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From Christmas crackers to candles – Interior designer Philippa Buckley’s style tips for festive homes

Not only is interior designer Philippa Buckley an experienced hand at hanging the holly, but a seat at her table for Christmas dinner is in great demand. She lets Caroline Allen in on her seasonal style secrets.

The seasonal signs have been nudging their way into the shops for quite a while, and now it’s all about cocooning for Christmas. Interior designer Philippa Buckley of Studio 44 embraces the festivities in style. “Treasured pieces collected over the years can remind us of how reassuring traditions can be and are all part of what makes Christmas so special,” she says. “However, every year is different and I like to subtract from the past and add to the present to bring something different, and hopefully make the occasion more memorable for the family and those who visit.”

This year she is celebrating with her extended family – and she is certainly an experienced Christmas host. The secret to a sparkling Christmas, she says, is to concentrate on key areas, with bold statements and signature flourishes. “The tree, for me, is the focal point – a symbol of Christmas that comes in so many guises, from the largest green pines to snow white artificial trees. The choice is wide and there’s something to suit an array of interior styles and personal tastes.”

Her home is modern and minimalist. “With a backdrop of all white, I tend to keep it clean and simple with a hint of sparkle, silver accessories and baubles that will create a festive mood. My tree takes centre stage, with lots of presents underneath,” she says.

“I decorate the hall with a wreath and the hall table with artificial stems from Helen Turkington Interiors in Dunville Avenue, Ranelagh. I place three large silver reindeer beside them to create visual impact on entering the hall. The stairs are illuminated with votive candles. I add a few festive pieces to enhance the theme and put away some items that don’t contribute to the mood. My time spent designing and making jewellery makes me difficult to please, as I keep going back to rearrange items or edit the theme.”

Whatever the type of interior, Philippa says the emphasis should be on creating an inviting mood with the glow of Christmas lights and the enchanting twinkle of softly flickering candles. Dressing the tree is an intrinsic part of the ritual. “I love the sparkle of tiny white lights and a slew of shiny, glittery pieces which brighten the darkest of nights in the depths of winter. It still evokes a sense of joy and acknowledges, for me, that Christmas Day is fast approaching.”


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