Expert advice: Christmas decorating tips

Interiors expert Alex Fulton shares her tips for DIY decorations, shopping on a budget and how to add Christmas cheer to your home

Copper fairy lights

Alex, how can readers shop to a budget, but still find great pressies?

Magic! No, not really… It comes down to the three G’s. Good planning, good management and good execution. The challenge with this is to know your buyee and stick to a plan. It’s easy to get sidetracked with shiny expensive things but when you are working to a plan you will have to be a vigilant taskmaster. As a Virgo I am very partial to a list or two so start with writing down everyone’s names you are buying for, an idea of what you want and a budget for each person.  The last thing you need is to be aimlessly wandering around the shops with no vision and plan. Maybe online shopping will help to keep you on track? A lot of online shops give you price options to search under which may help you with your spending.

Do you have any Christmas decorating tips for using what you already have around the house?

Pre-Christmas is a great time to de-clutter and sort out your current decoration stash.  This will be like giving yourself an early Christmas present and it will make you feel good about going into this silly season.  Sorting through old decorations early on will mean you can ditch broken and old ones and make a list (again) about what to replace.
A few years in a row I have made the mistake of buying fresh tinsel and now I have a huge build-up! This year I will organise first, and then buy second. I do feel like a forgetful goldfish each year opening up the Christmas box finding much-loved decorations and new ones I have forgotten I’d bought!

Where can we find some interesting and unusual Christmas decorations, rather than the usual run-of-the-mill options?

For anything crafty, it’s Pinterest without a doubt. There’s always a flurry of new ideas and ways of putting together decorations that helps to stimulate the creative Christmas juices. For more tangible objects I try and use common household things and give them a bit of a Christmas twist.  Replace standard light bulbs for coloured ones, use washi tape to candy stripe table legs, hang ornaments on places (other than the Christmas tree) like picture frames, kitchen handles, hanging light pendants, and in doorways.
A few years ago when I lost my bright red six-foot Christmas tree, I compromised and used a white coat rack instead. It’s a case of opening your eyes to what you have around you and getting your ‘creative on’. It’s only a short time in which to get creative so why not have a little fun with it? Another nifty idea is to create christmas vignettes (groups of objects) that will provide Christmas cheer whenever you pass them. These can be in fun and unexpected places such as bathrooms, laundries and entranceways. Also don’t forget to decorate bedrooms – nothing is off-limits for Santa!

Are there any Christmas themes/colour combos you’re loving that can easily be used to create a festive feel at home?

The options out there for Christmas designing are mind-blowing. Almost anything goes these days with neon, black and white and metallics. It’s up to you to choose a theme that reflects your style of living. I like to wheel out my old favourite decorations, from those I made when I was a little girl, to ones my daughters have made more recently, and then mix them up with new fun finds. It’s all very eclectic, which pretty much reflects how I design on normal days! It’s always fun to try unusual colour combinations rather than sticking to the traditional red, green and white.

My all-time, number one, go-to item for a festive feeling is fairy lights – you just can’t beat a string of lights to help bring that anticipation of Yule tidings.

Five quick ideas for adding Christmas cheer to your home…

  1. Homemade decorations made by children; they add colour, creativity and un-abandoned joy to your home.
  2. Try making a wreath for your front door. Hanging a welcoming touch of Christmas will make you and your
    visitors smile every time.
  3. Decorate your table gather candles, branches, tinsel and anything you can find to make a display that emanates Christmas joy. Even eating breakfast will feel festive!
  4. Make memories by creating family traditions like opening a present each on Christmas Eve or watching the same favourite movie together on Christmas morning.
  5. Don’t get too caught up in making everything ‘picture perfect’. Design for your home, your space and create a feeling that suits how you like to celebrate the holidays.

Words by: Alex Fulton

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