It is easy to feel gripped with angst when faced with festive preparations and the arrival of friends and family into our homes. The pressure to make sure that your entertaining space is ready for your guests is real, and as guests tend to be with us for longer periods of time during the holiday season, it is important to create flexible spaces suitable for a variety of activities and energy.
The Christmas tree is traditionally a German custom which gained popularity in Britain and beyond when Queen Victoria married German-born Prince Albert. First noted for having a Christmas tree in her room in 1832 it took another decade for the general population to catch up and decking trees, halls and all else has remained central to our festive rituals since.
However, don’t feel compelled to follow either the crowd or tradition with your decorative aesthetic and enjoy an opportunity to match your own personal preference, taste and style.
In this blog, we will look at each element that should be considered in your design, along with ways to incorporate Christmas spirit in a personal, yet elegant fashion.
However your dining room or living area is arranged, you should look carefully at the space available and consider the different layouts or ways in which the space could be used flexibly to suit your family and friends’ needs.
Is there enough space at your table, and have you thought about where everyone would be best seated to match their personalities, interests and relationships with one another? Would a circular table best suit your needs, or would an extendable one be more practical for a larger gathering?
Consider separating your space if possible, using seating arrangements, contrasting furniture and décor styles, or by adding a rug to create a more informal space away from the main dining table. Guests can gather here for drinks initially, and it will provide an area for any younger guests to be more lively and play. Having a more relaxed breakaway area with comfortable seating can also provide a haven for older family members to enjoy some respite away from the group.
When decorating your dining table, be sure to reflect your own taste and personality, whilst also taking into account the style of the rest of your interior. Use colour and accessories to create a link between the table dressing and the overall interior scheme for a cohesive and characterful look.
The easiest way to do this is with the table centrepiece. Perhaps your home has a country feel and you will choose to incorporate natural, sustainable materials with woodland-style foraged greenery or winter blooms, or maybe your city dining room has a more regal baroque theme, so a fuller, quirky table with rustic golds and rich jewel tones would better suit. There is also the option to embrace a more modern, minimalist style, with a simpler Scandi-style centrepiece and perhaps some scattered edible decorations.
Throughout your planning, remember to ensure that guests can see each other over your centrepiece, and consider weaving decorations throughout place settings to distribute the focus. To free up table space, consider an elevated display with hanging foliage and trailing lights above guests’ heads.
The centrepiece can be echoed through other design elements such as your tableware which may include a Christmas motif – particularly if children are present – and elegance can be maintained with good quality glass and silverware. Consider handwritten place names for an added personal touch.
Lighting should be a key component when considering your Christmas entertaining space, as it will help to set the mood for the type of occasion you’re hosting, whilst also adding that festive sparkle to your home.
Firstly, take a look at your dining room and see if there are any structural elements you can take advantage of – are there rafters to wind trailing foliage and fairy lights from, for example? Any decorative floral or green arrangements can be woven with twinkling lights, or adorned with candles for a more traditional feel.
If you’re considering something more permanent such as opulent chandeliers, try to choose dimmable fittings so that the ambience can be altered depending on the occasion and whether guests need more lighting for safety when moving about the space.
Lighting can also be used to help differentiate spaces within a more open-plan layout, whilst simultaneously adding a touch of Christmas magic.
Our expert team of designers would be happy to provide design direction for your living and entertaining spaces. Contact us today to discuss your home renovation project.
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