Tuesday, 11 December 2012

How to: decorate for Christmas

Having just got back from my annual Christmastime trip to Germany (this time not just with husband and little Pie but also with parents-in-law in tow and to the most fabbest KinderHotel ever...more on that another time) I am, it has to be said, EXTREMELY, very much so in the festive spirit! I have over-consumed on Gl├╝hwein, cinnamon related baked goods and sausages, I have over-shopped decorations and examined all the stunning and creative decorative designs I cast my eyes on during the five days in gloriously snowy Willingen. 


After snowfall by the river in Willingen

The best decorated Weihnachtsmarkth├╝tte I've ever seen
So watch out peeps here's a mega download of things I've seen and loved, hints and tips to help you decorate your home as well as great decorative products that you can find out there on the high street.


My collection of decorative purchases whilst away

For those of you who may already know me, you’ll know that I’m not one for following trends. I don’t see the point in copying a look just to be ‘in’ or buying an object for the home just because it’s supposedly ‘on-trend’. Instead I advocate buying something because you love it, because it makes you smile, because it will enhance the look you have already spent time and effort creating in your home. So why do anything different at Christmas? Part of the fun of decorating at this time of year is annually increasing your collection of decorations. Over the years your tastes may change but you can easily enhance your existing box of baubles, garlands and decorations with a bit of clever shopping, some crafty DIY and without spending a fortune. I went a bit mad this year as Germany was full of the kinds of things I was looking for to create my...

...Natural Winterland
Generally my Christmas style is inspired by Scandinavia and Germany whereby it is simple and understated with lots of nature inspired elements and plenty of candlelight. (I'll post piccies of my own decs once I've finished them all later this week...just one more table centrepiece, outdoor decor and a felted wreath to make...)

Such clever and creative decor ideas
If you like the style of a ‘natural winterland’ theme then your ‘go to’ box of festive decorative materials will need to be stocked with the following;
  • silvered glass, metallic and white baubles, votives & decorations 
  • twigs, fir, pine cones, wood & moss all collected on woodland walks
  • snowflake, star, deer & fir tree shapes
  • decorative sand & felt
  • glitter & spray can paint
  • candles, candles, candles!

Makes me want to be a fairy in an enchanted wood!

The colour palette I like to keep to is a mixture of snowy whites, silvery greys, nature’s greens and birch wood.

Your Decorating Plan - less than two weeks til the 25th!
First of all, clear the decks and by that I mean have a bit of a sort out, clear away the clutter and put away decorative accessories on your surfaces to make way for your Christmas ones. Have a bit of a clean and you’re ready to transform your home.

  1. Create deco-zones within rooms and focus the theme in one or two areas to create atmosphere by grouping items together or use fuller looking, smaller arrangements. This is much more effective than spreading your decorations out thinly. I love decorating the entire house in this way instead of confining it all to the living and dining room.
  2. Try moving the tree somewhere other than than where you have traditionally placed it. Put it in the hall for maximum impact or if you have a dining kitchen, place it in the corner to create the perfect setting for Christmas lunch. Small changes can make a big difference to how you go about decorating your home
  3. Spray branches and foliage with white, silver and glitter spray paints, stand them in vases with fir cones and moss in the base and then hang delicate decorations from a few branches. If you don’t have space for a Christmas tree, why not make this your key feature and string sparkling lights around the branches too
  4. Instead of sticking things to the walls why not decorate surfaces, stair bannisters and fireplaces. For a magical, suspended look hang decorations from the ceiling with transparent jewelry wire on small metal hooks. Once Christmas is over you won’t have any unsightly cellotape and blu-tak marks left on your walls.

Make It Yourself - festive decor simple & affordable

A little bit of homespun to personalise your decor by adding your own twist is very much a part of what Christmas is about. A little bit of effort and creativity makes all the difference and your home will look all the more beautiful for it. Here are a couple of ideas that you might like to try at home and as with all of my DIY creations they won’t break the bank.

1. Wrapping paper frames


You will need
  • empty picture frames (any shape or size)
  • plain wrapping paper
  • pretty ribbon
  • felt shapes and/or stickers (snowflakes, hearts or anything festive)
  • sticky tape
How to make: 
  • remove the back panel from the frame
  • wrap the back panel in wrapping paper (so that when you put the panel back on you see the wrapping paper through the glass)
  • lay on lengths of ribbon across the paper to give the effect of it being tied in ribbon stick the ends of the ribbon with tape on the rear side
  • embellish with felt shapes and or stickers
  • place the panel back on the frame and you will have a ‘picture’ of a wrapped Christmas present to hang on the wall!

2. Sprayed pear place settings


You will need:
  • old sheets of newspaper
  • pears (choose firm ones, not ripe so they last a couple of weeks)
  • ribbon
  • tag
  • pen
  • PlastiKote Silver Metallic spray paint
How to make:
  • always spray in a well ventilated room, although I prefer to do it outside and cover the spray area with newspaper 
  • following instructions on the can, apply one or two fine layers of paint. This should be touch-dry in 30 mins, thoroughly dry in 24 hours
  • write out the name labels
  • attach labels to pear stalk with ribbon and you have quick to make place settings for your guests, just don’t let them eat the pears!

Quick Christmas Decorative transformations
  • Painting your own giant 3-D Christmas tree from Letterfest is a great way to be creative in a contemporary, eco-friendly way. First decorate the tree using paint, stickers, wrapping paper and your imagination, then pop out the tree shape, baubles, stars and base et voila!
3D cardboard Christmas tree, Letterfest
  • Light a scented candle and infuse your home with the glorious smells of Christmas. Ooh that spicy warmth of cinnamon with a hint of cloves that hits your nose within seconds of lighting a Yankee Candle Sparkling Cinnamon jar, there is no better smell at this time of year! 
Mmm Cinnamon! Yankee Candle

  • Snuggle up with a few new cushions and throws in your living room. This colourful cotton collection from Pure Lana introduces Scandinavian reds, whites and greys without being overly festive, so you can use them throughout the season. However if you do want some specifically festive soft furnishings, my favourite this year has to be Jan Constantine’s Alpine collection. Seriously warm wool felt, patterns featuring skiers, fir trees and snowflakes and in a red,white and pale blue colour palette this range makes all my snuggling wishes come true.
Snuggle Up, Pure Lana

Creative Christmas Gift Wrap
Continuing the theme of nature, a great, simple yet so effective form of gift wrap is to use brown parcel paper, overlaid with white spot transparent cellophane and decorated with red and green washi tapes and felt embellishments. Easily picked up in craft shops or online, these items allow you to be creative, designing personalised wrap without spending loads on ready printed wrap. 
Another incredibly unique alternative would be to wrap gifts in Wrag Wrap. Made in beautiful 100% traceable recycled polyester it is easy to use, can be used over and over and, good for the planet, it eliminates the wasteful use of paper.

Snap, crackle & wrap, Wrag Wrap

When all is said and done, the most important thing about decorating for Christmas is that the process of doing it is fun (I always have carols on and drink an eggnog or hot chocolate whilst at work!) and that the end result makes you, your family and your guests feel all festive, relaxed and happy. Merry Christmas one and all!

Cheers!
I'll be back in the next few days with piccies of my Christmas decorations this year - my first time decorating a rented house and having to buy a much smaller tree! 

Have fun decorating *smile*

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Pics of Germany look amazing. Can't wait to see more pics later this week. Fab ideas Katey as usual! X

    ReplyDelete