Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | HOME - WORDS: DANNI MOR­RI­SON For more in­te­rior de­sign in­spi­ra­tion, visit­sign­by­

Christ­mas! This is no dress rehearsal. This is the big stage, the most sig­nif­i­cant and won­drous day in the cal­en­dar year. It’s time to bat­tle the shop­ping cen­tre crowds, wrap un­til your fin­gers are numb, and pre­pare the home for the in­flux of de­light­ful vis­i­tors and the in-laws. Per­son­ally, I ab­so­lutely love show­cas­ing our fes­tively dec­o­rated home. For me, it’s about cre­at­ing a space that’s whim­si­cal, beau­ti­ful and stylish for the en­joy­ment of kids and adults alike. A vis­ual play­ground if you will.

Let’s talk style

I’m go­ing to as­sume you like and/or ap­pre­ci­ate my dec­o­rat­ing style con­sid­er­ing you’re cur­rently read­ing this. Or you’re my mum… Hi Mum! Some pre­fer su­per mod­ern, bang-on-trend styling, and whilst I ap­pre­ci­ate the “lat­est and great­est”, I’m cer­tainly more of a tra­di­tion­al­ist, with added spunk (you won’t see red and green here, my friend). This year my Christ­mas dis­play was in­spired by colour, or lack thereof re­ally! Sil­vers, greys, with touches of white and dark tim­ber for con­trast. In one of our rooms a chrome, slightly nau­ti­cal pen­dant sus­pends from the mid­dle of the ceil­ing, framed per­fectly against soft muted grey wall­pa­per. With these two state­ment pieces in mind, the room would ef­fort­lessly and el­e­gantly set the tone for my Christ­mas dis­play. It also sec­onds as my din­ing room. Note the word ‘sec­onds’, Christ­mas will al­ways come first.

Build­ing the foundation­s

Like all my projects, I needed to make a plan. Cre­at­ing a mood board would help me iden­tify my cre­ative di­rec­tion and en­sure all el­e­ments of my fu­ture Christ­mas dis­play would har­monise. To put it sim­ply, a mood board is a sure-fire way to guar­an­tee my styling doesn’t look like some­one vom­ited sil­ver glit­ter and baubles ev­ery­where. It’s cu­rat­ing be­fore cre­at­ing.

Watch out for that tree!

Se­lect­ing a Christ­mas tree is an ex­tremely per­sonal de­ci­sion. Ev­ery­one’s dif­fer­ent, I chose the Frosted Fraser from Bal­sam Hill due to its in­cred­i­bly re­al­is­tic fo­liage. The tips of the branches are cov­ered in snow and it comes with built-in LED lights which are per­fect for the lazy ones out there – this in­cludes me!

Here are my top 5 tips on dec­o­rat­ing your Christ­mas tree.

Af­ter spend­ing the time to prop­erly fluff the fo­liage to en­sure as few gaps as pos­si­ble, I like to start with the lights (if they’re not in­cluded in your tree of course). Start­ing at the base, wrap the lights around the tree keep­ing con­sis­tent gaps be­tween the rows. Next up is your gar­land. De­pend­ing on the type, this can be dis­played hor­i­zon­tally from branch to branch or an­gled ver­ti­cally on your tree. This year, I’ve done some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent and weaved grey vel­vet rib­bon on a 45-de­gree an­gle in three sec­tions of my tree. Fea­ture dé­cor first. Pull out your hero dec­o­ra­tions which gen­er­ally tend to be the larger dec­o­ra­tions and style on your tree al­low­ing enough breath­ing room be­tween pieces. Per­son­ally, I love large state­ment bows, picks and pretty birds. Then comes the smaller dec­o­ra­tions. Make sure you place some deep within the tree; this cre­ates depth and your tree will ap­pear fuller. Dec­o­ra­tions should hang ver­ti­cally, not on an an­gle and make sure they are placed near lights for a beau­ti­ful am­bi­ent re­flec­tion. Add a skirt! Noth­ing says “I’m a stylish and su­per-pol­ished Christ­mas tree” like a big, beau­ti­ful skirt. They also seem to dis­guise dog hair quite well. Added bonus.

The gift that keeps giv­ing…

I 100 per cent ad­mit that or­gan­is­ing cus­tom-made gift pa­per to match my Christ­mas set­ting may be a lit­tle over the top, but it makes me happy. When I con­tacted Ma­ree from Lit­tle Branch and pre­sented my mood board, ex­cite­ment got the bet­ter of us. Ma­ree cre­ated the beau­ti­ful grey and white pa­per you see in all of my images. Add the cus­tom mono­grammed “M” gift tags, and my dis­play was begin­ning to ri­val that of the

Adding a sense of ‘ex­tra’


Myer Cen­tre win­dow in Mel­bourne CBD. (OK maybe not.) Us­ing my two beau­ti­ful types of gift wrap and plain white and sil­ver boxes, I stacked the gifts in sets of three fin­ish­ing the presents with a lovely big bow and mono­grammed tags. When it comes to se­lect­ing gift wrap and colours, my rule is to co-or­di­nate in threes. I find ob­jects dis­played this way re­ally res­onates for me, set­tling and ap­peas­ing the eye. This could be a com­bi­na­tion of colour and pat­terns, but I tend to in­clude at least one plain block colour to sep­a­rate the pat­terns. We’ve now dec­o­rated the tree and wrapped the gifts, all the while pump­ing Pen­ta­tonix Christ­mas al­bum 2014 and 2016 un­til our ears bleed. What’s next you say? It’s the ex­tra de­tails of fes­tive styling and cheer that will en­sure your Christ­mas dis­play is bet­ter than that of Gary and Brenda’s this year. Let’s face it, the com­pe­ti­tion is real and you’ve al­ways wanted to outdo the neigh­bours. To ad­mit there was an overkill of grey would be an un­der­state­ment and un­for­tu­nately the ad­di­tion of white wouldn’t cut the mus­tard for con­trast. On top of this, my dis­play was also lack­ing dif­fer­ent heights which felt bor­ing, un­o­rig­i­nal and sad. The in­tro­duc­tion of the dark tim­ber an­tique ta­ble and Queen Ann din­ing chair not only looks lovely and cre­ates in­ter­est, but they have pur­pose. Two gold stars for me! The ta­ble would home gifts and other Christ­mas dé­cor and the chair would give the old bearded man a much-needed rest dur­ing his an­nual visit. In this sce­nario I’ve used two pieces of fur­ni­ture, but in­tro­duc­ing just one state­ment piece of fur­ni­ture into your dis­play can re­ally ground your dis­play and add se­ri­ous wow fac­tor. En­sur­ing it’s con­sis­tent with the style of your Christ­mas of course. Last but not least, it’s the ar­range­ment of dé­cor that re­ally fin­ishes and gives a space a sense of com­ple­tion. Lanterns with tiered can­dles, glass can­de­labras, rein­deer, white trees strate­gi­cally placed in neg­a­tive spa­ces brings to­gether the style you’ve cho­sen. As you can see, my se­lec­tion was sim­ply ev­ery­thing sil­ver and white with a hint of gold. Well, I hope you’ve en­joyed the read and I truly hope there’s a cou­ple of tips and tricks in there that in­spires your Christ­mas styling this year. If at the end your dis­play looks like a hur­ri­cane blew in, I find blam­ing the kids (or pets) the best so­lu­tion.

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