AdviceGuest posts

Christmas decorating tips – guest post by Abigail Ahern

I love Christmas. Not so much the crowded shops and the pressure of conjuring up the most amazing food, for me it’s more about adding some festive spirit to the house – glamming it up so it looks sparkly and inviting.

There are a number of things I do year on year again, which add instant kudos to a space as well as not costing the earth. There is enough expense going on already I reckon, with presents and food and booze, so these ideas are quick, easily to implement and will look like you’ve just hired the coolest decorator in town (me obviously)!


The first thing that you and any visitors entering the house will notice is its smell. Scent is so neglected in areas like hallways where we simply transition through, yet it sets the tone.

Whilst I am a fan of scented candles a far cheaper option is to plop various herbs and scented foliage – like eucalyptus – around the house. It will last up to two weeks, especially if you go for thyme, rosemary and bay, and it will smell amazing. I use t-light holders and pop them all over the place, from the hall to the loo! Being small they don’t need vast amounts of foliage to fill them and they smell wondrous!

If you want your house to be permeated with the most amazing scent just before guests arrive, fake it (but don’t let on)! Pop a cinnamon stick in a pot of boiling water and keep it simmering for 30 mins before they arrive.  Your house will smell amazing!


Add sparkle

Tinsel up your pad. I know tinsel gets a bad wrap but in isolation it can look pretty cool and super glam. I seek out the gold stuff and tie it around things like my dog lights – it’s a like a big sparkly collar and it adds a sweet festive touch. I also hang it off doorknobs, wrap it around the banisters, again in isolation rather than all over the place, it feels a lot more sophisticated.

Add as many t-lights as you can to mantles, tables, shelves, particularly when dusk falls. I opt for t-light holders in warm ambers and pinks so the light coming through is magical. Oh and I string fairy lights everywhere – over mirrors, mantles door frames, kitchen islands it feels so festive – I love it! In fact I keep many of my fairy lights year round, both inside and out.

When it comes to decorating the tree I am minimalist to the extreme. I always opt for real ones, generally blue spruce as the colour is amazing and the needles are thick and fat. I’m not the biggest fan of decorating them with baubles, but this decorating lark is personal so do exactly what you love. I string fairy lights all over mine and wham bam it’s done. On the kitchen island I buy a little bay tree string it with fairy lights and not only does it smell amazing, come January, outside it goes!

fairy lights

Table settings

Food looks better served on darker plates and the best tip I ever got from a catering company was to use roofing slate as platters. At £3 a pop (available from most DIY stores), it’s cheap as anything and will make cheeses, salads you name it look fantastic. Plus they are huge so you can put the entire turkey on there should you so wish.


Stuck for something to wrap your napkins in? I raid the jewellery drawer and wrap mine with bangles – super cool! The most costume like ones the better, rather than dainty little bracelets. On Boxing day I change it up and simply tie with string and pop a sprig of rosemary in the centre.


Simple effective and beautiful.

Happy holidays everyone xx



Abigail Ahern

Interior designer and author Abigail Ahern has been hailed as ‘style spotter extraordinaire’, by The Times. Her style is as unique as it is affordable and is characterised by glamour, wit and show-stopping colours.

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  1. Thank you these tips came at the right time i was looking for ideas as i have a small flat and keep it simple. Happy Holiday to you to. x

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