Christmas Styling Q&A with Rose & Grey
Nicki Bamford-Bowes is an interior designer and stylist who loves to go big and bold during the festive season. We asked her to share her tips for how to add sparkle to your Christmas interiors. Find more festive inspiration from Nicki on Instagram at @andthentheywentwild.
We love your statement festive displays. What does the design process look like for planning your Christmas décor? Do you meticulously plan everything out or design as you go?
It’s a bit of both. For me, part of the fun is to see how things look as you start decorating. I like to come up with a theme in advance but am always prepared to move things if they don’t work or add more or less in the way of colour, shape or textures.
Last year I had fun with a theme of oversized velvet bows, inspired by my name. Each room featured one of them, and I let the room dictate the colour palette and style. The fabric was inexpensive and making the bows was so easy, even my eight-year-old daughter Bo could join in.
What are your plans for this year’s Christmas displays?
I am still working on them. I am playing with the idea of traditional luxe versus a more graphic vibe. Or maybe there will be elements of BOTH. Watch this space!
We like to put up our tree at the beginning of December – when do you start decorating for Christmas?
I know we are all going earlier and earlier in search of that special Christmas glow. But my son’s birthday is on 1 December and we like to celebrate that before decorating the house for Christmas the following weekend. However, when I’m working with clients, I often have baubles and glitter out in July. Last year I was styling Not on the High Street’s Christmas campaign on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year. I was featuring in the photos so was all dressed up in sequins and a woolly jumper while drinking hot chocolate. I thought I would melt!
Could you share your top tips for creating unique statement festive décor? And are there any particular tools or props that you deem necessities if our readers wish to create their own?
Chickenwire. Seriously! It’s the hidden, unglamorous secret behind my biggest and most dramatic festive displays. It’s inexpensive, light and easy to mould so you can create structures to fill with foliage. And because it’s quite sturdy you can also hang lights and baubles from it. I use small gauge wire mesh which I order from Amazon. It does need to be secured to walls or mantles with screws or wire. I get so many questions about how to do this that I made a reel which you can view here.
People often ask if have floristry skills. I do not, but I do love decorating with plants and flowers. For inspiration, I like to take a trip to my favourite local florist. It helps to see what looks magical in abundance. For a real wow factor, think of a theme, go large and play with scale. If you feel nervous about starting, I’d suggest sticking with one type of flower.
For example, our blue room has a lovely calm, cool palette so when planning my Christmas concepts. I was obsessed with creating something super cool, icy with a smattering of snow. I created the look with a flurry of Snowball Gypsophila. I absolutely adore this flower on its own – and when used en masse it creates the most incredible snowy effects.
I also love using alternative greenery, such as dried flowers, pink peppercorns and pampas grass. See what catches your eye! If you want a more traditional effect, pile up big bundles of foraged greenery and don’t be afraid to mix real foliage with faux. Sprinkle lavishly with warm pin-lights and stars for a magical effect.
What is your favourite part of the festive season?
That’s easy! It’s when all the decorating is done, school is out, projects are on hold, and it is just family and friends time. I hardly ever stop rushing around so this is a precious time, when everything looks gorgeous and feels cosy. I love to snuggle down for evenings with the fire lit and candles on, fairy lights twinkling, watching Christmas movies. But then who doesn't?
What are your top three picks from our Christmas collection?
I love your oversized flocked baubles in the gorgeous earthy tones of camels plus black and grey.
The Wild Moss wreath is the perfect base to add your own additions too – or keep it simple and natural with its rustic charm and just style with a lush velvety ribbon to hang.
The Ferm Living Large Ceramic Candle Holder - Dark Grey with the twisty candles, make a great table festive centre piece that can be accessorised at Christmas but will look great on a coffee table throughout the year.