What is this year’s most charming Christmas theme?

Stylist Liz Bauwens picks a Christmas theme for at least one glossy magazine every year.

She’s worked for the Vogue group, Good Housekeeping, Ideal Home, House & Garden, Country Homes & Interiors and lots more, as well as styling books and ad campaigns.

Upcycled Chic & Modern Hacks by Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell

Liz and I have written six interiors style books together. The most recent is Upcycled Chic & Modern Hacks. Note the ‘feather’ hooks on the left – all part of this year’s ‘birds’ theme.

Now Liz has opened a shop called Otto Trading in Acton, London. I visited it to get ideas for Christmas decorating and to find out what theme she thinks works best this Christmas.

Birds is a top Christmas theme 2016

Liz has identified ‘birds’ as a top Christmas theme this year. I’m delighted to hear this. Firstly, it’s a charming theme.

Secondly, The Middlesized Garden blog has decided to come indoors this week, because it is winter, after all.  Luckily, a theme of birds is entirely appropriate for a gardening blog. I feel I can write about birds in Christmas decorating without being accused of going off-topic.

Bird garland from Otto Trading

String a paper bird garland along your kitchen shelves this Christmas. Available from Otto Trading.

Liz is very good at finding things which are both stylish and original. She travels around the UK and France to find unusual hand-made and vintage items which have simplicity and character. ‘I’m also interested in the fair trade and eco side of it all. How and where things are made is important,’ she says.

I love the way she’s hung this bird garland on open shelves. It’s small and delicate – it won’t get in the way of using the shelves. If you’re very nifty with craft, you could probably make one from bird stencils.

But I couldn’t find any suitable ones, so perhaps it’s better to buy it from Otto Trading for £6.50 (Liz can post it, although she hasn’t got full online trading set up yet).

A Christmas theme of birds made of paper, iron or glass.

This rustic bird on the right is hand-made in England. Perfect for a Christmas themed mantelpiece – and it would look just as good on a garden table outside in the summer.

How to rock a theme

You don’t have to have everything the same when you have a Christmas theme. It’s a great opportunity to mix things up in a contemporary way without ending up just a muddle. Liz has feather patterned plates, feather hooks, several different sizes and styles of decorative birds, a bird garland, knitted birds and more.

When you walk in the shop, you don’t immediately think ‘what a lot of birds’. It just all looks very pretty and hangs together without looking ‘matchy-matchy’.

How to rock a Christmas bird theme
Theme decorations by topic rather than style
Colourful bird decorations for your Christmas theme

A clever tip for shelves

I couldn’t resist telling you how Liz created her shop shelves, although that’s not strictly about either Christmas decorating or birds.

She bought old ladders and painted them with a quick wash of white paint. She then painted new scaffolding boards with the same white wash, and fixed them to the ladders. It was much cheaper than buying shelving, and has a lovely rustic look.

Hand-knitted pheasants
Hop-picking ladder shelf unit
Shelves made of old ladders and scaffolding boards

Find more of Liz’s clever tips in our books: Upcycled Chic & Modern Hacks, Thrifty Chic, Fleamarket Chic and Country in the City.

A quick, stylish Christmas table centrepiece

Use a branch from your garden as a light, contemporary centrepiece for a dining or side table. Liz found this apple branch in her mother’s garden, and used it as a base for her Christmas theme.

A garden branch as a Christmas table centrepiece

Use a branch with good proportions – not too big or it will topple over. This is around 1m/3ft high.

A branch in a jar or vase can be unstable, so Liz used white aquarium gravel to weight down the base. You can get it easily in pet shops, or via this Amazon link. (I’m an Amazon affiliate, so if you buy via the links, I may get a small fee, but it won’t affect the price you pay.)

The finished Christmas table centrepiece
Liz Bauwens in Otto Trading.
Tips for making a Christmas centrepiece

Or watch the video below to see how Liz does it:

Find Otto Trading at 113 Churchfield Road, London W3 6AH for vintage and contemporary homewares, and also interior design advice.

Choose a Christmas theme

And there’ll be more Christmas decorating ideas in the next few blog posts, so do join us every Sunday morning – subscribe by email in the box on the top right of the page.

I also find that Pinterest is a great resource for visual ideas, so I’ll be picking favourite Christmas decorating looks on the Middlesized Garden Christmas Pinterest board – let me know if you have a Christmas Pinterest board, too. Thank you!

The post What is this year’s most charming Christmas theme? appeared first on The Middle-Sized Garden.

from The Middle-Sized Garden http://www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk/what-is-this-years-most-charming-christmas-theme/


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