The festive season is well and truly underway, bringing with it the annual host of dinner parties, Christmas drinks celebrations, surprise pop-ins and gift exchanges. At Pfeiffer Design, we’re hard at work prepping for the first dinner party of the season, as well as our staff Christmas party, both of which are taking place this week. As professional interior designers, we take decorating for Christmas very seriously! Read on to discover some of our top tips for decorating your home, ready to receive guests at a moment’s notice throughout the festive season.
Keep it Curated
It’s so tempting at this time of year to go BIG on Christmas decoration: multiple trees, colourful lights, gingerbread houses, nativity scenes, tinsel, wreathes, candy canes, Father Christmases, reindeer statues – you name it; it’s out there. Try to be curated when it comes to your Christmas decorations, think up a theme well in advance and stick to it. This year we’re going for a very neutral green theme, using soft pools of candle and fairy lights to add warmth. Other themes that work particularly well are black and gold, silver and green, and blue and white. Try to restrain yourself and remember to stick to your predetermined colour theme to avoid your decorations looking gaudy.
Group Your Decorations
The gallery wall principal applies here too. Instead of feeling like you have to deck all of the halls, why not stick to just one or two? Dining and living rooms are a good place to start. Use your Christmas tree as a point to rally around and decorate out from there, perhaps hanging some foliage above the mantlepiece or trailing up a staircase. Work with what you have, if you’re in a small flat don’t feel like you have to decorate every corner – perhaps some wrapped shoeboxes under the tree and a wreath on the front door is enough. Adapt your decorations to suit your individual needs and available space. Closely grouped decorations in a single room will be much more effective than a sparsely decorated whole home.
Utilise Mood Lighting
The lower light this time of year is absolutely perfect for creating a cosy festive room and really setting the scene. Spend as much as you can afford on warm white fairy lights and candles and keep them lit as often as you can. This is not the time to be using your overhead spot lights – keep the room lit in soft glowing pools and use floor and table lamps where needed for additional light for reading.
Keep Treats and Special Drinks on Hand
Over the festive season you just never know when someone will be popping round for tea or a gift exchange. Make sure you’ve always got something deliciously festive to offer: mince pies and fruit cake work wonderfully, they last for ages without refrigeration or too much consideration for storage. Seasonal paper napkins provide an easy way to update your table without having to have Christmas themed crockery and glassware. Try to give everything a seasonal twist: pick up some spiced looseleaf tea to offer to guests as an alternative to English breakfast, work on a festive cocktail list, and serve cake with a dusting of icing sugar and a sprig of holly on the side.
Don’t forget that this is the busiest time of year for most people’s social calendars. Planning a Christmas soiree? Send out your invitations as soon as possible and be prepared that even inviting people in August can result in some negative RSVPs. Likewise, in terms of decorations, try to come up with your theme as soon as possible – even up to a year in advance. Christmas decoration and lighting tends to go on sale directly after Christmas – so don’t be afraid to stock up in January for the following Christmas. Crazy? Just well prepared. Plan the Christmas food shop as soon as you possibly can and have it delivered, if possible. Ocado start taking Christmas orders in the summer, so get it out of the way and save the last minute corner shop panic to the small stuff. It’s not a bad idea to have some small wrapped Christmas gifts or chocolates to hand too – just in case someone unexpected pops round with a gift.
It’s easy to get so caught up in the decorating and hosting at this time of year and forget that what really matters is spending quality time with friends and family and getting a well-deserved break from everyday routine. If your decorations aren’t perfect, your homemade mince pies are a complete disaster, and there’s still a pile of the family’s shoes at the front door, don’t sweat it. It’s way more important to relax and enjoy yourself than to have the perfectly decorated home, and find yourself tightly wound the entire festive season.
We thought we’d end by sharing a few photos of our festive dining room set up, all ready for the first dinner party of the season. Hopefully they inspire you to create something equally simple and effective – happy holidays from all of us at Pfeiffer Design!
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