You don't need costly decorations or an expensive tree for your home to look festive this season. Here are our favourite budget-friendly ideas.
Deck the walls - without spending a fortune
If you're celebrating the festive season on a budget this year or you're planning to be away on December 25, decorating your home may not be a priority. But you can still add some festive touches - and you don't need costly decorations or an expensive, hard-to-find tree to do it. The Nordic-inspired look, with its predominantly red and white colour scheme, is a classic, stylish and simple way to dress a room. We found this range of decorations and accessories - the most expensive of which is Dh145 - but if you're working with a smaller budget, try our home-made Nordic-inspired decorations, which cost just a few dirhams to make.
A crisp white linen tablecloth and white tableware with simple touches of red can create a striking, festive table. Start with a large felt table mat such as Zara Home's snowflake table mat (Dh40), or use a length of red and white fabric such as Ikea's Idgran Stjarna (Dh19 per metre) to make a runner. Keep napkins white but dress them up with decorative napkin rings. We like these reindeer ones from Zara Home (Dh95 for four). Or tie napkins with a piece of red ribbon (Dh20 for three metres, Marks & Spencer).
For children's place settings, slip their cutlery inside these fun knitted stockings from Crate and Barrel (Dh75 for four). Bring it all together with a few small red or white tealight candle holders or lanterns, or a vase of red roses.
It wouldn't be Christmas without candlelight, so choose candles that add to the overall decorative effect. Crate and Barrel's red Diaz candle holder (from Dh75) on a side table will introduce an instant festive feel. This trio of metal candleholders from Ikea (Dh25) is perfect for the Nordic look, and unintrusive enough for your table setting. Ikea's trio of block candles (Dh39 for three) has a retro motif that's colourful enough for Christmas but cool enough to keep out all year round.
Evocatively scented candles, such as True Grace's Rosemary and Eucaplyptus or Cinnamon and Clove will warm the room with suitably seasonal scents (which is especially nice if you don't have a real tree). We also like Wax Lyrical's Wild Berry and Amethyst (Dh135, Indigo Living), which looks and glows as lovely as it smells.
Tinsel doesn't get a look in with the Nordic theme; use garlands of wooden stars, hearts or letters to spell a seasonal greeting instead (for something similar, try Harvest Home). If you really want to embrace this look, hang a string of red and white fabric bunting.
Heart-shaped decorations are another key part of this look. We like this white wooden version (Dh99, Lakeland) and small silver metal heart (Dh45, Luz de Luna), hung on a wall or door handle (use more of your red ribbon for added impact).
If you can't face Christmas without a tree in the room, try this mini wooden cut-out version - complete with greeting - that you don't even have to decorate (Dh145, Harvest Home).
One of our other favourite tree-free finds this year was this simple hanging display for your decorations from Ikea. We used these typically Nordic style red wooden hearts and white paper doves (also from Ikea).
A designer whose name is now synonymous with Christmas decorations, Gisela Graham, makes beautiful rustic-style accessories that work well with the Nordic theme. Her current collection includes this charming tin enamel doll (Dh125, Harvest Home) and felt angel (Dh45, Indigo Living), which looks just as pretty on a shelf or table as it would sitting on a tree.
For a fun finishing touch, how about Boxed Online's festive cushions (choose from HoHoHo, Happy Holidays or Merry & Bright, from Dh140) or a complementing bookend with bells (Dh107, both www.boxedonline.com)?