Discover how to decorate for Christmas like an interior designer this festive season

As the holiday season rolls in, homes all over the world come alive with sparkling lights and a light dusting of magic. Twinkling windows light up those long winter nights as though the stars have been borrowed from the sky. It is the only time when a home gets as dressed up as the people occupying it. While the joy of Christmas decorations alone is enough for so many, those with a designer's eye will often look for something a little different. Maybe this year will be the time you decorate your home like a pro? Let’s look at how the professional interior designers do it, and how you can adopt that effortless touch in your designs.

Understanding the mindset of an interior designer

To decorate like an interior designer, the first step is to think like one. A designer will never rush in and will always approach a design with a vision. Before selecting or arranging your decorations, think about a theme or style you want to achieve? Are you aiming for a minimalist urbane style or a traditional cosy feel? Then plan how you will balance each space and create cohesion across the home. In order to create a particular ambiance, the design must work in harmony across all elements. Choosing a distinct direction will set the tone for the rest of your decorating process.

Colour palette: the foundation of your design

A good first step is to establish a colour palette to guide all subsequent decorating decisions. If you want to create something unique and different to the norm, think about seasonal shades that may be a little unusual. Maybe it's a monochromatic scheme with snowy layers of whites and creams, or perhaps you want opulent and luxurious tones like gold, emerald and ruby? Whatever palette you choose, make it flow through your home for a unified look.

Balance & Proportion

The same rules that apply to interior design in the home, office or restaurant will also apply when it comes to Christmas decorations. Balance and proportion are two principles that can make or break a concept so think of combining large statement pieces with smaller, more intricate decorations. For example, if you have a large Christmas tree, consider using simpler decorations throughout the room to allow the tree to stand out without overwhelming the space. And even at Christmas, sometimes less is still more.

Layers & texture

For a tactile experience, combine materials such as luscious velvets, soft furs, and natural woods. Consider adding festive throw cushions and blankets, creating centrepieces with varying textures, and don't forget the stockings, choose ones with embroidery or beading for an added touch of refinement.

Lighting is key

This is where some people really go wild, and while it is an opportunity to get creative with string lights and illuminated decorations, there are ways to get the most out of a lighting scheme. Softer warm light temperatures work better with rich colour schemes and traditional designs where cold blue lights will compliment a minimalist icy scene. When lighting a tree, test your lights first to ensure you are not using clashing lights but in general, a warm glow and candles and lanterns will create that cosy, christmassy feeling.

Unique touches in interior design

An interior designer understands that a house does not become a home until personal touches are included. If you have a family heirloom in your decoration box, give it pride of place on the tree or mantel piece. Christmas is about family and the people we love and this can be easily extended into your decorations.

Eco-friendly and elegant

Sustainability should not be forgotten during the season. It may be tempting to buy cheap decorations in bulk but eco-friendly decorations such as wooden ornaments, reusable fabric gift wrap, and LED lights will last longer, they also come in numerous stylish options. Let your charity at Christmas be to the planet. 

The Christmas Table Decoration

The main event is the Christmas dinner so give your table all the love it deserves. Make a beautiful centrepiece, overlay table linens, and select dinnerware that matches your colour scheme. Go big and think luxury. The table setting is a great place to make a statement and try out new decorative pieces.

Interior Design finishing touches

It’s all in the detail and the finishing touches can be the final flourish that truly elevates your decoration scheme. Whether it is garland, ribbons, candles or indeed seasonal fragrances. Think of the senses and remember the magic.

Follow the Learning Path to progress in Interior Design

Decorating for Christmas may spark an interest in creating beautiful spaces, and what better way to enhance that interest than with formal study? Our Interior Design Academy has a variety of courses to meet every level of knowledge and expertise. Whether you're a novice trying to master the basics or an established designer looking to enhance your abilities, we provide the direction and skills needed to flourish in the world of interior design. Our courses cover everything from colour theory and textile selection to space planning and interior spaces.

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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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