That festive style
IF you've been experiencing a warm fuzzy feeling lately, it's probably because Christmas is on its way and it will either be a result of sheer panic or uncontrollable excitement.
Whether you embrace the festive season or turn into a Scrooge, there is no escaping the Christmas shopping, present wrapping and putting up the decorations. Make your Christmas one to remember this year by planning in advance and being prepared. Here's my guide on how to set the scene for Christmas.
The thing I look forward to the most is spending time with friends and family. So, it is important that your home looks its best, ready for when your special visitors arrive.
Let's start with the essential ingredients; table and chairs.
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There are so many options available to you, depending on the style of your home, be it classic, contemporary or traditional. From antique shops to High Street chains, there's an option out there for every taste and every budget. In fact, you can pick up a brand new table and chairs for under £300 on the High Street if you like in the right places! Or, if your dining table is still in tip-top condition but the chairs are looking a little weathered, why not put your creative skills to the test and reupholster your chairs with a beautiful fabric?
Now, to ensure the bottoms of your guests are as comfortable as can be, why not treat them to a cushion each. The cushions must of course complement the chosen colour scheme of your dining area.
Undoubtedly the most creative part of this process will be dressing the table.
Before you make any purchases, decide upon a theme. Make sure it's consistent throughout and in keeping with your existing decor. For a traditional look and feel, why not get the children or grandchildren involved? Help them to bake and decorate gingerbread men, make edible napkin rings and prepare clove-studded oranges finished with pretty red bows. These little touches are fun to make, they look great and will give the day a truly special, personal feel. It will also keep the little ones occupied for a few hours. Another fun and creative exercise the kids can get involved with is making scrolls for the table. Simply photocopy old sheets of music, dab with used tea bags, burn the sides with a candle and roll up and ribbon — easy-peasy and you can be rest assured your guests will be overwhelmed with all the effort that's gone into these hand-made extras.
If, however, your home follows a strictly modern theme, decorate the tree and table with clear glass baubles. Place a long vase in the centre of the table and simply fill with an array of glass baubles; it's a quick and easy way to make an impact.
Whatever theme you decide to go with, make sure it runs consistently throughout the home.
Next to think about is colour. Gold, silver and red are always popular at Christmas but if you want to shake things up a little this year why not make a bold gesture and choose a more contemporary colour such as a dark petrol blue or deep mulberry? Black table and glassware would look incredibly en-vogue on a crisp white table cloth.
If you want your guests to ooh and aah, really go to town by investing in the following items: plain but pretty table cloth, decorative table runner, cotton napkins and napkin rings, charger plates, a classic tableware set, new cutlery, a candle or two for the centre of the table and last but certainly not least, champagne flutes and wine glasses. Don't worry if you're wine glasses don't match. It only becomes noticeable when there is just one odd one out. If you're planning to carve the turkey on the table, it might also be nice to have a large, wooden block for it to sit on.
Here's a little tip if you struggle to find the perfect table cloth to tie in with your chosen theme. A single or double bed sheet will work just as well and you'll be able to select almost any colour under the sun.
Like most areas of interior design, it's the little things that will have the biggest impact and with Christmas décor, the more detail the better.
If you can't afford to go out and buy brand new pieces, ask your friends what they've got lying around. You'll be surprised how many people hoard decorations and Christmassy tableware so they'll probably be grateful if you take them off their hands. Car boot sales are also ideal for finding quirky bits and pieces.