How to decorate with Arts and Crafts this Christmas

Arts and Crafts antiques are ideal for creating the cosy winter haven you've always dreamed of... 

Picture the Christmassy scene at a typical, late 19th-century Arts and Crafts cottage in the Cotswolds. A fire crackles in the parlour grate, and ceramic vases of holly, ivy and mistletoe are arranged with an air of artlessness on windowsills and simple wooden furniture. A noble fir tree stands in the corner, decorated with flags, bonbons and puffs of cotton wool, in common with Victorian homes everywhere... 

With a focus on artistry, materials and decorations inspired by nature, why not entice yourself to invest in some Ruskin-inspired designs with these seven easy decorating ideas.

1. Tying wide lengths of sumptuous velvet ribbon around your cushions makes for a quick and quirky Christmas decorating trick  

Heal’s oak cricket table, c1900, £1,200, Puritan Values.

On table: presents in selected wrapping paper, £1.65 per sheet, Emily Burningham; ribbons, 75p per m, Berisfords; peacock bauble £4.95; crackle bauble, £8.95; art deco bauble, £9.95, all Liberty; bell, £1, Royal Museums Greenwich; chamberstick by Dr Christopher Dresser for Perry, Son & Co, £350, Puritan Values; brass and glass candle holder, £25, Rockett St George. Settee by Collinson & Lock, £3,800, Puritan Values

On settee: present, as before; mushroom peg, £3, John Lewis; green cushion, £24.17, Rockett St George; bolster in ‘Love is Enough’ fabric, £52 per m; cushion in ‘Acanthus Tapestry’ fabric, £93 per m, both Morris & Co

On wall: wreath, £35, John Lewis; ‘Blue Heron’ paint, £21.50 per 0.94l, Benjamin Moore

2. Enjoy a traditional English Christmas with an Arts and Crafts mood. Rich tones and deep colours give a contemporary backdrop to classic 19th-century pieces

Chest, find similar at Puritan Values. Candle holder, as before. Marble bauble, £6, John Lewis. Benham & Froud chamberstick, c1900, £695 for two; Arts and Crafts box, £385, both The Design Gallery. Trellis and scalloped baubles, £4.50 each, both John Lewis. Magnifying glass, £19.95, Rockett St George. Tray (part of set), c1905, £1,250; silver-plated box, £695, both The Design Gallery. Pewter bowl (part of a set by William Hutton), £3,500 (for the set), Puritan Values. Art deco bauble, as before. Wire lights, £12, Nordic House 

3. To really make Arts and Crafts style zing, minimise the colour palette, punch up the tones to a more luminous effect and layer pattern 

Armchair, find similar at Sofa Workshop. Armchair in ‘Bramble’ fabric, £59 per m, Morris & Co

On armchair: ‘Bella’ throw, £99.99, Linen Me; cushion in ‘Acanthus Tapestry’ fabric, £93 per m, Morris & Co. ‘Mere’ footstool in ‘Snakeshead’ fabric, £445, Sofa Workshop

On footstool: backgammon, £19.95; dominoes, £39.95, both Wild & Wolf. ‘Kashmir’ tree, £225, John Lewis

On tree: berry stems, £7 each; dogwood stems, £5 each; letter baubles, £5 each; tree skirt, £20, all John Lewis; ‘Betty’ baubles, £28 for six, Neptune; crackle baubles, as before; gold baubles, £3.95 each; art deco baubles, as before, all Liberty; tree topper, £23, Nordic House

On mantelpiece: copper jug (part of WAS Benson tea service, c1905), £1,250; green jug, £255 for two, both The Design Gallery; pewter jug (part of a set by William Hutton), £3,500 (for the set), Puritan Values; votive, £4.25, Raj Tent Club; clock by Collins & Co, £2,800; chamberstick, as before, both Puritan Values

Above mirror: paper snowflake, £9, Talking Tables; letter and scalloped baubles, as before

Above fireplace: stag head wreath, £17.95, The Letteroom; mushroom pegs, as before; honeycomb paper balls, £12.50 for three, Talking Tables. Oak table by Liberty & Co, £700, Puritan Values

On table: blue votive, £6.50, Rockett St George; copper bowl by the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft, £800, Puritan Values; droplet bauble, £6; trellis bauble, as before, both John Lewis; bell, as before; tree candle holder, from £7.95, The Letteroom; green glass decorations, £4.50 each, Rastall & Daughters; wine glasses, £39 each, English Antique Glass; plate, find similar at John Lewis 

On sofa: ‘Ottavio’ throw, £59.99, Wool Me; ‘Lord Byron’ cushion, £35, National Portrait Gallery. ‘Jessica’ rug, £1,552, Amy Kent

On wall: painted as before; ‘Bird & Pomegranate’ wallpaper, £69 per roll, Morris & Co 

4. Bring festive flourishes in from your winter garden to decorate and delight. Berries and foliage sit beautifully with deep rich blues and ivy greens. Make room on a chest for extra guests to sit and light candles for a sense of intimacy 

Dining table by Peter Waals, £2,800, Puritan Values

On table: tablecloth, £54.99; napkins, £5.49 each, both Linen Me; Benham & Froud chambersticks c1900, £695 per pair, The Design Gallery; star tray, £42 for two, Nordic House; wine glasses, £38.90 each; tumblers, £27 each, both English Antique Glass; claret jug by Dr Christopher Dresser, c1870, £1,200, Puritan Values; Minton Secessionist plate (holding mince pies), £175, Patch Rogers; Newlyn copper tray (under glasses), £945; rose bowl by AE Jones, c1905, £1,850, both The Design Gallery; wreath, £45, Liberty; silver candlestick, £3,800 (for a pair), Puritan Values; cutlery, £11.50 per piece, Nordic House. Hanger (above table), £14, Nordic House. Copper rings (on hanger), £5.50 each, Rastall & Daughters. Art nouveau chair, c1910, £650, Patch Rogers

On chest: reindeer throw, £195, Woolshed Designs; ‘Grapevine Red’ cushion, £25, Emily Burningham; present, as before

By window: blinds and seat pad in ‘Ruskin’ fabric in ‘Indigo’, £66 per m, Morris & Co; plain cushions, £24.17 each, Rockett St George; cushions in ‘Cherries Charcoal’ fabric, £62 per m, Emily Burningham; nutcracker, £12.99; baubles, as before, both John Lewis 

5. Bring to the table sturdy ceramic dishes loaded with festive fruits, intermingled with joyful sparklers  

William De Morgan charger, £2,400, Patch Rogers. Heart sparklers, £6 per box; scatter stars, £3.50; robin decoration, £10 per pack, all Talking Tables. Green glass decorations, as before. Tablecloth and napkins, as before. Droplet bauble, as before

6. This Arts and Crafts staircase is decorated to create an inviting entrance and a cosy spot for guests to pull on their wellies for a Christmas Day walk 

Pilkington tile, £485; Minton tile, £475 for two, both Patch Rogers. Stocking in ‘Grapevine’ fabric in ‘Indigo’, £52 per m; with cuff in ‘Ruskin’ fabric in ‘Indigo’, £66 per m, both Morris & Co. Eucalyptus stems, £10 each; letter bauble, as before, both John Lewis. Garland, £24; pennants, £6.95, both Rastall & Daughters. Wire lights, as before. WAS Benson copper tea service c1905, £1,250, The Design Gallery. Cushion in ‘Cairngorms’ fabric in ‘Birch’, £42 per m, Voyage. Presents, as before. Notebook, find similar at John Lewis

7. Make space in the corner of your sitting room or study for a festive gift wrapping station. Cover presents with leftover rolls of wallpaper, thick velvety ribbons - and for an element of surprise nature-inspired decorations, such as these enchanting mushroom pegs 

Liberty & Co ash desk, c1895, £1,650, Patch Rogers.

On desk: wallpaper, from £62 per roll, Morris & Co; Minton tile, as before; WAS Benson copper pot (part of set), as before; ribbon, as before; letter stickers (on present), £9.95 per set, Rockett St George; glass box, £30, Royal Museums Greenwich; mini tree, £11.99, Rastall & Daughters; bells, as before; gentleman’s notebooks, £14.95 for three, Wild & Wolf; perpetual calendar, £12, Rockett St George; ship’s well lamp, £379, Original BTC; Christmas cards, £3.99 for six, Emily Burningham; wire lights, as before. Cards (on shelves), from a selection, Katie Leamon. Ebony chair, £475, Patch Rogers

On chair: present, as before; mushroom peg, as before; gift tag, £2.50 for six, Rockett St George

On walls: ‘Peale Green’ paint, £21.50 per 0.94l, Benjamin Moore; ‘Acanthus’ wallpaper in ‘Privet’, £69 per roll, Morris & Co; insect wall hanging, £11.95; moth wall hanging, £8.95, both Rockett St George

The full feature on decorating with Arts and Crafts antiques appeared in the December issue of Homes & Antiques. Back issues are still available. To purchase a copy click here

Photographs: Katya De Grunwald 
Styling: Ali Bradshaw


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