The founder of the company that bears her name, Susie Watson creates unique fabric designs, handmade furniture, pottery and home accessories, while also running a design service offering her uniquely English take on interiors to homeowners across the country.
We asked her for some of her decorating dos and don'ts at Christmas – from how to introduce color and what lighting to use, to how to bring a quintessential country-style touch to your festive scheme. Read on for her wonderful interior design tips, and get more Christmas decorating inspiration in our dedicated feature.
1. How to decorate for the holidays
Here, Susie advises what to do (and what to avoid) when decorating for Christmas.
- Try new textures and patterns. The warmth and vibrancy of kilim cushions and rugs are the perfect choice for this time of year.
- Layer your lighting. This includes wall lights and table lamps; try to bring additional comfort with colorful and textured shades.
- Blend old with new. A considered and inviting room manages to make even the newest item look like it’s been there forever.
- Consider fragrance. Gently spiced candles and a real tree are at the heart of that unforgettable festive scent we all want in our homes at Christmas.
And here are the elements Susie says you should avoid...
- Don't leave the table bare. A simple tablecloth creates the ideal backdrop for cosy suppers throughout the winter.
- Don't rule out faux flowers. Artificial blooms are attractive, more realistic nowadays and give you flexibility to mix and match varieties throughout the year.
- Don't become beholden to trends. Christmas is uniquely personal and bringing out the decorations year on year is part of its charm.
- Avoid bold, deep colors. They can be particularly striking in darker seasons, when we lose so much natural light.
- Check out these gorgeous country living room ideas for more decor inspiration
2. How to successfully mix new and old
Susie is a big fan of combining classic heirloom pieces with new additions. Here's her advice on how to make it work in your home.
- Create a sense of belonging. When buying new, think about going for something that is slightly aged-looking with natural character so it blends seamlessly.
- Invest in classic looks. The special pieces that will be loved and last a lifetime.
- Embrace different finishes to give a room character. It’s a myth that everything has to perfectly match.
- Start a tradition. A festive napkin, serving dish or decoration with a family history adds something special when brought out at Christmas.
And according to Susie, here's what not to do when mixing old with new pieces...
- Don't pay attention to trends or fads. Everything is cyclical anyway and will come back around – always choose what you love and forget about what’s in fashion.
- Don't be afraid to bid. Get to know your local auction house – you’ll often find interesting, unusual pieces that will surprise you.
- Don't save something for best. It’s sad to keep your nicest things tucked away in cupboards – dust off your china and enjoy using it everyday.
- Need some window dressing ideas? Take a look at these gorgeous country-style curtain ideas for living rooms
3. How to introduce countryside touches
Here's how to get a country-style look to your scheme, according to Suzie.
- Select natural fabrics. Choose cotton, linen and wool to connect with the natural world.
- Consider the wall color and fabrics together. Like painting a picture, you begin with a color wash – a paint or patterned wallpaper – and build from there.
- Take in the view. Create a harmonious scheme with colors and patterns that will accentuate scenes beyond windows and doors
....and here's what to avoid to ensure you add successful countryside touches to your scheme...
- Don't crowd your windows. Avoid layering fussy drapes and blinds.
- Don't pick colors that are artificial or garish. Instead go for earthy shades that have links to nature.
- Don't be cushion-shy. Find a hero piece with a countryside theme, then add others in complementing linens, silks and velvets.
- Don't use cold white light. It can often look somewhat clinical – for a cozier feel go for 2700 kelvin bulbs.