Christmas. A time to nurture relationships with family and friends, plus adorn ourselves with party dresses to celebrate the end of another year!
It is also an opportunity to inject some bonafide, sparkling magic into a home – both inside and out. Whether you’re throwing a fabulous festive soirée, decorating a client’s property or want to do something different in your own home, this is the perfect time to really push the boat out.
We have hand-picked some gorgeous ideas from around the world for you, plus sourced inspiration from some acknowledged masters of design!
Embrace the Ukraine Legend of the Christmas Spider
Cobwebs aren’t just for Halloween. It’s a Ukrainian tradition to adorn Christmas trees with sparkling cobwebs and spiders.
This seemingly macabre touch actually has a decidedly heartwarming origin story. In Eastern European folklore, a poor widow discovered a small pine tree growing through the floor of her hut. She had no money for decorations so on Christmas Eve, she and her children went to bed, sad at the lack of Christmas cheer.
Miraculously, they awoke to find the tree covered in beautiful cobwebs that had turned silver and gold in the morning sun. Their fortunes then changed and they lived prosperously ever after.
Modern Ukrainians continue this whimsical tradition, decorating their trees with delicate spiders and webs made from crystals, silver and gold tinsel, glitter and paper.
Keep it Real Like the Germans
The Germans are famous for their atmospheric Christmas markets and stunning decorations. One of their most beloved touches is the real candles they light on their beautiful Christmas trees.
This tradition has been in place for many years. Legend has it that it was started by Protestant reformer Martin Luther, as he tried to recreate a starry night on Christmas Eve.
One night in 1536, so it is said, Luther was walking through a pine forest near his home in Wittenberg when he looked up and saw thousands of stars glinting through the trees. This divine sight inspired him to set up a candle-lit tree in his house to remind his children of the starry heavens where their spiritual father dwelt.
It’s a wonderful look but given Australia’s scorching summer weather we’d recommend putting a safe twist on this tradition. Use a real tree bedecked with enchanting electric candles.
Create Rich Layers like Martyn Lawrence Bullard
Martyn Lawrence Bullard is not a man known for understatement. The internationally-renowned, LA-based interior designer has created extraordinary interiors for everyone from the Kardashians to Tommy Hilfiger and Ellen Pompeo.
MLB, as he is known, spoke as the International Keynote on the Australian House & Garden International Seminar Series at this year’s Decor + Design show. His inspiring seminar was a visual journey through his luxurious interiors that can only be described as sumptuous!
It’s an aesthetic that Martyn heavily draws on for his own Christmas decorations. However, he also loves to incorporate natural flowers and fruit as holiday ornaments and garlands. His tip? Add water tubes to the stems before adding to the tree or garlands. This will lengthen their life and keep them looking fresh for at least a week or more.
Also avoid placing fresh flowers or leaves directly next to lights.
Think Big Like The Royal Family
It is said that England’s first Christmas tree was set up by Queen Charlotte, the German wife of George III. Inspired by her compatriot Martin Luther, Queen Charlotte put up the first Christmas tree at the Queen’s Lodge, Windsor in December 1800.
It is a tradition the modern Royal Family take very seriously indeed. While they certainly boast more than one tree in their various palaces, the standout is perhaps the 20ft Nordmann Fir erected in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle. It’s a homegrown affair, sourced from Windsor Great Park.
A team of staff spend a full day decorating the behemoth with precious, dazzling ornaments and a traditional angel on top. A slightly smaller 15ft tree is usually placed in the Crimson Dining Room.
Perhaps the best tip to take from this is: if one has a full schedule, don’t be afraid of delegating to one’s team.
Go Natural for an Australian Christmas
Australian designer and influencer Sibella Court’s style is immediately recognisable for its clever layering and polished tones. It is quintessentially Australian, with its colour palette of dusty neutrals and ochre.
Be inspired by Sibella and add natural pieces made from driftwood, or huge vases of Eucalyptus mixed with a hint of sparkle.Neutral and pastel tones automatically create a softer festive scheme.
Use native materials to add an Australian twist to the familiar forms of Christmas, such as stars, bells and trees.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Subscribe now to receive regular inspiration from the world of interior design in 2019. Plus you will be notified when registrations open for Decor + Design, Australia’s No.1 Interiors Event, 18 – 21 July 2019 at Melbourne Exhibition Centre.