Decking the halls with quick fixes

A paper bauble garland is a cheap yet chic way of adding some last-minute yuletide cheer to a room.
A paper bauble garland is a cheap yet chic way of adding some last-minute yuletide cheer to a room.

SOUTHSEA GREENHOUSE: Enjoying an early harvest

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Left decking the halls until the last minute? Don’t worry if you’re short of time or cash – there’s a sleighful of easy ways to conjure a seasonal atmosphere, as GABRIELLE FAGAN reveals.

If your home’s still a festive-free zone, or despite your best efforts still hasn’t got top-of-the-tree style, there’s no need to panic.

A beautifull-decorated home is within reach; all that’s needed is a little imagination, a willingness to get handy with some scissors, glue and paper, and a small outlay on a few well-chosen Christmas accessories.

‘We’re all so busy at this time of year that decorations can be left to the last minute, or maybe have to be kept to the minimum if you’re on a tight budget,’ says Anita Kaushal, interiors specialist and co-author of FamilyLifeStyle Home.

‘Luckily, “less is more” is the recipe for seasonal success, because it’s about making beautiful but simple statements.

‘That can be a traditional tree hung with home-made, hand-painted baubles, or simply windows made seasonal with baubles hung on cord, or strings of paper decorations made by the children.

‘Those personal touches won’t just add colour and character, they’ll make your festive setting unique.’

Follow our guide to stunning last-minute touches for rooms that will have Santa coming to town.

BRANCH OUT

If you haven’t the space for a large, bushy tree, or don’t want to make that sort of statement, embrace the trend for slimmed-down ‘size zero’ trees, with slender trunks and bare branches.

‘There are a lot of naked trees around this year,’ says TV presenter and crafts queen Kirstie Allsopp.

‘It’s definitely a trend, and is for those who are confident in their taste and like something alternative and design-led.

‘If you’ve having a minimalist twig thing, then you put very small, very delicate decorations on it.

‘One of the reasons Scandinavian decorations look so beautiful is because they’re so understated, and those Scandi trees do work well with just a few decorations.

HANG ‘EM HIGH

Set baubles free from the tree and you’ll be amazed at their power to bring razzle-dazzle to rooms.

‘Buy invisible wire thread, or fishing line, and attach to a window frame so you can hang baubles from it.

‘Or use brightly coloured satin and velvet ribbon, cut to different lengths, and hang them from chandeliers and curtain rails,’ says Kaushal.

‘Be generous for maximum impact and keep to a colour theme – ideally using two bright colours and then contrasting with black or fashionable metallics, such as gold and copper.

‘A tinsel or ribbon bow at each end of a strand adds a luxury touch.’

ONWARDS & UPWARDS

Ensure your visitors’ first impression is a festive one.

Dress the stairs with a garland on a banister rail, or hang cards on a string down its length to create a sense of nostalgia.

‘Equally decorative are tiny gift-wrapped boxes suspended on silk ribbon.

‘For extra sparkle, spray with glitter paint.

‘Then intersperse with Christmas cards, clipped with pegs, or get children to write their own festive messages, using glitter pens on plain gift tags or luggage labels, for a charming touch,” says Kaushal.

‘For a different interpretation, and if the tread of the stair is wide enough, have a garland securely anchored on to the wall side of the stairs.

‘Intersperse with battery-operated candles or tea lights.’