40 Easy style updates
From best buys and clever tricks to mini décor projects... this is our roundup of the simplest, quickest ways to make your home more beautiful now
1 Deck the hall
CREATE A WARM WELCOME WITH A FULL-ON FESTIVE DISPLAY. DECORATE DOORS WITH GARLANDS, TOP PICTURES WITH GREENERY AND BEDECK A HALLWAY TABLE WITH TEALIGHTS, CARDS AND PAPER-WRAPPED PARCELS.
2 Make your own Advent calendar
GET CRAFTY WITH A COUPLE OF LENGTHS OF STRING AND A PACKET OF PAPER LUGGAGE TAGS. SIMPLY NUMBER THE TAGS, SECURE A FEW HOLLY SPRIGS AND ADD SOME MINI TREATS TO JOLLY IT UP.
3 FAKE IT
A little faux mistletoe (such as this mistletoe pick, £2, By Sainsbury’s) is great if you can’t get the real deal, or if you’ve got little ones or pets (as the berries can be poisonous).
4 DECORATE THE STAIRS
Include the staircase in your festive decorating. Wind foliage into the base of the banister (on the outer side, so it’s not a trip hazard) and tie on baubles here and there for a sparkly finish.
5 FIX UP A WREATH
Weaving in winter greenery, pine cones, lights or ribbon is all it takes.
6 LIGHT THE WAY
Start by filling glass jars with Epsom salt for a snowy effect, then pop a tealight inside each one to give your walkway a glow.
7 BOX CLEVER WITH GIFTS
Save spare boxes before Christmas, so awkwardly shaped presents or soft and squashy items can be boxed up, then giftwrapped more easily.
8 Keep a gift basket handy
WRAP A COUPLE OF SPARE PRESENTS IN ADVANCE SO YOU WON’T BE CAUGHT OUT SHOULD A SURPRISE GUEST ARRIVE. ALL-PURPOSE BUYS SUCH AS CANDLES, MINI SOAPS OR TINS OF BISCUITS ARE ALWAYS A WINNER.
9 Set the scene
TRANSFORM A SHELF OR CONSOLE TABLE WITH A FESTIVE, WINTRY DISPLAY. START BY CREATING A BACKDROP USING OFFCUTS FROM YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE MIXED WITH PINE CONES BROUGHT IN FROM OUTDOORS, THEN LINE UP LANTERNS, GLASS VOTIVES AND MINI NIGHTLIGHTS TO CREATE A WELCOMING GLOW.
10 SECURE A DISPLAY
Garden twist ties are a hero buy if you can’t fix a garland or a string of lights into place – twist into position and your arrangement won’t budge.
11 Add some sparkle and shine
GLAM UP A NEUTRAL LIVING ROOM BY ADDING SHIMMERY ACCENTS. SWAP THE FIR TREE FOR A SNOWY ALTERNATIVE, AND POP A FEW SEQUINNED CUSHION COVERS ON THE SOFA FOR A GLITZY FEEL.
12 TRY A QUICK PICK-ME-UP
Central heating will dry out fresh foliage, so give it a quick mist of water every few days to perk up wilting displays.
13 Stamp your own gift tag
DITCH PRICEY GIFT TAGS AND
HAVE FUN DESIGNING YOUR OWN VERSIONS INSTEAD. BULK BUY INEXPENSIVE LUGGAGE LABELS (HOBBYCRAFT SELLS 30 FOR £2.50) AND STAMP ON YOUR OWN FESTIVE MESSAGE, THE RECIPIENT’S NAME OR A PERSONALISED GREETING USING A SET OF MINI RUBBER ALPHABET STAMPS. WRAP GIFTS IN PLAIN BROWN PARCEL PAPER AND TIE WITH A COUPLE OF LENGTHS OF RAFFIA FOR A SIMPLE, RUSTIC EFFECT.
14 TIDY UP THE TREE
While the base of a Christmas tree looks gorgeous when it’s surrounded by presents, it can look a bit barren when it’s bare. Make sure yours looks smart all season long with a simple willow skirt – the perfect disguise!
15 Replace the mirror
SWAP THE TRADITIONAL OVERMANTEL MIRROR FOR A FESTIVE FEATURE BY HANGING A CLUSTER OF WOODEN SNOWFLAKES. A TRIO OF MINI WICKER RINGS WOULD LOOK GOOD, TOO.
PERFORM A LIGHTING CHECK
Before you hang your lights (allowing roughly 30 per foot of tree), lay them out and turn them on, so you can check they’re all working and replace blown bulbs.
17 Make your own wall art
TURN EMPTY WALL SPACE INTO A FESTIVE FOCAL POINT BY REPURPOSING A BRANCH FROM THE GARDEN. MOUNT IT ON THE WALL USING PICTURE HOOKS AND TWINE, THEN WIND FAIRY LIGHTS AROUND THE BRANCH FOR SPARKLE. FINALLY, HANG A ROW OF PAPER STARS FOR AN EYE-CATCHING RESULT.
Upstyle your tree stand
Ensure your Christmas tree stands up in style with a heavyweight base. Choose a sturdy metal design with adjustable screws that can be tightened to keep the trunk firmly in place.
TOP UP THE TREE
Letting your tree dry out leads to dull, brittle needles and drooping branches, so make sure it has plenty to drink. Go for a stand that has a built-in water reservoir and top it up daily.
Console, £249, Scumble Goosie; painted in Down Pipe Estate Eggshell, £55 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball
For a similar undecorated wreath, try the green Christmas wreath, £4, Hobbycraft
Gift tags, twine and decorations, from a selection, Dunelm
For a similar garland, try the 6ft frosty winter, £49.99, Very
Large rusty letters, £5 each, RE
For similar baskets, try a selection, The Basket Company
Floral giftwrap, £4.50 for
3m, Marks & Spencer
Lanhydrock sofa, from £1,407, Sofas & Stuff. Lantau coffee table, £840, Oka
Previn sofa, from £1,596, Sofa Workshop
Ultimate Nordman fir artificial Christmas tree with willow skirt, £450, The
Footstool, £445, Furniture Village. Stamp set, £12.95, Dotcomgiftshop
Large marl sofa in Stone, £1,795, DFS
Libra tree stand, £118, Rowen & Wren