Real Estate

Chyka Keebaugh’s tips on decorating your home with festive flair

Written by The ReReport

THERE’S nothing quite like decking the halls, trimming the tree and planning your festive table to make you feel all Christmassy.

According to celebrity homemaker Chyka Keebaugh, the starting point for any festive interior should always be the colour palette.

“Stick to a maximum of two or three colours — any more and it becomes overwhelming,” said the former Real Housewives of Melbourne star and co-founder of The Big Group catering and events company.

She also encouraged people to decorate more than just the room with the tree.

“Spread a little cheer all around the house. You might like to add a festive installation near the foot of the stairs or on an entry hall table or simply hang a bunch of holly with a huge bow from a large pendant light.”

And don’t forget to create a visual thread that brings together the different Christmas elements in your home.

“I like to co-ordinate the colours on my tree with the table, the gift wrapping, the cards, and the wreath,” said the Chyka Home author, who has 153,000 Instagram followers.

Keebaugh recently partnered with Kmart for its Magical Homes event to show how simple it is to decorate with festive flair using Kmart’s new-range decorations.

For the event, she styled rooms at the Fitzroy 384 and Northcote 250 display homes by Burbank Homes in Point Cook.

The tree

First, decide whether you want to go real or fake with your tree.

“Both are beautiful, but I personally find an artificial tree easier because you can shape it the way you want, and the decorations don’t fall off,” Keebaugh said.

But if you do go real, regularly top up your tree with water to prolong its freshness and avoid placing it close to a window where it’s likely to dry out.

When setting up a fake tree, Keebaugh said to take time to fluff out the branches so they looked full and beautiful after a year of being tightly packed away.

And when it comes to decorating, start with the lights.

“I always begin at the top, working my way around the tree and making sure the lights sit inside the branches, not on the outside,” she said.

Then, layer the decorations to create a balanced look.

“If you have 20 of one item, such as pink baubles, put all 20 on first, making sure they’re evenly distributed before starting on the next set,” she said.

“And don’t rush. Stand back and look at what you’re creating so you don’t overdo one area and underdo another.”

When choosing a style theme, Keebaugh said be guided by your home’s interior.

“If you have a house with lots of pale pink and rose gold, why not use those colours on your tree so everything ties together.”

She has gone for a particularly creative look this year at her own home.

“I am decorating ours with pieces of cut-glass and crystal, including tiny sherry glasses and little jugs I picked up from op-shops,” she said.

She recommended placing the tree in a central spot where it could be admired, but to think about access when people were sitting around it, handing out gifts.

“You might have to move some furniture around to create a natural flow around the tree.”

The wreath

According to Keebaugh, the wreath is an underused decorating idea but a great way to set a home’s Christmas tone before you step inside.

“I love the idea that a wreath doesn’t have to be just for the front door. You might have four windows that can be seen from the street and have a wreath on each one with gorgeous bows hanging down,” she said.

Other ideas include tying small toys to a wreath with cute bows (ideal for kids’ rooms), wrapping the wreath in a garland of festive words, or trimming it with fresh herbs, coloured baubles or pompoms.

“The important thing is to keep the look simple — don’t go too over-the-top.”

The table

Make your guests feel special with personalised settings. Keebaugh said this could be done simply by using a place card and adding a keepsake to the setting, such as a small gift on each plate or a decoration tied to each napkin.

An inexpensive way to create a centrepiece with impact is to fill a large bowl or vase with baubles, or form a hedge with a row of mini Christmas trees down the middle of the table. Wrap the base of each tree with a coloured tea towel for a lively touch.

Chyka’s top decorating tips

• Avoid tinsel. It’s so 1975! Fill your tree with beautiful decorations and thread a gorgeous ribbon through the branches instead.

• Use scented sticks from variety stores to make a fake tree smell like a fresh one. Place them among the branches so they’re not visible.

• Make your tree a talking point by hanging non-traditional items.

• Fix broken hooks on ornaments and replace lights that aren’t working before packing decorations away, so they’re ready to go next year.

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