How to use antique Christmas decorations

Add a twist to your traditions this Christmas with our contemporary ideas for decorating with antique and vintage finds

A gilt toleware chandelier and Victorian ewer-shaped glass jug form the centrepiece of this traditional dining table
1

A group of reindeer create a statement in any hallway with their cheerful bauble necklaces. Decorate a console with festive foliage for an inviting welcome.

A collection of birch reindeer on display
Mirror, from a selection; French mid-century birch reindeer, £550 each, all M Charpentier Antiques. Small mercury ornament candle holder, £85 for a pair, Decorative Antiques UK. Ruby wine glasses, £220 for six, Graham Smith Antiques. Victorian silver resist candlestick, £135, Graham Smith Antiques. Vintage baubles, from £4 each, Goose Home and Garden. ‘Cercle’ console table, £595, Oka. Wrapping paper, from a selection at Sainsbury’s. Ribbons, find similar at John Lewis.
2

Stack a drinks trolley with everything you need after dinner: games, drinks and sweet treats. Fill antique glassware with delectable delights to tempt your guests and add sparkle to the room.

An antiques drinks trolley with glassware filled with sweets
Mid-century brass drinks trolley, £1,500, Nicholas Wells Antiques. On trolley: red finch bird decoration, £6, Oka; Victorian glass tazza, £285 for a pair, Graham Smith Antiques; mercury goblets, £235 for a pair, Decorative Antiques UK; large glass Regency cut crystal bowl, £275; large Georgian glass rummer, £395; Regency-style crystal and silver biscuiteer, £425; amber glass wine decanter, £195; coromandel wood games compendium, £1,650, all Graham Smith Antiques. ‘Miss Behaving’ footstool, in ‘Patricia’ velvet, from £461, Sofa Workshop. On footstool: clear cut glass Regency decanter, £450 for a pair; ruby wine glasses, £220 for six, all Graham Smith Antiques. Food and drink, from a selection at Sainsbury’s. ‘Shalimar’ rug, £1,485, Oka.
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A selection of antique witch balls hung above the fireplace create a dramatic focal point, while a festive plant decorated with lights adds a glow to the corner of a room.

A selection of antique witch balls hung above a fireplace
‘Amelie’ two-seater sofa in ‘Sky Lime’, £1,494, Parker Knoll. On sofa: cushions (from left): 19th-century needlepoint cushion, £185 for a pair, M Charpentier Antiques; blue cushion in ‘Oaken’ in blue (F4352/03), £65 per m, Colefax and Fowler; ‘Huntingtower’ cushion £49.95; mohair throw in ‘Blonde’, £89.95, both Bronte by Moon. Side table with travertine top, £585, M Charpentier Antiques. On side table: antique books, from a selection at Briggs and Oliver; urn, £120; whitestone pots, from £7.50, all Petersham Nurseries. Large ‘Aztec’ ottoman in Liberty ‘Floral Mawston Meadow’ velvet, from £370; ‘Miss Behaving’ footstool in ‘Patricia’ velvet, from £461, both Sofa Workshop. On ottoman: stone bird bath, £75, Petersham Nurseries; vintage baubles, from £4 each, Goose Home and Garden; French Verlys glass dish, £545, Graham Smith Antiques; wrapping paper, from a selection at Sainsbury’s. On footstool: silver plate dish, £45, Decorative Antiques UK; ruby wine glasses, £220 for six; Regency decanter, £450 for a pair, all Graham Smith Antiques. Witch balls, from £100 each, Luke Honey. Ribbon from a selection at John Lewis. On mantelpiece: whitestone pots, from £7.50 each, Petersham Nurseries; terracotta pot, stylist’s own; Victorian silver resist candlestick, £135, Graham Smith Antiques; antique books, as before; red finch bird decoration, £6, Oka; small mercury candle holder, £85 for a pair, Decorative Antiques UK; vintage baubles, as before. ‘Shalimar’ rug, £1,485, Oka.
4

Hang mismatched glass pendants and chandeliers to create a dramatic yet sophisticated effect above your festive dining table.

A chandelier hangs above a festive themed dining table
French Louis XVI-style dining chairs, £2,400 for six, M Charpentier Antiques. Lighting (from left): gilt toleware chandelier, £235, Petersham Nurseries; 1920s milk glass ceramic pendant, £120 each, Original House; grey bead chandelier, £440, Petersham Nurseries; gilt and fleur-de-lys chandelier, £350, Petersham Nurseries. On mantelpiece: mirror, find similar at M Charpentier Antiques; mercury goblet, £235 for a pair, Decorative Antiques UK. On table (from left): ‘Sorano’ plates, £12 each; ‘Sorano’ side plates, £6 each, all Oka; mercury candlestick, £295 for a pair, Decorative Antiques UK; whitestone pots, from £7.50 each, Petersham Nurseries; cutlery and napkins, find similar at Briggs and Oliver; large stone pot, £175, Petersham Nurseries; Edwardian champagne glasses, £395 for eight; Victorian ewer-shaped glass jug, £250, all Graham Smith Antiques; tablecloth in ‘Perseus’ in ‘Red/Aqua’ (F4348/02), £65 per m, Colefax and Fowler; wrapping paper, from a selection at Sainsburys.
5

Create an edible centrepiece by piling an antique toleware stand high with Christmas nuts. Produce a warm atmosphere and a sense of intimacy with plenty of cosy candlelight.

An antique toleware containing nuts sits between two candles on a dining table
On mantelpiece: mirror, find similar at M Charpentier Antiques; pair of 18th-century toleware candlesticks, £2,850, Wakelin & Linfield. On table: toleware four-tier shrimp holder, £240, M Charpentier Antiques; rare brass and toleware candlesticks, from a selection at Wakelin & Linfield; Edwardian champagne glass, £395 for eight, Graham Smith Antiques; whitestone pot, from £7.50, Petersham Nurseries; ‘Sorano’ side plate, £6, Oka; napkins and fish knives, find similar at Briggs and Oliver; tablecloth as before.
6

A wire birdcage doubles wonderfully as a festive focal point. Fill it up with sparkling baubles in a variety of colours to make an eye-catching display.

A birdcage filled with baubles
Nineteenth-century French birdcage, £375, M Charpentier Antiques. Vintage baubles, from £4 each, Goose Home and Garden. Red finch bird decoration, £6, Oka. Confit pots, from £145, all from a selection at Petersham Nurseries. French 18th-century small mercury plate gold mirror, £235; small Swedish bedside table, £1,200, both M Charpentier Antiques. Silver plate dish, £45, Decorative Antiques UK.
7

Mix wall lights with delicate ceramics to make a statement above a bed. Finish off with a festive garland above the headboard.

A bedroom with ceramic plates attached to the wall behind it
‘Foxtail’ double bed frame, £825, Button & Sprung. Small Swedish bedside table, £1,200, M Charpentier Antiques. Pine and cone garland, £115, Oka. On wall: Royal Worcester plates, £130 for four, Graham Smith Antiques; other plates, from a selection at Graham Smith Antiques; Italian sconce, £1,600 for a pair; French 1920s mirror sconce, £750 for a pair, all Maison Artefact; metal candle sconce, find similar at Maison Artefact. ‘Amelia’ bed linen, £100 for double duvet set, Christy. Cushion in ‘Mazely’ in red (F4333/05), £65 per m, Colefax and Fowler. Mohair cushion in ‘Burnt Gold’, £49.95, Bronte by Moon. Velvet cushion, from a selection at Christy. ‘Forest Green’ bedspread, £325, Raj Tent Club. ‘Atlas’ throw in ‘Brick Red’, £90, Christy. Silk throw in ‘Isador’ silk in ‘Pale Aqua’ (F4329/02), £125 per m, Colefax and Fowler. On table: 19th-century brass candlestick lamp, £550 for a pair, M Charpentier Antiques; confit pot from a selection at Petersham Nurseries; silver plate dish, £45; antique tassle decoration (on bed), £80, both Decorative Antiques UK.

Photographs: Katya De Grunwald
Twitter/Instagram: @katyadegrunwald

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Styling: Sally Denning