Deck the Halls and Walls with boughs of Holly: How to decorate your home for the festive season

Two strong childhood memories spring to mind when thinking of the Christmas season:
1. Listening to Nana Mouskouri’s festive cheer; and  
2.Decorating the house and tree when the calendar hit the first of December.  Now an adult with my own family I would never dare inflict the Greek songstress onto anyone, but have happily passed on the joy of decorating for Christmas to my kin.

Image 1: Family Christmas traditional

Those of my vintage will appreciate the choices we now have. When I was a child Christmas decorating equated to traditional green and red, with a spot of gold thrown in for good measure. Cross-stitch and macaroni tree decorations were treasured, and Santa sleigh motifs were aplenty. Today the decorative selection process can be a minefield and the traditions have definitely been relaxed.
So where do you start when there is so much choice?


Tap into your inner style and apply this to your festive selection process. Do you like the clean simplified Scandinavian look, or do you lean towards Hollywood Regency when dressing your home? Apply your underlying style to your festive styling and you will be able to create a cohesive look that works with your abode. It is best to go with a theme you are comfortable with using, otherwise the outcome can come out a little confused and remember to keep it simple especially if this is your first time decorating your home!

Image 2: Scandi Christmas style

Another approach is to select a few core colours you love and use this as the basis for selecting your festive decorative elements. This method can achieve a bold and effective look and is an easy one to implement. If you like to change your look often or plan to decorate your home I would advise you to select neutral tones and one core colour, this way you can easily update your look by swapping in a new core colour each time you want a change.

Image 3: Monochrome table setting


When orchestrating your theme, consider some of the elements and principles of design to create interest and depth. Using one type of material will keep your display one dimensional and will be visually flat. Think about the proportion of elements you are introducing to your display, ensure there are varying textures (glass, ceramic, wood, metal) and heights as well as creating a sense of movement through pattern, repetition or unity. By coupling elements and principals of design you will be able to create a dynamic visual feast for the eyes.

Image 4: Metallic Christmas style


Think of the rooms in your house/apartment/studio and where your eye is drawn to. These areas will welcome a burst of festive decoration. If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, it is usually screaming for some decorative elements. Other places to decorate could be your front window or living area, buffet or sideboard. You can also have fun in a child's bedroom (example within image below) My girls love helping me decorate and having a part of the decorative display in their bedroom which is just for them. You only need to introduce a few spots around the house, sticking to your theme to achieve a stylish flow of decorative elements that tells the tale of Christmas.

Image 5: Children's room fireplace setting.

A few Christmas decorations blended with other decorative elements of varying sizes and textures can make for a lovely pocket of interest. Lights and candles always bring warmth and Christmas cheer and can quickly elevate a styled display to incorporate that festive twist. But don't forget to introduce natural elements such as interesting shaped floral berries, native fauna or a bowl of cherries which don't necessarily sell the story of Christmas on their own, however, paired with other elements can make for an attractive festive display.

Image 6: Buffet display.


Image 7: Colourful Christmas display.

We are spoilt for choice when looking for new creative ways to decorate. Now is the time to make Instagram and Pinterest your friend. There are so many ideas out there which can help to create a whimsical or quirky decorative element which doesn't scream Christmas, but conveys the fun vibe the festive period promises. Best of all, someone else has done the leg work for you, you just need to follow their concise step by step instructions and hopefully not fail in the process.

Image 8: Christmas baubles in a box.

If all else, relax and enjoy the design process. Not everything has to be perfect and there is a place for that handmade elf/Santa or whatever else your child claims it to be. They made it with love so embrace it, well that is what I am going to try and run with. To quote my Christmas arch nemesis/angel Nana M "Tis the season to be jolly!", enjoy the magic that this season can bring and find the style that works best for you and run with it.

Mel Smith - Stylist at Evolve

Image credits
Headline Image: Festive table setting. Sugar & cloth via Instagram -

Image 1: Family Christmas traditional -

Image 2: Scandi Christmas style -

Image 3: Monochrome table setting. Styled and taken by Mel Smith

Image 4: Metallic Christmas style -

Image 5: Children's room fireplace setting. Styled and taken by Mel Smith

Image 6. Buffet display. Styled and taken by Mel Smith

Image 7: Colourful Christmas display. Christmas styling ideas - the society inc

Image 8: Christmas baubles in a box -

Evolve Styling Team