decorated as you like.”
Key trends this year continue the natural theme.
Textured glass baubles add Christmas sparkle to a tree decorated with ceramic stars, carved wooden decorations and frogged glass tealight holders in silver or green.
Add shimmering silver and white feathers for a sense of fun, and watch the light dance off.
You’ll find bowls piled high with glass baubles, wooden stars, white ceramic decorations and dazzling candle holders large and small at Neptune by Holloways, the store-in-store.
A dining table is often the centrepiece of the Christmas celebrations, and choosing the right piece for your lifestyle isn’t always as straightforward as it seems.
Think about day-to-day use, as well as celebrations - particularly in the rapidly-changing world in which we find ourselves.
An extendable dining table, like the Moreton (below left) is a flexible choice.
Generous enough for cosy family meals, and great in a kitchen or formal dining room, it comes into its own with a crowd and can be dressed up or down to suit the occasion.
Darker wood extendable tables, like the Arundel (below right) in brushed oak, look stunning at Christmas with white table settings, and they grow effortlessly with the number of guests able to join you and share the magic.
They look stunning set against upholstered chairs in natural linen or dining benches dressed with cushions, skins and faux fur.
Eat, drink and be merry
“Laying the table for guests is one of the joys of Christmas,” says Annie.
“Choose white china, and crisp linen napkins in white or new-season olive, tied with winter foliage.
“Polish your silver cutlery and add sparkling glasses for water and red and white wine, and candles at different heights.
“A neutral linen runner is the perfect backdrop for Christmas foliage and white fairy lights running down the middle of the table – Neptune by Holloways has a fabulous range of tiny lights, from stars to delicate, silvery baubles, which give a magical glow.
“Pull the scheme together with a tealight at every place setting, and bring the outside in with dramatic foliage and fir cones sprayed white or silver, running down the centre of the table to complete the white Christmas look.”
Metallic chargers add to the sense of occasion, and you can make your guests feel extra special with handmade biscuits, piped with their names in white icing, as place names.
Tiny, personal, thoughtfully-chosen gifts for each of your family and guests, wrapped in white paper and tied with garden string, are a lovely talking point, and make a classy and well-received alternative to Christmas crackers.
Sofa, so good
Sofas like the button-back Glencoe midi-sofa covered in natural linens work year-round, and creating a white Christmas feel in your sitting room is a simple transition from cosy autumnal decor.
“Drape white faux fur throws over furniture, add cushions in wool and velvet for texture, fill wooden bowls with bleached fir cones and add cherished family photographs in white or silver frames,” says Annie.
“Mirrored console tables, metallic-framed mirrors hung with silver baubles on white velvet ribbon and sparkling decanters filled with Christmas cheer will all add to the winter wonderland.”
Painted tables - consoles and compact nests - like Holloways new Dorset range are the perfect stage set for bowls of white and silver Christmas baubles, interspersed with new-season olive for a rich, verdant feel.
And so to bed….
Make guests feel at home with spoiling guest bedrooms.
Dress beds like the Larsson (below) with white Egyptian linen, piling pillows high for a boutique hotel feel, finish with textured throws for cosiness and leave a thoughtful basket of toiletries for visitors in nutmeg, cinnamon and cranberry scents.
Leaving a roll of beautiful wrapping paper, scissors, sticky tape and velvet ribbon is a thoughtful touch for guests who may have last-minute gifts to wrap.
A ceramic bowl filled with homemade treats – biscuits or fudge – is a lovely welcome gift, and slippers and fluffy robes will make them feel spoiled, yet totally at home.
Scents of adventure
Neptune’s new Winterberry and Christmas fir scents are Christmas in a bottle,” says Annie.
“The candles and diffusers are heavenly, creating a gorgeous scent throughout the house.”
Light candles everywhere. Hurricane lamps with church candles at different heights look stunning in a fireplace or placed on the floor in a hallway, and diffusers will keep the holiday spirit alive all through the festive season.
“The whole house should smell of Christmas,” says Annie. “It’s absolutely the most wonderful time of the year.”
This feature was first published in the December 2020 edition of Midlands Living magazine.
Read more about our press coverage here.