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

Ideal Home (UK) - - Con­tents -

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.

16

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.

18

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.

19

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

White Com­pany

Foot­stool, £445, Fur­ni­ture Vil­lage. Stamp set, £12.95, Dot­comgift­shop

Large marl sofa in Stone, £1,795, DFS

Li­bra tree stand, £118, Rowen & Wren

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