How to create a maximalist Christmas

From bold velvets in berry tones to antiques that glisten in the candlelight, here’s how to serve Christmas with a flourish and an abundance of festive cheer

Dining table decorated with clusters of witch balls
1

Dress your hall table with swathes of fresh green foliage, a golden bowl laden with fruit and a scattering of glistening baubles.  Mirrors and ornate frames lead the eye upwards, while reflecting the cosy glow of candlelight.

Hall table dressed with fresh foliage and ornate gilt frames
Wall painted in Hague Blue, £46.50 for 2.5l, Farrow & Ball. Showgirl velvet, £115 per m, Anna Hayman Designs. 18th-century Italian rococo console table, £5,900, Brownrigg.

2

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a bowl of walnuts and a novelty nutcracker. Arrange an appetising display on a tiered cake stand, surrounded by cut and coloured glass vessels for a tantalising centrepiece.  

Appetising display on a tiered cake stand
Wall painted as before. 19th-century Chinese export leather and brass-bound camphor trunk, £2,300, M Lees and Sons. Present wrapped in Peacock Feathers paper, £5 per roll, John Lewis & Partners.  Mid 20th-century French silver-plated cake stand, £650, Brownrigg.
3

Make sure the eye is drawn to every inch of your tree – arrange the baubles to create maximum impact and intersperse vintage trinkets for a more-is-more approach. Team with plenty of clashing patterns in the stockings, rugs and wrapping paper for a look that’s vibrant and fabulously OTT.

Christmas tree decorated with maximalist decorations
Thin gold candlesticks (on mantelpiece), £25 each, Focus on the Past. Fluoro candles, £3 each, Graham & Green. Royal Blue Spruce 7ft Christmas tree, £619, Balsam Hill. 1920s silk top hat, £85, Lark Vintage. Peacock rug, from £995, Wendy Morrison. 19th-century green velvet deep buttoned slipper chair, £850, Lorfords. Gold On Golden Oriole cushion, £100, Timorous Beasties. Zebra printed cowhide rug, £495, Graham & Green.
Opulent Christmas tree decorated with gold

4

Remember your stairs are a brilliant place to show off your decorative excesses. Weave swags of greenery around and over your banisters, then hang a few oversized baubles and peacock feathers from the branches. If you’re blessed with wide treads and alcoves, these are ripe for your treasured ornaments.

Staircase decorated with swags of greenery and oversized baubles
Wall painted in French Grey Mid, £45 for 2.5l, Little Greene. Stairs painted in Hague Blue, £62 for 2.5l, Farrow & Ball.  Paper decorations, find similar at Paperchase.
5

Take a florist-bought wreath to another level with a few pinned-in-place antique and vintage brooches.

Wreath decorated with antique and vintage brooches
Brooches, £15 each, Rachel’s & Michael’s Antiques.  Retro baubles, £4.50 each, Raj Tent Club. Jewelled insect, £18, Gisela Graham. Honeycomb paper balls, find similar at Paperchase.
6

Shine on with clusters of baubles and witch balls artfully arranged hanging from the ceiling. Team with brightly coloured candles and your most over-the-top tableware for a setting that wows.  

Dining table decorated with clusters of witch balls
Wall painted in Bavarian Forest, from £26.50 for 0.94 litres, Benjamin Moore. Cotton sateen red velvet curtain c1890, £200 a pair, Clifton Vintage. Russian ormolu and crystal antique candelabra, £9,500 for a pair, Mayfair Gallery. Chinoiserie japanned side chairs, £1,150 for a pair; English mahogany chair, £950 for six; 1950s dining table, £1,900, all Lorfords.
7

Up the whimsical stakes and ensure even the quietest and most modest members of your household are dressed up to the nines with tiaras, crowns and necklaces – the more bejewelled the better! Position busts in your entrance hall or on the landing to give visitors a smile. 

Antique busts decorated with tiaras, crowns and necklaces
Wall painted in India Yellow, £46.50 per 2.5l, Farrow & Ball. Plaster classical figure, £1,450, Lorfords.
8

‘Tis the season to whip out your cut glass decanters and most precious antique glassware for a celebration that exudes glamour. Bedeck the top of your drinks cabinet with fresh greenery, a selection of artfully placed ornaments and a clutch of witch balls for a super-sized statement.

Drinks cabinet decorated with fresh greenery, a selection of artfully placed ornaments and a clutch of witch balls for a super-sized statement.
Small witch ball, £50; large witch balls, £80 each, all Anne Fowler. Walnut cocktail cabinet on carved giltwood base, £2,950, Loveday Antiques.
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