Matching your Christmas decorations to your home decor.

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Christmas is now fast approaching and it won't be long until we're trying to find time to make our homes even more cosy and inviting, and finding space for all the seasonal goodies that adorn our houses. In this blog I'll explain how you can get Christmas ready without compromising home design.

Decorating your home for the festive period is different for every household. We all have our own traditions when it comes to that time of year.

In our house the decorating of the tree always takes place late afternoon accompanied by either a Richard Curtis film, usually "Love Actually" or, in more recent years, a Disney classic… I wonder what the film of choice will be this year?! There is sherry, part of the Christmas ritual that I have inherited from my Mum and Grandmother (though truth be told, it also happens whilst cooking Sunday roast too!),with plenty of pop corn, satsumas and mince pies also consumed.

Some families have an eclectic mix of decorations on their tree that they have been collecting and adding to for years, whilst others like a more simple and contemporary look. One thing I have noticed, and been called in to help with before, is that when we decorate or revamp our interior furnishings we often don't think about updating our Christmas decorations until we unearth them from the loft mid December. We then realise they looked great in the old living room but really don’t go with the new look... and then there’s another shopping project on the "to do" list!

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Having worked for many years designing, dressing and styling all things Christmas, here are the things I would consider when buying a new tree and decorations …

- Trees come in all shapes and sizes. There are some fabulous slim line ones available if space is a premium. And if a green tree isn’t going to look great in your room consider a coloured or a snowy one which dulls down the intensity of the greenness.

- As a guide you need 30 lights per foot of tree, so a 6ft high tree will require at least 180 lights.

- Generally I would suggest using 3 different colours for decorations, picking up on the main furnishings colours in your room. Any more and it can start looking a bit messy. Unless you are going for a colourful rainbow of decorations. If this is your intention just make sure your colours are all equal in brightness (ie. all bright primary colours or all pastels) and have an even number of the decorations in each colour.

- Make sure you have decorations in varying sizes.

- Don’t forget to buy tree hooks! How many times have you gone to hang the baubles, only to realise you don’t have enough hooks and then start scrabbling around looking for spare paper clips?

- Your gift wrapping will also look great if it co-ordinates with your colour scheme. If you are mindful about recycling do remember that any shiny, metallic or glittered paper isn't recyclable. I'm a big fan of brown paper decorated with natural elements and ribbon or the odd ginger bread man or candy cane, all of which can be recycled or better still eaten!

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When it comes to dressing your tree here are my hints and tips…

- If you are using an artificial tree take plenty of time to spruce up the branches when you take it out of the box.

- Always put your lights on first having tested that they still work.

- Once you have loosely placed the lights on the tree, turn them on whilst you then position them and tweak them into place on each branch. This will help you see where the gaps are and where to spread them out. Make sure they are positioned into the middle of the tree as well as around the edges of the branches.

- Place the bigger decorations on the tree first, then medium, and then small ones to fill the gaps.

- Remember to keep standing back to check that the decorations are evenly distributed and place them into the middle of the tree as well as around the back even if it is standing against a wall.

- My 8 year old daughter also has a small tree in her bedroom where she can unleash her own creativity and decorate it with all the gorgeous decorations she's made over the years. She loves this and it means there is no conflict of interest about the look and feel of our main tree!

Kelly West