John Lewis Single Sheepskin Rug
Plan a great festive escape with a look inspired by hedgerows and berries with a fresh take on the classic red and green
Christmas is a time of plenty and you can afford to be generous with this nature-inspired decorating scheme. Working with natural foliage and already treasured home accessories, it’s about adding in extras in the time-honoured country tradition of building things slowly to last a lifetime. Slow-living, relaxed dining, convivial cheer – these are the cornerstones of a country Christmas.
This year, our design and buying teams have been inspired by British landscapes and the Festive Field look comes fresh from the land of the Leckford Estate – provider of home-grown produce to our Partners at Waitrose. ‘The decorations range from vegetables and fruits to cooking utensils and farm animals in a mix of materials including glass, felt and sisal brush to give a rustic highlight,’ says Jason Billings-Cray, Partner & Christmas buyer.
The beauty of the classic red and green scheme is that it always feels fresh. The Christmas tree will be the talking point so fill it with festive cheer but think further afield too by placing swags and garlands throughout the room to embellish windows and fireplaces, and add vases of festive greenery on tables and sideboards.
‘Foliage is your friend when creating your own arrangements,’ says Wil Law (@johnlewis_Wil), Partner & Home Design Stylist. ‘The organic, natural imperfection of branches, pine fronds, dried flowers and acorns only adds to the charm, so make sure any expanse of surface has a spray of these on it. Battery-powered LED lights, tightly woven around the display will give it a magical quality.’
“If your fireplace is the centre of your living room, dress the mantelpiece or add a garland to the mirror to create an inviting space”
Country-style dining should be a relaxed and convivial affair. It's all about bringing friends and family together to enjoy the fruit of the land. Think good food, good drink and plenty of it.
When dressing the table, interiors stylist Sara Bird of The CONTENTed Nest favours keeping things natural: ‘Go back to nature and be inspired by undyed, organic or even raw fabrics and textiles,’ she says. ‘Cotton, hemp and linen drape beautifully at windows or for table linen. They wash and wear well too.’
‘Layering is important in bringing drama to a Christmas tablescape,’ adds Bethan Harwood (@johnlewis_bethan), Partner &Home Design Stylist. ‘A runner makes a great base that elongates the table. Style decorations along the length – garlands, baubles and tealights all work beautifully here and will make the table feel extra special.’
If you are feeding a crowd, you may need every inch of space so put the emphasis on the surrounding area. Dress the window sills, hang baubles above the table and tie decorations on to the back of chairs – these elements all bring a little Christmas magic.
“Bringing the outdoors inside will elevate your decorations. Simple tree shapes, felt animals and mushrooms will complement a country-style interior”
Country-style decorating is as much about the great outdoors as it is about creating a cosy home to retreat to so pile on the Christmas favourites such as wreaths, lanterns, garlands and outdoor lights.
Outdoor lights and lanterns are wonderful for guiding guests to your door while a wreath or door swags extend a warm welcome even before they set foot inside. Consider how indoors and out will work together, planning sightlines from windows and using outdoor illuminations to put on a magical festive show.
And let's not forget our new-found love of entertaining outdoors. Light the firepit, heat the mulled wine, pile on the sheepskins and wrap up warm. A few hours out in the crisp chilled air makes the heat of the fire all the more welcome when you dive back inside.