We’ve invited interior designer Zahra Abbas to talk to us about Christmas, and how decorating your home can have an impact on your wellbeing:

It’s the festive season, hooray!!! I love Christmas; the festive spirit, the cosy nights, spending time with friends and family and from a design perspective the full blown effort that goes into decorating the home for the party season.

As an interior designer, it’s so exciting to see the time and effort that is put into doing up the home ahead of parties and entertaining. I think part of it is that as these are not permanent changes so people are daring and brave in creating exactly what catches their eye.

The high street stores are great at offering a huge variety in their Christmas shops for decorations and so if you are looking for something different to pulling down last years baubles from the loft, here are inspiring top five tips to decorate your home for Christmas.

The current theme of your home décor

With the increasing inspiration for interiors available online, people are more refined with the looks and style of their home décor. Retailers have picked up on these popular trends so that now the seasonal Christmas décor can tie in with the rest of the home. I find this a really interesting concept, for instance, a Scandi style setting is all about the minimalistic and light décor. Extending this to the Christmas can help define the colour scheme for the festive period and also keep in line with a decluttered and minimalistic look. By doing so, it will enhance the style of the home more so, whilst ensuring you aren’t bored by it a week later!

Build it up over the festive period

Gold Christmas starWhen you are renovating and redesigning your home, it’s not limited to a one-day shopping spree. It takes time to really build up a concept you love. Do the same with your Christmas décor, look out from the transition into the festive season for ideas and inspiration. Look to buy pieces that will genuinely add to the spirit of home. It isn’t necessary to spend a lot and accumulate what you think is definitive of Christmas, it may even be useful to make a list, some items you may already have and others will be an impulse buy. If you have identified the feel you want to create you can check back in after purchases and stick to a budget around a period that is financially demanding.

Shop local

This is one of the most exciting times of year for local arts and crafts businesses who provide bespoke products. It is the perfect time to give back to the community and find something really special. It will also give you something different to what is out there on the high street. If you are looking to change up the Christmas look, keep a look out for Christmas fairs, markets and stalls.

Table settings

Gold spoon and fork inside napkinFor a lot of people, I think this is the easiest part, as a lot of festive table settings are easily available. It is also often the part which ends up looking like a complete mish-mash of decorations, crackers, festive napkins and glasses. It is important when entertaining at Christmas that you are able to make the most of dining space, especially with a variety of food and platters. One of the chicest ways to add a Christmas touch is coloured metal cutlery. I love the gold cutlery that is available at the moment, it is a subtle touch with a bigger visual impact. Try to coordinate the colour and theme of the table layout so you only need a couple of key touches to add festivity to the décor; a flower arrangement or festive name cards.

Appeal to the senses

Festivity is found in a whole range of products which appeal to the different senses, smells, touch, visuals, taste and even sounds.

Think a little differently, step away from the red, white and green tones of Christmas and choose a different theme. I recently saw visual merchandising based around a starry night. I loved this because of the navy colour with golden stars and white snowflakes. A completely different take on a wintry night.

Smells are some of the most gorgeous around this time with a lot of air fresheners and candles and scents nodding towards flavours of winter berries and mulled wines. Choose fragrances to fill your home with the scents of the season so even if the decorations aren’t large scale the feeling of festivity still fills the home.

Autumn and winter have a natural need for warmth and cosiness and allows for the different use of textures throughout the home. Build layers of knits, velvet and faux fur throughout the home to create a cosy chalet feel and to love spending time in your home.

Candles and foliage on dining tableTaste is often one of the senses which are thought the most of around this time as we look to entertain and make the most of the festive holidays.

Christmas music is always played out at home and in stores and at markets, so choose something different for the festive day to play throughout the day. Maybe something more relaxing towards the evening as the children are all played out and ready for bed, the food has been consumed and the feeling of fullness and warmth is apparent.

The festive period is often a point of reflection of how our home can change our mindset and increase our wellbeing. We work naturally towards creating a period of comfort, joy and happiness. Pay attention to bringing all areas of the home together so that the festive spirit is not only limited to the visual. From an interior designers perspective, I hope that you can really appreciate how a home connects with you when you actively work towards creating a personalised space.

Zahra Abbas headshotZahra Abbas is an interior designer, focusing on designing residential homes, along with her husband. Her interior design journey began earlier this year after completing a mentorship programme by an industry expert.

Zahra specialises in creating aspirational interiors by using juxtaposition for the basis of her designs.

Zahra believes that our homes are fundamental to our wellbeing and says ‘I feel everyone should have a unique connection with their home, which works for their family. Our home is the most important start of all of our aspirations, so we should nurture the space to allow us to nurture ourselves.’

Zahra lives in the South East of England with her husband and two young daughters. You can find out more about Zahra on her website, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.



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