A Christmas home
There are great advantages to an English winter.
There are no other seasons when ‘creating cozy’ is quite so luxuriously indulged, no other seasons when weekend pyjamary is entirely excused ….. no other seasons when we nostalgically display decade old ornaments with pride and eat our own weight in raisin-y bakes.
But the biggest advantage has to be enjoying a traditionally cold Christmas.
For me, styling at Christmas is about creating an interior that not only indulges our aesthetic whims but also indulges our senses, so that as well as reflecting our own unique style, our homes also offer us that additional layer of festive cheer.
5 Tips to Styling
A Christmas Home
1) Create a Cozy Christmas Home
Feeling cozy is part of a worldwide movement for improving mental health.
They call it hygge (and it’s not just for A Christmas Home).
If we allow ourselves to slow down, we will ultimately relax our physiology and reduce our adrenal stress responses. We know from mindfulness research that there are many health benefits to slowing down and being present in the moment.
Creating a cozy environment at Christmas is the perfect time to practice a bit of mindful hygge.
The warren affect. Layering the edges of our homes creates a magical sense of snug. This can be anything from installing twinkly lights and window boxes on the outside, to adding multiple window treatments such as blinds and curtains on the inside. Even a rubber backed flat door mat or flat weave runner at the entrance can act as a metaphorical line between the outside and inside, drawing on that sense of feeling ‘tucked in’.
Create a cozy environment. With a bit of planning, this can be achieved in even the smallest corner. Think dim lights and soft fabrics to wrap ourselves up in. Create ambience with table and floor lamps, rugs, throws and cushions. Add logs for seasonal interest and to spark that ancestral connection to firelight. Light the fire if you have one!
Add extra twinkly lights to your Christmas decorations collection and find something new to light up this year. Pine cones, berry branches or faux eucalyptus are good non-drop options to wrap wire lights around – or instead, curl them in with the oranges and apples or stick them to the underside of a mantle or shelf.
Embrace self-care. The hygge principle allows us to dedicate time to ourselves and give ourselves these joys and comforts as a gift. So sit back, relax and indulge in the warm fuzzies.
2) Bring the outside into your Christmas Home
There is always a place for fresh foliage inside and winter is no exception.
Like any other time of the year, provided we are able to keep cuts alive with an offering of water and light, bringing nature into the home does wonders for the soul.
Some winter foliage options are eucalyptus, ivy, mistletoe, thistle (eryngium), pine, spruce, cedar and magnolia. Combining white flowering stems such as lilies, white roses and gypsophila also adds a festive freshness.
Just a little aside on the Fake versus Real debate…I like to experience home in an interactive way and so find it goes against my instincts to use faux foliage.
Having said that…….there is So much activity going on in A Christmas Home and with so many temporary decorations being displayed in areas that have no easy access to water, I am coming around to the idea that there is a place for faux at Christmas.
However, in my experience it is better to choose one good investment per year and build on a collection rather than to compromise on quality and order several at once. We generally get what we pay for here.
(If you sit on my side of the fence, it can be more forgiving to use faux foliage side by side the fresh stuff or only where fresh stuff wouldn’t last the distance such as garlands and wreaths).
3) Curate the Christmas Home decs
Talking of fences – who sits on the side that redecorates after the kids have gone to bed?
My hand is raised here.
Ashamed but not regretful.
When you get your feel-goods from a homely interior what can you do?
Of course, the mulled wine normally goes on the stove on decorating day so I am able to cheer the girls on from the sidelines without a flinch as they brazenly throw home made gold sparkly joy haphazardly in the direction of the tree.
Assuming that you too are on my side of the fence, I have some good Christmas tips:
Treat non-tree dwelling Christmas decorations in the same way as you would a curated shelf by using height, depth and balance to add the occasional scene or festive garnish.
Streamline the Christmas decorations so that every room reaps the benefit rather than squeezing them all into one space.
In each case, allow for a focal point.
Less is often more.
4) Add meaning in details
For so many of us A Christmas Home is laden with meaning, tradition and history.
In keeping with this sense of occasion, the girls and I prefer to buy one new decoration each year instead of using multipacks (although admittedly, this year I had to buy a few more than one, to add to a much dwindled collection).
In this spirit, most of the Christmas decor has a story, a place or a memory attached to it. When the decoration box is opened it fills our home with the intention of tradition and the stories of Christmas’s passed.
In this way the littlest of details speak a thousand words.
5) Style a Christmas Home focal point
This is one of the most important rules of interior design.
A focal point gives a sense of structure and order to a space which not only looks easier on the eye but also provides a more restful environment.
This is never more important than when styling A Christmas Home, especially with the intention of creating a cozy atmosphere.
Focal points are easy to accentuate with Christmas decor if you already have a structural element such as a fireplace, or a mantle. If you don’t have a natural focal point try using a shelf with a mirror above, a sideboard with artwork above or a large windowsill to lay your festive wares.
Central focal points can also accentuate a festive atmosphere and are simple to create on a dining room or coffee table. Try installing an oversized candle holder with a circular garland or a tray of smaller candles with added winter foliage.
Whatever you choose be mindful of the rest of the room and limit competition with your chosen Christmas feature.
However, if you do choose to combine more than one large Christmas feature to work side by side in the same room (such as a tree and a mantle garland for example) try co-ordinating the content. This will create a more seamless feel and avoid a potential sensory overload.
Alternatively, when deciding which Christmas decor feature will win this years focal point competition, a trend still very much in favour with Nordic lovers is to include a bare or sparsely decorated tree as the runner up rather than the winner.
After Santa has been and eaten all the mince pies, don’t take down the twinkly lights straight away. A festive home is not just for Christmas but can see us right through the winter. Find out how to make the most of your time indoors with my free guide to Celebrating Winter.
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You might be interested to read other ‘5 tips on how to style your home’ articles from the Homing Instinct feature including Old and New, Neutral Living, Soulful Minimalism, Slow Cottage, Simple Vintage, Modern Eclectic, and Bold & Beautiful.
Further upcoming styles in the Homing Instinct feature, including links to their Pinterest board counterparts, can be found below in the Home Style Collection below.
The Home Style Collection
Bright bazaar, Kinfolk Home, Globally inspired, Scandi classic, Coastal Decor, Handmade Home, Beach Chic, Rustic Home, Easy contemporary, Thrifty Decor, Naturally inspired, Soulful minimalism, Modern Boho, Pale and interesting, Soft industrial, Simple Vintage, Muted mode