40 easy style updates
Clever tricks and smart buys
From best buys and clever tricks to mini decor projects… this is our roundup of the simplest, quickest ways to make your home more beautiful now
1 Dress the table for a party
MAKE MEAL TIMES MORE MAGICAL BY ADDING A SPARKLY RUNNER, BATTERY-POWERED FAIRY LIGHTS AND A FEW PAPER PARTY HATS AND POPPERS TO THE TABLE TOP. Lustre wine glasses and Champagne flutes, both £20 for four, all Dunelm
2 Fill vases with lush greenery
FOR A CHIC BUT SUBTLE WAY TO FESTIVELY DECORATE A SIDEBOARD OR MANTELPIECE, DISPLAY SPRIGS OF EUCALYPTUS IN GLASS VASES OF VARYING HEIGHTS. ADD SILVER OR GLITTER SPRAYED THISTLE IF YOU STILL WANT TO ADD A BIT OF SPARKLE TO THE ARRANGEMENTS.
3 SPRUCE UP PLAIN
To give a plain white set of crockery a more celebratory feel at your next dinner party, invest in some special place mats to glam up the table top in an instant. Go for matching coasters to really ramp up the bling. 4 dim the lights for a cosy glow To create an atmospheric evening table centrepiece, sit candle holders and candles of varying sizes along a simple table runner, for a super flattering glow. 5 HAVE AN OPEN BAR Fill a drinks dispenser with a pre-mixed cocktail so guests can help themselves to a top-up. Try Ikea’s Forfroskning jar with tap, £16, and attach a luggage label with a list of the included ingredients and alcohols.
6 GIVE DOORS A
Swap the traditional Christmas wreath from the front door for a more understated offering, once it nears New
Year’s Eve. Or hang simple wire star wreaths, like this one from Waitrose & Partners, from bedroom, bathroom or kitchen doors to keep the festivities flowing throughout your home.
7 LIGHT UP WINDOW FRAMES
Secure swags of fairy lights in place around a window frame with clear hanging hooks, £4, Homebase. 8 LET YOUR
GUESTS HELP THEMSELVES Pile up golden cake stands with both sweet and savoury canapés and let guests nibble as they please, so you’re free to mingle. Vinter 2018 three-tier serving stand in gold, £19, Ikea 9 Go for golds STICK TO THE SAME COLOUR SCHEME AS YOUR DECORATIONS WHEN LAYING YOUR DINING TABLE, FOR A STREAMLINED AND SOPHISTICATED FEEL. ADD CANDLELIGHT AND SPRIGS OF FOLIAGE TO COMPLETE THE LOOK. 10 Swap in some sparkle ENSURE YOUR LIVING ROOM HAS JUST THE RIGHT LEVEL OF GLAMOUR FOR ENTERTAINING GUESTS, BY ADDING TOUCHES OF BLING WITH SEQUIN COVERED CUSHIONS, METALLIC LANTERNS AND TWINKLING FAIRY LIGHTS. 11 PASS OUT PAPER PLATES Save on the washing up (and the broken glasses) by using fancy paper plates and cups at your next soirée instead. Ginger Ray has a great selection of party-perfect options to ensure they fit your scheme.
12 WHEEL OUT THE WHISKIES
Rather than uproot guests following dinner, why not bring the late night drinks to them? Load up a bar cart with a selection of aperitifs, ice and your best glasses and let the party continue. Gold mirrored drinks trolley, £99.99, Homesense 13 Greet guests with gifts FOR FRIENDS VISITING LATER IN THE HOLIDAYS, STACK THEIR GIFTS ON A TROLLEY RATHER THAN LEAVING UNDER THE TREE, AND WHEEL OUT WHEN THEY ARRIVE FOR A WARM WELCOME. 14 DISPLAY CARDS ON STRING Make a simple garland by pegging cards to a length of string with washi tapedecorated pegs. Finish it off by tying mini baubles in-between the cards. 15 Disguise a makeshift table WHEN YOU NEED TO JOIN TWO TABLES TOGETHER FOR AN EXTRA LONG DINING TABLE, COVER THEM WITH A SMART, OVERSIZED LINEN TABLECLOTH. THE TEXTURED SURFACE WILL HELP HIDE ANY GAPS, BUMPS AND JOINS.
16 Hang a wreath chandelier ATTACH LENGTHS OF RIBBON TO AN OVERSIZED FAUX WREATH AND HANG FROM HOOKS IN THE CEILING. WIND FAIRY LIGHTS, FRESH GREENERY, PINECONES AND BAUBLES AROUND THE WREATH FOR A STUNNING DISPLAY. 17 SHOW OFF YOUR SKILLS Impress guests with your mixologist skills and create a bespoke cocktail just for them. As long as you have the right ‘kit’ even a simple mojito will go down a treat.
18 Welcome guests in style GET YOUR VISITORS IN THE PARTY MOOD BY DECORATING YOUR FRONT DOOR WITH BALLOONS AND DISCO BALLS, SETTING THE SCENE FROM THE MOMENT THEY ARRIVE. USE CLEAR FISHING WIRE FOR A SLEEK FINISH.
19 UPSTYLE A GUEST ROOM
Add a special touch for visiting friends and family by leaving VIP treats on the bed – a set of mini toiletries, a rolled-up towel and mini box of chocolates will give them a hotel experience.
20 PRETTIFY A FAUX WREATH
Decorate a plain wreath with real flowerssomething as simple as gypsophila will do the job. Wind craft wire around the stems and the wreath to secure the sprigs.
21 dress the mantelpiece
Create a pretty display with some mercury house tea light holders, popping LED tea lights inside for a warm glow that’s a safe alternative to candles. 22 SWAP THE BED LINEN Give a guest room a simple makeover for the season by swapping the usual bedding for a wintry design – a subtle tree print will create a calm Scandi look or go for classic tartan.
23 Keep the table simple FOR A PARED-BACK DINNER TABLE THAT WILL LET THE FOOD SING, GO FOR SIMPLE WHITES, CLASSIC CUT GLASS GLASSWARE AND A FEW VASES OF FRESH FOLIAGE FROM THE GARDEN. 24 DECORATE WITH FLOWERS A fresh bouquet of flowers in the hallway, in the living room or even in a guest bedroom will create a beautiful display and add some life into your home. White Christmas bouquet, £35, Waitrose & Partners 25 GO BIG ON BALLOONS Create an eye-catching display of helium-filled balloons above the dining table. Move to the makeshift dance floor once your guests have finished dinner.
26 Dare to go dramatic
FOR A MODERN, SCANDI FEEL, CHOOSE BLACK DINNERWARE, GLASSWARE AND TABLE LINENS. IT WORKS WONDERFULLY WITH GOLD AND COPPER AND WILL MAKE FRESH GREENERY POP AGAINST IT. ADD PLENTY OF CANDLELIGHT TO WARM UP THE LOOK.
27 Fix up the guest room USE LITTLE TOUCHES TO MAKE YOUR GUEST BEDROOM FEEL FESTIVE. DECORATE THE WALL WITH MINI WREATHS, PUT SCENTED CANDLES BY THE BED AND LEAVE A BASKET FILLED WITH TOILETRIES AND TREATS. 28 GLAM UP GLASSWARE Added shimmer will not only make the table look festive – it will also give your party a sense of occasion. There’s no need to spend a fortune on extra sparkle – Wilko has a great bargain selection!
29 SERVE DRINKS IN A PINEAPPLE
Not only do these pineapple cocktail cups make great gifts for your guests to take home with them – they’ll add a sense of fun and frivolousness to your party. Pineapple cocktail tumbler, £30, Not-another-bill
30 WRAP PRESENTS IN NEWSPAPER
If you run out of festive giftwrap at the eleventh hour, use newspaper or fabric instead. Tie with twine or string and add a sprig of foliage from the garden for a rustic look.
31 Mix up crackers
DON’T WORRY ABOUT HAVING A MATCHING SET OF CRACKERS ONCE IT GETS TO NEW YEAR’S EVE. SIMPLY USE UP THE LEFTOVERS FROM THE HOLIDAYS AND KEEP THE DINNERWARE AND LINENS SIMPLE.
32 DECORATE GIFT BOXES Create unique boxes for foodie gifts by spraying old biscuit tins with chalkboard paint. Simply write a message or draw a cool Christmas design on the front using chalk.
Save guests from having to sit on the emergency stools or garden seating by updating your dining chairs ahead of time, to ensure everyone gets a proper seat at the dinner table. Ikea has something to suit every style to guarantee happy meal times. Industriell chair in green/black, £80, Ikea 34 Make fresh wreaths USING GREEN FLORIST OR CRAFT WIRE TO SECURE, FASHION A LOOP OF EUCALYPTUS, IVY OR EVERGREEN AND ATTACH A LENGTH OF TWINE TO THE TOP TO HANG IT. WEAVE IN A FEW BERRIES OR LEAVES FOR COLOUR. 35 INVEST IN SOME TABLE BLING Make plain white dinnerware pop by adding gold accent pieces. They’ll make the table look festive, but are perfect for special occasions all year round. Set of two Champagne flutes, £14.99, Domu 36 Build a cute snow scene Fill a glass terrarium or hurricane jar two-thirds full of fake snow and add mini forest trees on top. A couple of Lego men and women will keep the kids happy too.
37 Get ready to party
BALLOONS ARE A GREAT WAY TO GIVE YOUR HOME THE PARTY SPIRIT IN AN INSTANT. GO FOR GOLD CONFETTI FILLED BALLOONS, £3.49, FROM GINGER RAY, AND FILL WITH HELIUM ON THE MORNING OR AFTERNOON OF YOUR DO.
38 ADD SOME PRETTY LIGHTS
Nothing gets your home party ready like twinkling lights do. Hang these hoop designs in a cluster of three in the window, from the bannisters or over a mantel mirror for a sparkling display. 39 Make presents Magical Add a little personalised love to gifts or place settings with handmade rustic-luxe labels. Use a gold pen to write on torn watercolour paper and dip into glitter. 40 Make twigs twinkle GATHER FALLEN TWIGS AND GIVE THEM A FESTIVE MAKEOVER BY SPRAYING THEM WITH GLITTERY OR METALLIC SPRAY PAINT. ARRANGE IN A VASE OR HANG OVER THE DINNER TABLE AND WEAVE IN SOME FAIRY LIGHTS TOO.
Pepparkorn vases, from £6; Smycka artificial eucalyptus, £2.50 a sprig; Strala LED lighting chain with 160 battery operated lights, £12; Vinter 2018 candle dish in gold, £9, all Ikea
Silver beaded place mats, £20 for two, Laura Ashley
Wire star with foliage, £12, Waitrose & Partners
Ophelia chandelier, £180, Abigail Ahern range; Nordic smoke glasses, £7 each; black cutlery, £35 for 16 pieces; silver and white napkins, £10 for four; all Debenhams
Raskog trolley in dark blue, £50; gift wrap, from £4 a roll, Ikea
Kitchen Craft cocktail set, £24.99, Very
For similar balloons, try New Year balloon bunting, £6.99, Ginger Ray
Reindeer candelabra, £20; eucalyptus and pinecone garland, £30; Reactive tableware, from £5; gold cutlery, £35 for 16 pieces, all Debenhams
Hanging stars, £25 each; artisan bowls, and dinner plates, £12 each, all The White Company
Gold effect glassware, from £5; gold effect tableware, from £6, all George Home
Gold spot Champagne flutes, £6 for two, George Home
Strala LED ring shaped pendant lights, from £18 each, Ikea