Christmas dinner table in a dining room with navy panelled walls, French-style dining table set and christmas tree

5 real homes looking fabulously festive

December 12, 2022

The internet is not short of Christmas decor inspiration – but what does it look like in real people’s houses? These five fabulously festive homes have all featured in Good Homes. Let’s take a look at these five wonderful ways to approach Christmas decor in real homes…

1. Dark, dramatic Dickension vibes in Kent

A time for tradition and nostalgia for snowy, Dickensian scenes, it’s hard to beat a period property for the perfect backdrop to Christmas decor.

When Carrie and Ed Steer spotted a Victorian villa in Kent, they felt it could be ‘the one’. The previous owner had already remodelled and extended to make a large, open-plan kitchen, dining and living area with glass doors opening onto a secluded garden. There was a separate living room for more formal occasions, as well as a generous reception hall and five bedrooms.

Carrie decided to revamp the pale-grey living room, and called on the expertise of interior designer Katie Knight, of Katie Elizabeth Design, who had helped to style her previous home. ‘I knew this would be the room for celebrations, evening entertaining, and special occasions like Christmas Day so I wanted it to feel glamorous, grown-up and a little different from the rest of the house,’ Carrie explains.

Katie suggested a dark, dramatic look with deep aubergine walls and a striking monochrome patterned ceiling – the perfect setting for hosting festive celebrations in a Victorian villa. The look is not dissimilar to the Good Homes magazine Winter Berry roomset from Ideal Home Show Christmas.

‘On Christmas Day, we’ll sit in here to open stockings and presents, next to my fabulous Christmas tree. I spend some time dressing it, but there’s no colour or style theme. We’ve got all sorts of hanging things from traditional baubles to toys and trinkets, and it’s just about having fun.’

Find out more about this renovation project here

Inside a remodelled Victorian villa with bay windows decorated in deep aubergine

Carrie’s living room walls are painted in Farrow and Ball’s Brinjal. Photo: Colin Poole

2. Scandi-style decor in a Victorian reno

Interior mavens Stephen Nash and Miranda May weren’t afraid to put a contemporary twist on their tumbledown Victorian cottage in east London. But the couple was mindful to retain nods to its heritage.

As far as festive mishaps go, Stephen, founder of ALL & NXTHING interior design studio, and his partner Miranda May, managing director of Total Management, came a cropper on the very first Christmas in their home.

‘Miranda made me buy the biggest tree we could find,’ Stephen recalls. ‘Unfortunately, we hadn’t thought to measure the front door and, of course, the obvious happened. We had to Chuckle-brother it through the front window, leaving barely a single needle left on the branches.’

A few years down the line and the couple have perfected the art of Christmas decorating, opting for a luxe Scandi look not dissimilar to one of the Good Homes magazine roomsets from Ideal Home Show Christmas. The white-and-gold tree decorations are simple and elegant, as are the parcels under the tree, wrapped in white paper and trimmed with silver ribbon.

The simple addition of white paper decorations to the floor-to-ceiling Crittall-style windows adds to the crisp, clean, Nordic-style seasonal decor, along with a simple tablescape featuring white crockery.

Find out more about this renovation project here

christmas decor in a remodelled victorian property in east london

The contemporary rear extension lends itself perfectly to a Scandi-style Christmas decor scheme. Photo: David Giles

3. Shimmering splendour in a revamped 90s build

Melanie Feely, interior designer and property developer at Feely At Home, and her husband, Lochlin, a programme control manager on High Speed 2, live in a 90s detached home in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

The couple had already held five festive celebrations before all their home renovations, including a kitchen-diner extension, were finally complete.

‘I’d originally discounted this property on Rightmove as it seemed wrong for us: the rooms were dingy and didn’t link together,’ said Melanie. On further investigation, the detached house revealed itself to be a treasure trove of unrealised potential with over 4,000 sq ft of space.

They decided to live in the house to get to grips with what worked and what didn’t. After five invaluable years planning the redesign, they were ready.

Melanie Feely wrapping presents by fireplace in contemporary renovation in Maidenhead

The fireplace sets the tone for the room’s elegant, grown-up atmosphere. Photo: Colin Poole

In the living room, an ornate fire surround, installed by the couple themselves, is the impressive focal point. The fireplace sets the tone for the room’s elegant, grown-up atmosphere. Christmas decorations in soft metallics mix effortlessly with the mirrored furniture and flock wallpaper. While the crisp, frosty white peppered around the space helping to draw every element together.

The new dining room is used for special occasions. It has an exquisite wall of panelling in rich navy, which reference the kitchen units, and French-style upholstered chairs, which draw on the living-room’s elegant aesthetic. The space that comes into its own for a traditional, all-the-trimmings Christmas lunch.

A message from the editor:

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‘I’ve opted for subtle silver and white crockery with faux foliage for the centrepiece of the dinner table,’ Melanie explains, ‘and to ramp up the opulence, I’ve bedecked our Christmas tree in luxurious copper and gold – all from Sainsbury’s.’

Find out more about this renovation project here

Dining room with panelled walls at Christmas

Melanie upcycled the dining set, which had belonged to Lochlin’s father. Photo: Colin Poole

4. Quaint Yorkshire cottage goes Nordic

Kate Winslet’s Surrey cottage in The Holiday has been a source of festive fascination since the film was released in 2006. Interior designer Amanda Lucas is living that fantasy in this stunning Yorkshire cottage.

‘My dream was to own a period property with lots of history and original features,’ says Amanda. But interiors-wise, a traditional look wasn’t on the agenda: ‘I’m naturally drawn to a Nordic interior style that uses a simple colour pallet, lots of textures and pretty details.’

This pretty Grade II-listed stone cottage in the small village of Wyke, near Bradford, was just what she was looking for. ‘My home is hundreds of years old,’ she adds. ‘I loved that it had so much charm and history, but it was in a bit of state when I bought it.’

Amanda, stripped out the fixtures and fittings that had covered up the original character of the cottage, uncovering an original fireplace in the process. She did much of the renovation work herself, picking up skills as she went. She dubbed her house ‘Hobbit Cottage’ and dedicated an Instagram account of the same name to her renovations.

‘It’s very much a winter house,’ says Amanda. ‘When the fire is lit and I’m baking in the kitchen, the place comes to life.’ Christmas decorations come from Etsy or Instagram, and she also makes plenty herself. ‘My mum gave me a large box full of old wooden toys that I dress the tree with, and I hang up a star garland above the fireplace.

‘It’s always about spending time with my family and filling my house with simple seasonal touches that I love to make myself,’ she beams.

Find out more about this renovation project here

Amanda in Yorkshire cottage living area

Decorations come from Etsy, a box of old wooden toys her mum gave her, or she makes them herself. Photo: Katie Lee

5. Candle-lit rustic barn conversion in Hampshire

Each Christmas, Natalie Woods’ Hampshire barn conversion is transformed with seasonal foliage and candles for a beautiful festive twist.

Whitewashed and simple, her home combines modern Scandi and vintage pieces with flea market finds from her native France. Texture and patina add the interest in place of colour and pattern.

When it comes to Christmas, the kitchen-diner takes centre stage. Not only is the space warm and cosy, thanks in large part to an Aga, Natalie takes a huge amount of pride in her tablescaping. This pearlescent pink and cream set up is reminiscent of the Good Homes magazine Opal Blush roomset from Ideal Home Show Christmas 2021.

‘We love to entertain, and opening the space up between the kitchen, living room and extension has made it a much more sociable home,’ says Natalie.

Find out more about this renovation project here

festive tablescape

Flea market finds combine with fresh foliage and a pale-and-interesting palette to create a chic Christmas tablescape. Photo: Brent Darby

So lovely is Natalie’s home that it’s often used for photo shoots, such as this festive-themed one for Lights4Fun:


A message from the editor:

Let us help you create the home of your dreams! Get ideas & inspiration from Good Homes every month, delivered direct to your door. Visit to sign up for the weekly Good Homes newsletter.

~ Karen Walker, Editor, Good Homes