Catherine Wilkinson’s Christmas style: Understated and elegant

Discover the creative style of Your Home & Garden senior designer Catherine Wilkinson and see how you can achieve this fresh and festive look for Christmas


Catherine Wilkinson’s Christmas style: Understated and elegant

I have a new appreciation for all things fresh and white, reflected in my interior style this Christmas. I love adding flowers or foliage and texture and layers wherever I can to enhance the white tones in the house. I also love handmade elements, so I try to have a crack at making some decorations myself each year.

Friends and family are also an important part of the day, so I select a few Polaroid photos that I have collected over the years and peg them to the tree. It’s a nice way to make absent loved ones a part of Christmas.

Tree: I have always had a real tree, ever since I was a child. It’s a hassle getting rid of it every year but I love the smell. I have added some foliage to the tree to complement other tones of green throughout the house. (Tip: if the stems are long enough, you can wet-wrap each so the foliage lasts longer.) To decorate my tree I used a combination of handmade and bought decorations, plus Polaroid photos of my family and friends.


Decorations: A kind friend from Plump and Co gifted me this woollen wreath made by Pony McTate. I love the simple design, perfectly enhanced by the wool braiding. The talented Eden Hessell from The Botanist made a foliage cornerpiece using large pieces of conifer, which I have hung in the doorway. On the wall behind, I hung a Father Rabbit framed print of a pine cone; it’s not obviously Christmas-themed so it can be featured all year.

Presents: This year I’ve gone for white paper with white string and white gift tags. I often add some foliage, but this doesn’t last long with my cats!


Food/entertaining: Candles, foliage, layering and simplicity are important to me when laying a table. Here I’ve added a length of brown paper as a runner – this breaks up the white and also protects the tablecloth. I have never been a fan of things being too perfect, so some random jars and vases are always a go-to.

Candles, foliage, layering and simplicity

are important to me when laying a table

It’s nice to create vertical layering, so I use a mixture of different-sized candles to achieve this. Dedicated areas in the house set up for different stages of entertaining work well, and it’s always good to start or finish with drinks on the deck.

Outdoors: I like to bring the same look and feel outside as I have inside, using textured pillows and throws, a woven rug and a little ornamental Christmas tree.


Get the look

On table: White enamel knife, $24, and fork, $12, from Nest; brass and marble candlestick holders, from $24.99, from Alex & Corban; Richard Hutten brass candlesticks, from $188, from Simon James Concept Store; linen tablecloth, $149, and linen napkins, $59, both from Nest. On wall: Paper Collective print, $115, from Father Rabbit; woollen handmade wreath, a Pony McTate collaboration with Plump & Co, $249, from Walls painted in Resene ‘Sea Fog’.

Outdoor setting: Mimosa four-piece outdoor sofa setting, $1249, from Bunnings; Anton 50cm table, $599, from Dawson and Co; Anton 40cm table, $449, from Nest; Abrigo cushion, $74.95, from Freedom; Castillo cushion, $64.95, from Freedom; Bronx cushion, $69.99, from Alex & Corban; pom pom blanket, $350, from Republic; Pony braid rug, $1820, from Nodi; tray, $129, from Nest; Menu glassware, $28 each, from Simon James Concept Store; wooden board, $59, from Nest; classic Christmas tree, $49.99, from Alex & Corban.

All other items, Catherine’s own: dining table, a hand-me-down; dining chairs from Nood; Turkish towel, a gift; plates from Farmers; jars collected over the years; bookshelves from Target; tree decorations bought or made; chair, a vintage find; Gidon Bing prints on floor, a gift; foliage cornerpiece made by Eden Hessell of The Botanist; hat from Father Rabbit; orchid potted by Catherine; cabinet from Trade Me and refurbished.

Photography by: Wendy Fenwick.

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