There’s a certain irony in the fact that one of the best parts about Christmas is the excitement that comes before it. The festive countdown and all of the buzz that it brings can sometimes be even more enjoyable than the day itself, with merriment increasing as we inch ever closer to the official celebration. A huge contributing factor to this is, of course, the homes and stores that adorn their façades with beautiful decorations for Christmas, enveloping us in festive cheer from November onwards. To inspire your own holiday décor ideas, we turned to our Co-Founder and Creative Director Sue Jones for her favorite festive fixes. From twinkling additions for the tree to fresh takes on holiday tablescapes, we hope these tips will help you bring a touch of the season’s magic to every space in your home.

The bottom branches of a Christmas tree decorated with colorful ornaments, which hang over a pile of beautifully wrapped presents.
A green-and-white striped armchair with tassels sits next to a roaring fireplace, in front of a Christmas tree decorated with colorful ornaments.

Decide on Your Christmas Color Palette

While tradition dictates we reach for a palette of red, green and gold, there are no real rules when it comes to Christmas color combos. You can think outside of the box and opt for something spectacularly vibrant, select more muted tones for a quieter take on the season or simply stick to the classics. “When decorating for the holidays, I think choosing your color palette is quite important, and I’ve changed my mind a lot over the years on this one,” says Sue. “I’m actually a bit averse to a traditional palette; I like pops of color, such as acid green, for example—something a little bit different.” The key is to settle on your chosen shades and replicate them throughout the home, whether that’s in the form of your Christmas ornaments, tabletop décor or even your choice of wrapping paper. “When I wrap my presents, I do them all the same, so there’s a big pile of color,” says Sue. “I’ve done turquoise with purple and pink with red—I like to find something that stands out.”

Branch Out with Your Ornaments

Whether you opt for the real deal or go faux, select a towering fir or a miniature model, the Christmas tree is an essential part of decorating. The season calls for all things merry and bright, so don’t be afraid to be bold with your choice of Christmas tree decorations. Sue likes to pick a theme or color and repeat it on every branch. “One year I did my tree full of robin decorations and they were quite lifelike, which was fine until a real robin got into the house,” she laughs. “Another year I did exotic birds.” 

No Christmas tree is complete without twinkling lights, of course, and Sue has an alternative suggestion to traditional fairy lights. “I love the LED candles that can be clipped onto a tree,” she says. “It saves you from scrambling around trying to replace the one bulb that’s gone out in the fairy lights—those were the bad old days.”

Think Beyond the Tree

Don’t let the tree have all the festive fun­—if you’re wondering how to decorate your house for Christmas, there are plenty of ways to bring a seasonal feel to all corners of your living space. With the warmth of a roaring fire adding to the holiday’s cozy feel, not to mention its connections with the man in red, the fireplace deserves its moment in the spotlight. Consider making it even more of a focal feature with Christmas mantel décor; it’s the ideal place to introduce a few simple holiday décor ideas. An arrangement of LED candles and seasonal ornaments will bring instant cheer—plus, don’t forget the essential festive foliage. “I have lots of OKA’s faux garlands, and I love wrapping them over the mantel, as well as around the banisters on staircases,” says Sue. “I also like to put fresh holly over picture frames.”

A festive kitchen scene, featuring a round stone-style dining table, rattan and green velvet dining chairs and string lights in the background.
A festive dining table set-up with patterned dinnerware, faux berries and candlelight.

Set a Festive Table

With much of the season’s festivities focused on gathering around the table, it’s only natural that Sue’s decorating tips for Christmas extend to the dining room too. A seasoned host, Sue sets “a lot of store in laying tables,” and will set the scene for lunch or dinner differently each day during the holiday season. “The whole basis of my table doesn’t change too much, but I might swap the colors, the napkins or the decorations,” she explains. “I always have plenty of décor on hand to make an occasion out of a meal.” For example, on her Christmas dining table, Sue makes a feature out of her Large Faux Planted Phalaenopsis Gigantea Orchid from OKA, hanging different ornaments from the stems and changing them with each meal. 

If you’re looking for fun Christmas décor ideas, look to the traditional British Christmas crackers. These are placed at each place setting, are made from cardboard and wrapped in brightly colored paper, and make a noise when pulled apart. They traditionally contain a paper crown, a joke and a small gift. In Sue’s household, these are essential addition to her festive tabletop, so much so that she often makes her own. “I decorate them with some of OKA’s faux flowers or ribbons, making sure they’re the same color theme as the table decorations,” the designer explains. “The great thing is you can put a label or tag on them and turn them into place cards. That way everyone knows where they’re sitting, and I can make sure that they get something in the cracker that they would like.”

Create an Atmosphere

Though we’re big advocates of Christmas sparkle, more than anything the season is about creating an atmosphere, and oftentimes it’s the subtle details that add to the overall feel of the festivities. “Christmas decorating for me is really about entertaining for friends and family; it’s not about making my house look sensational,” says Sue. “I like to create atmosphere with festive things that people don’t see every day. For example, I make sure that I have loads of logs for the fire so the house feels really cozy. I usually have a big basket of dried oranges too, which I use as kindling. It creates a lovely smell.”

Indeed, it’s warm and inviting spaces, festive scents and cozy corners that really make a home feel ready for the holidays, so bear this in mind when looking for Christmas decorating tips. Don’t fret too much about making it perfect, and remember—the more you plan ahead, the more you’ll be able to enjoy yourself during the festivities themselves. “I do think that’s something people should remember,” says Sue. “Don’t get too hung up on it. Christmas can be very non-stop. One year I would quite like to go away and spend it on a beach, but I think it is really a time for family and friends, and I thoroughly enjoy that.”