Decorate like a pro this Christmas: 8 tips and trends

Interior designer Damien Packwood shares his Christmas decorating tips and trends to create up-to-date elegance in your home this season.

'Mixing natural elements with the right touch of glitter creates the perfect balance'

Damien Packwood from Damien Morris Designs in Charlottetown shows off some decorating tips he used in his own home this season. (Submitted by Damien Packwood)

One fun and social way to find decorating inspiration this time of year is by taking a house tour — people with beautiful, well-decorated homes allow perfect strangers into their space this time of year, usually to to raise funds for a charity.

In Charlottetown, one such tour is being organized by brand new interior designer and decorator Damien Packwood of Damien Morris Designs on Dec. 1. 

Christmas is Packwood's favourite season, and he agreed to share the decorating tips he'll be employing in the homes on the tour.

Top 4 trends:

1. Natural Elegance 

Natural elements like birch logs and long-needle pine are a big trend, as is using lots of white and touches of glitter. (Submitted by Damien Packwood)

One trend that is continuing this year is bringing natural elements into your home — birch, twigs, moss and greenery help create a natural look. 

"I have truly embraced this trend and mixing natural elements with the right touch of glitter creates the perfect balance," Packwood said. 

2. Metals 

Packwood likes a very full tree for a luxurious look — note how the branches are overflowing with embellishments. (Submitted by Damien Packwood)

"Mixing up your metals this year is a great way to stay on trend," said Packwood. Normally, silver and gold dominate at Christmas, but this year rose gold and copper are gaining ground.

"It looks amazing paired with whites or mix the four metals together — rose gold, copper, gold and silver," he enthused. 

3. Geometrics  

"Geometrics are replacing the classic round Christmas ball," said Packwood. 

He suggests: "Think outside the box and choose different shapes and bold colours. Use solid shapes and wire cut-out shapes to create an interesting look. Don't forget to use varying sizes from the bottom of the tree to the top."

4. Winter White

White is still popular, said Packwood  — it gives a Scandinavian feel when paired with natural elegance. 

"Pairing varying shades of white with clear glass ball ornaments on a tree will give lots of interest. Using picks with ice and snow will also help pull this trend together," Packwood advises. 

Top 4 tips:

1. A tremendous tree

Whether you have one tree — or 8 like Packwood — "you should always have one tree that stands out from the rest," he said.

A full, feathery tree, one of eight in Packwood's home, on an upstairs landing. No ordinary tree skirt for this designer! (Submitted by Damien Packwood)

If your tree is an artificial tree, fluff it well. "This can make or break your end design," Packwood said. "You want to make sure you straighten every branch and make it look full."

Add plenty of lights next — Packwood prefers warm white for a cosy look — looping the string on top of each branch back and forth toward the trunk to the tip of each branch. Making sure the tree is well-lit, not just at the branch tips, will ensure volume and glamour.  

Packwood then unwinds a grapevine wreath and winds it around the tree to add a natural element. 

Packwood wants his guests to feel like royalty when they sit down to dine, so he amps up his tablescape with fresh greens, candles, moss balls, pieces of ribbon, reindeer and vintage books. (Submitted by Damien Packwood)

The next step is another must for Packwood: adding artificial picks or sprays to fill in empty spaces (the tree branches will hold them in place without wiring), create interest and add some glitter. 

Add your ornaments to the tree, working from the inside of the tree to the outside. Hang some ornaments "inside" the tree, not just on the tips or ends of branches, to add dimension.

Finally, if you want even more volume, add lengths of wired ribbon about 15 cm (6 inches) wide, cut in 60-centimetre (two-foot) pieces. Weave the piece of ribbon through the branches until you like how it looks — you don't want the ends to show. This may take some practice, Packwood notes.   

2. Consistent colour scheme

"Carrying your colour scheme throughout the main floor is important to create a uniform look," said Packwood. 

Packwood transformed his two-storey entry into a winter wonderland with lights and inexpensive icicles. (Submitted by Damien Packwood)

"This year I did my main tree in navy, gold and white. So, I changed my toss cushions to navy and gold, I have hints of navy throughout the room and even carried the gold into my table setting."

Packwood wants his guests to feel like royalty when they sit down to dine — "I used fresh greens, candles, moss balls, pieces of ribbon, reindeer and old books," he said. 

3. Nail that railing

"Railings are one thing I love and hate at the same time — they are a lot of work and it seems like the garland is never full enough," said Packwood. 

A peacock anchors Packwood's stair railing. (Submitted by Damien Packwood)

"This year I made sure the garland was nice and full. I started with three cheap basic garlands, winding them together, and added picks/sprays of other greens."

He bought some faux magnolia to add interest, wired in pine cones, added peacock feathers to carry through the navy theme, and wound in some fresh pine "to give it an airy look."

"I have been building on this garland for a couple of years and it is finally where I want it," he said. 

4. You don't have to be rich 

"Your decorations don't always have to be the most expensive to make a wow factor," said Packwood. 

'This year I did my main tree in navy, gold and white,' says Packwood. He inserts lots of sprays and picks to add volume. (Submitted by Damien Packwood)

He brings in branches from outside, sprays them with fake snow and uses dollar store icicles to create natural arrangements throughout his home. "The cost is minimal but it has a big impact," he said. 

If you're not able to decorate your own home or need help, Packwood offers holiday decorating packages from $300 and up.

Tickets for the Dec. 1 Ultimate Christmas House Tour are $30, with proceeds going to the Santa's Angels charity — visit