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The team at Nkuku share tips on festive decorating

Use lights and foliage on the Christmas table. Photo: Dan Duchars / Nkuku
Use lights and foliage on the Christmas table. Photo: Dan Duchars / Nkuku

The team behind homewares and furniture store Nkuku near Totnes share some of their seasonal decorating tips and reveal how they’ll be creating their own festive feel at home

Melissa Brooks, brand and marketing director

Great British Life: Try wrapping presents with brown paper and adding ribbon, foliage or a keepsake decoration. Photo: Dan Duchars / NkukuTry wrapping presents with brown paper and adding ribbon, foliage or a keepsake decoration. Photo: Dan Duchars / Nkuku

Dressing the mantle

One of my favourite Christmas traditions is using foliage collected on winter walks, to dress my mantlepiece. I take my time, carefully selecting each stem and layer both dried and evergreen foliage together to create a natural garland; dried ferns and “old man’s beard” are firm favourites to create this look. I weave wire strung fairy lights throughout to create a warm glow, and for the finishing touch, style a selection of antique brass candlesticks nestled within the foliage to provide height and a sense of understated luxury.’

Decorating the tree

Having a real Christmas tree is a must for me, as I delight in the aroma it brings into my home. For decorations, I choose recycled glass in antique gold, brass, and metallic finishes for a timeless look. I have been collecting decorations for years and thoughtfully add to my collection, only choosing pieces I really love. Each year it is like unwrapping a treasure chest of nostalgic gems. Naturally, I have some handmade pieces gifted to me by my godchildren, nephews and nieces, which adds charm and character to the tree, a detail that I love. The tree is always placed in the window of my sitting room so that I can feel a sense of joy and excitement when coming home, and the timeless and understated aesthetic helps to create a sense of calm and relaxation.

Wrapping presents

When it comes to wrapping presents, I delight in the details. My gift wrap of choice is simple brown craft paper (that can easily be recycled), tied with brown string or raffia. To add festive detailing to your gifts, attach dried and evergreen foliage, or choose dried fruits which have the added benefit of a wonderful festive aroma. For the children’s gifts, use a traditional wooden printing block to apply simple festive motifs directly onto the paper, and finish with one of Nkuku’s best loved Dew Drop baubles, that come in an array of brightly coloured finishes.

Adam Marsh, brand flagship manager

Great British Life: Find bits from the garden to make a wreath. Photo: NkukuFind bits from the garden to make a wreath. Photo: Nkuku

All the senses

Light and scent are so important when decorating for Christmas, and your home should energise all your senses. A roaring fire and a flickering flame from an amber and gold Janka tealight or Nisha mango wood hurricane lantern creates warmth and drama but try adding a few drops of cinnamon and clove oil to add a warm Christmas scent to your living room. An Indus mango wood bowl filled with clementines, and cinnamon sticks adds a warm natural aroma or introduce the scent of spruce draped across the mantlepiece, layered with simple white fairy lights and clusters of Pata baubles.

First impressions

Your first impression starts at the front door, so a wreath is the perfect way to set the tone for your Christmas decoration and bring elements of nature into your home. A natural wreath using snowy white clematis seed heads creates a natural ‘frost-like’ effect and delivers the beauty of a white Christmas. Interlace some silver crackle snow drop mini baubles to add some natural icy sparkle or some mango wood stars for rustic wooden textures.

Gathering foliage

For a natural, eco-friendly Christmas, your garden can be a source of foraged materials, and a way to avoid plastic-based decorations, whilst creating a stylish, festive scheme. A lichen-covered branch makes an amazing centrepiece when hung above your dining table and dressed with natural decorations and decorative string lights. Continue the natural feel by adding some Adisa antique gold and rust recycled glass baubles tied with natural garden string. Simple table decorations continue the theme with scented foliage around your glasses. Try trailing eucalyptus around our etched Mila wine glasses or as a natural napkin ring around our Sanee natural linen napkins.

Amy McSorley, product development director

Great British Life: The tree and mantlepiece can be central to a festive decorating theme. Photo:Dan Duchars / NkukuThe tree and mantlepiece can be central to a festive decorating theme. Photo:Dan Duchars / Nkuku

Vintage memories

As Christmas approaches, I find joy in transforming my home seasonally creating a feeling of nostalgia and warmth. I blend treasured vintage decorations from my childhood with new ‘heirlooms’, gifting myself a new ornament each year. The result is an eclectic mix of materials, colours, and memories that defy traditional themes. My Christmas tree tells a story - every bauble a chapter from my past, every new addition a promise of future celebrations.

Gift wrap joy

One of the great joys of gift giving for me is the wrapping. Each year, I create a little haven for myself: surrounded by my carefully curated gifts, a steaming mug of hot chocolate, a sweet treat, and my favourite Christmas playlist. I use recycled, mix-and-match wrapping paper collected throughout the year paired with ribbons from my 'ribbon drawer' a treasure trove of ribbons chosen for their colours and finishes. I tie these ribbons alongside home-made dried oranges and to add that final touch, I often attach a small bauble, like our Dew Drop baubles, as a special 'favour' for the recipient.



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