How interior designers decorate at Christmas

We asked our favourite designers and makers to share their seasonal secrets

Festive flair
Photography/Paul Raeside
(Image credit: Future)

There so many ways to style your home to celebrate Christmas, and yet it can be all too easy to get stuck in a design rut.

We've spoken to a few of our favorite tastemakers about how they create a festive scene in their own homes to give you extra ideas and inspirations straight from the designers themselves.

Once you've explored these, make sure to read up on the Christmas tree trends 2020, too.

1. Start at the front door

Festive flair Mel Yates

(Image credit: Future)

Start the decorating the second your home comes into view, with a festive wreath.

‘A gorgeous wreath on the front door always sets the tone. We like to keep it natural and we’ll often reuse a great twiggy wreath, adding different foliage each time,' advise Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock, Founders, Turner Pocock

If you're not one for creating a new wreath each year, you can inject seasonal scents into a faux design. Weave through a few sprigs of fir, eucalyptus and even stalks of berries for extra depth and a hit of natural beauty. Simply pluck out and replace when they dry up.

Explore our Christmas wreath ideas to find your perfect design

Don't forget that wreaths look just as striking on internal doors, so have fun with placing them around your home, too. 

2. Deck the hall... and the staircase

Festive flair Michael Sinclair

Photography/Michael Sinclair

(Image credit: Future)

Whatever type of staircase you have in your home, it can become a festive focal point to greet guests.

‘Deck the entire staircase with faux fir garlands and hang as many decorations as possible from the to create a sense of depth and color,' says Tom Gosling, Founder, Gosling

And interest and personality to these designs by mixing and matching with new and old.

'I like to buy vintage ornaments - I found some beautiful glass mushrooms for the fireplace in an antiques shop a few years ago and they always turn heads.'

3. Pay special attention to the table

Festive flair Emma Lee

Photography/Emma Lee

(Image credit: Future)

Tablescaping is without a doubt one of the biggest interiors trends of the year and it's set to hit a peak with the Christmas festivities. 

There are so many design styles you can go with, so start early by having a play on your dining table to see how your pieces work together. Remember to consider the lighting in advance, too - candles can change the look of the scene rather dramatically, and from a safety perspective can also affect where you can place foliage and other decorations.

‘I tend to acquire a new set of plates and glasses every year, so the Christmas table always feels different,' reveals William Yeoward. 'I also love candles and use them liberally all over the house, even on each step of the stairs.’ 

‘Effort put into a table setting really does go a long way,' says Bridie Hall, Designer and Decorative Artist. 'Turn off the lights, burn lots of colorful dinner candles and adorn the full length of the table with favorite flowers. Handwritten place cards are a nice touch - even better when crafted by little ones.’ 

Take a look at the interior designer's guide to Christmas table ideas

‘Tablewise, our preference is always a white Irish linen cloth with as many candles as possible, their bases wrapped in red ribbon, and an assortment of foliage foraged from the garden,' say Russell Pinch and Oona Bannon, Pinch Design

'We also like to suspend a light tree branch above the table and dress it with a selection of baubles, handmade fairies or greenery.’ 

4. Mix metallics and vintage crystal with foliage

Festive flair Chris Everard.jpg

(Image credit: Future)

Layer up fresh foliage, vintage crystal and delicate decs for a nod to the traditional Christmas. Touches of metallics will keep the scheme on the contemporary side.

‘I adore using vintage crystal at Christmas – it reminds me of my glamorous grandmother,' interior designer Natalia Miyar tells us. 'I mix it with modern favorites and plenty of foliage for a one-of-a-kind table. I like tableware in warm metallic tones and a fold linen cloth to create depth and subtle shimmer.'

‘I like to dress my home with delicate, twinkly decorations. Illuminated foliage and wreaths, garlands and baubles are all part of the natural Nordic Noel we enjoy year after year.’ Lucy Uren, Co-Founder, Rowen & Wren

Add some natural decor with our guide to how to look after a poinsettia

5. Don't neglect the garden

Garden lighting at Christmas

Garden Lighting, Lights4Fun

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

Why stop with the house? Gardens are prime real estate for Christmas decorating and, no, we don't mean light up deer or a kitsch Santa on the roof.

‘We live in a cottage, so I tend to go small on foliage and big on fairy lights. Outside, we cover the apple trees in white lights – always warm yellow rather than cool white. Inside, I like to dress the table beautifully, I put antiqued mirror tiles down the center and cover them in tealights. The reflections in the aged glass are magical.’ Vanessa Barneby, Barneby Gates

Discover more outdoor Christmas decoration ideas 

Thea Babington-Stitt
Content Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is a Content Editor at Future. She has been an interiors journalist for nearly 10 years and has held positions at LivingEtc, Country Homes & Interiors and Homes & Gardens. Currently, she is writing for Ideal Home and Style At Home's websites and magazines.