"Help any overnight guests feel more than welcome over the festive period by adding some thoughtful touches to their living space"
Oak Furniture Land
Decorating your home for Christmas needn’t be a complicated affair – and we’re all up for saving time with clever decorating hacks any time of the year, but especially during the busy Christmas period.
Oak Furnitureland have reached out to go-to interior stylist Joanna Thornhill, whose new book Insta Style for Your Living Space (previously printed as Home for Now) has just hit the shops and, and we have been inspired by Joanna’s countless quick-fix decorating tips. So, Oak Furnitureland have asked Joanna to apply these ideas to the festive home. Here, Joanna Thornhill shares her six top shortcuts to achieve a flawless festive finish:
1. No space for a tree? No problem!
Whilst most of our favourite holiday movies feature trees tall enough to put Trafalgar Square’s offering to shame, but in reality, us Brits are usually tight on space as it is, without being expected to shoehorn in an 8ft Nordic Fir into our cramped living room.
So, whether you’ve not got the square footage for a tree or are simply after some alternative ideas, there’s much that can still be done to add a festive flavour without one.
Joanna Thornhill recommends that if your home has any interesting architectural features such as beams or banisters, try weaving cut ivy from the garden around these and, for added twinkle, include some battery-operated micro lights, hiding the battery pack somewhere inconspicuous. Alternatively, turn an existing tall houseplant into a stand-in tree by adorning it with some lightweight miniature baubles. Fans of a more minimalist Scandi look might prefer to simply use a sculptural foraged tree branch inside a vase, finished with some simple ceramic stars or felt garlands to complete the look.
2. Cosy up your Christmas seating
Clearly, rushing out to buy an entirely new three-piece suite to tie in with your festive décor is a little too extravagant, but there are ways to give your existing soft furniture pieces a bit of a Christmas spruce up. If you’re lucky enough to already own an armchair or accent chair that’s in a red or green fabric, or – better still – upholstered in tartan, then this offers a perfect foil for a traditional or woodland alpine look. And if not, add in these colours and patterns via cosy wool cushions and throws. Chunky knits and herringbone will complement these beautifully and look out for accent pieces with antler or star designs to give a gentle festive nod. You can also use the same rules when it comes to your bedlinen, which would work wonderfully against a warm solid oak bedframe from Oak Furniture Land . Light some candles (in a deer candlestick holder, of course), spark up a fire, turn up the Christmas tunes and you’re all set.
3. Treat your table top
Christmas dinner inevitably means squeezing in extra guests around the dining table, so think creatively if you’re short on seating: by adding in a bench along one side could allow you to squeeze in a few extra people and has the bonus of giving a relaxed, less formal air. Or, if you do have extra chairs and worried about things looking too random, try and keep a common thread amongst them by opting for similar upholstery or wood finish, or keep the mismatched ones to the ends only. If you get the heights right, a sturdy lamp table topped with a cushion could even do the job, if that’s all you’ve got spare. For some inexpensive, quick fixes to jazz up your table top itself, look to nature: decorate a runner with chunky pine cones, conifer cuttings and some classic clove-studded clementine’s, then mix in the odd sparkly bauble for extra shimmer.
4. Get guest ready
Help any overnight guests feel more than welcome over the festive period by adding some thoughtful touches to their living space. If you’re putting them up in a spare bedroom, use the bedframe to add décor such as fairy lights or a pretty garland or, if they’ll be sleeping on a sofa bed, try fixing a trail of paper stars to the wall above it for a whimsical look, securing them in place with a couple of small nails (or, to avoid damaging walls, hold them in place with some Washi tape). If children are staying, ensure you’ve got a stocking already stowed at the end of the bed, so they can be certain Santa knows where to drop gifts off to. Don’t forget to add in a gorgeous candle votive featuring a favourite festive fragrance, to treat the senses.
5. Utilise display space
Who said cabinets were just for crockery?! Use a display cabinet, shelving unit or even a spare ledge to create a special yuletide display worthy of everyone’s Insta-feed. Gather together a selection of favourite festive ornaments such as reindeers and nutcrackers, along with less obvious decorative accessories like festive candlesticks and pots of seasonal flowering plants (try incorporating sweet scented blooms like hyacinths, paper whites and pretty violas). Get extra usage out of your Christmas tableware, too, by displaying statement crackers on a platter, or crank up the glamour of a simple bowl of fruit by dusting it with icing sugar for a snow-tinged look. Beaded garlands woven amongst your props will twinkle beautifully against warm candlelight and finish things off to perfection.
6. Help yourselves!
For a more informal gathering or if you’re hosting drinks and nibbles rather than a full dinner party feast, a drinks and nibbles station in the corner of your main living space can be a novel (and time-saving, for the host at least) addition to your entertaining area at Christmas. A sideboard or console table does just as good a job as a bar cart, so fill yours with bottles of drink, glasses, an ice bucket and any other accoutrements your guests might need, then simply point them in the right direction. Writing out a little menu of suggested drinks ‘recipes’ on a chalkboard offers a thoughtful touch and allows budding mixologists the chance to show off their skills. Alternatively, for a more family-friendly affair, consider setting up a Hot Chocolate Station instead, complete with bowls or mini marshmallows, a selection of drinks sprinkles and that all-important whipped cream.