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Expert Advice: 8 Decorating Ideas for an English Holiday, from London Designer Rita Konig

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Expert Advice: 8 Decorating Ideas for an English Holiday, from London Designer Rita Konig

December 22, 2017

Interior designer Rita Konig is known for her charm and welcoming interiors; she’ll invite you into her West London house for design workshops, where she dispenses practical advice (and a glass of Prosecco, or tea and cake) on creating “comfortable and beautiful rooms.” If you missed her Christmas ateliers on decking the halls, we’re bringing you a virtual workshop with Rita’s top holiday tips—including some favorite English traditions to adopt. Here are her tips.

For a schedule of upcoming workshops, go to Rita Konig.

1. Make the mantelpiece merry.

photograph courtesy of rita konig ltd. 9
Above: Photograph courtesy of Rita Konig LTD.

No space for a tree? Rita has a clever solution: “I do the mantel when I’m not having a tree; in fact, I first did it because I didn’t feel I had space for a tree, and since we were away for Christmas it didn’t seem worth it to get one,” she says. “Deck the mantel with fir garlands and decorate it with pine cones, candy canes, and Christmas decorations. Then use the fireplace to gather the presents and hang the stockings.”

2. Deck the halls—and the garden.

mistletoe, ready to be hung. see diy: a tabletop garland of mistletoe and meyer 10
Above: Mistletoe, ready to be hung. See DIY: A Tabletop Garland of Mistletoe and Meyer Lemons for more ideas. Photograph by Justine Hand for Remodelista.

Rita hangs aromatic greenery generously throughout her London home, including “a large bunch of mistletoe in the hall tied with ribbon,” she says. And she dresses up existing greenery, too, indoors and out, with lights.

3. Institute a wrapping theme.

see the simple wrapping ideas we return to again and again in 7 quick fixes: h 11
Above: See the simple wrapping ideas we return to again and again in 7 Quick Fixes: Holiday Gift Wrap.

Consider a wrapping scheme: “I don’t like matching all my gifts, but I do like to think about how they will all look together—which is a bit silly since they get muddled up with everyone else’s,” Rita says. For example, she’ll make her gifts feel cohesive by adding touches of neon: “There seems to be a lot of neon about in London this Christmas—particularly from a brand I love called Meri Meri.” Or go old-school: “I also like tying candy canes to the tops of my parcels,” she says.

4. Keep traditional treats on hand.

photograph from in the kitchen with skye gyngell, london’s chef du jour. 12
Above: Photograph from In the Kitchen with Skye Gyngell, London’s Chef du Jour.

Which traditional English treats to indulge in? “Well, roasted chestnuts, of course,” Rita says. “I love large bowls of sweet tangerines and a lot of peppermint creams. Also I totally love the crystallized orange slices in chocolate.”

5. Gild the table.

a privet garland, with candlelight, makes for a festive tabletop. see diy vide 13
Above: A privet garland, with candlelight, makes for a festive tabletop. See DIY Video: Easy Holiday Garland for directions.

For the holiday table, add “a lot of candlelight and bowls of chocolates, and more fir down the table if you have space,” Rita says. Most important? “As much gold as possible. You really want the table to twinkle.”

6. Invoke Dickens.

candles in the window, from christmas in burgundy: at home with the expat fami 14
Above: Candles in the window, from Christmas in Burgundy: At Home with the Expat Family Behind the Cook’s Atelier.

To make your home festive and inviting, stick to tradition: “A large wreath is really pretty,” Rita says; hang one on the door or in the front window. She adds: “I always love lamps on tables in windows throughout the year as they look so inviting from outside. And the window is a very good place to put a tree for that reason.”

7. Take tea.

afternoon tea. photograph from the très diy hotel henriette in paris. 15
Above: Afternoon tea. Photograph from The Très DIY Hotel Henriette in Paris.

Where to go for a festive London afternoon? First, “shopping on Bond Street and in St. James, followed by tea at The Wolsley or at The Colbert on Sloane Street,” Rita says. Not in London? Venture out for a hot drink and an evening of window shopping—or simply put the kettle on. (For our favorite picks, see 5 Traditional English Tea Kettles, Comfort Edition.)

8. Celebrate Boxing Day.

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Above: Photograph courtesy of Rita Konig LTD.

The number-one English tradition to adopt this season? “Boxing Day,” Rita says. “It’s a holiday here the day after Christmas and it is a very nice buffer. It’s a day for lying about and eating a lot!”

For more holiday decor ideas, see our posts:

N.B. This post is an update; the original story ran on December 19, 2016.

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