Tips on decorating your fireplace for Christmas

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When it comes to Christmas, nothing makes the home looking more inviting, warm and festive than a decorated fireplace. The focus of the lounge, it's around the fireplace that you and your guests will gather on those cold, winter evenings with a glass of mulled wine in hand.

The pressure to make this central feature look beautiful is therefore pretty high. Luckily, it's one of the easiest elements in the house to transform. Here are a few tips on decorating your fireplace and fireplace for Christmas: 

Safety first

The first point to bear in mind before considering any sort of decoration is safety. Yes, sorry, this is the boring part. However, the fact remains if you loop flammable tinsel or wreaths anywhere close to naked flames, then you're asking for trouble. We know you wouldn't consciously do anything that stupid, but decorations can slip and dangle, so make sure you a) use a fire guard and b) securely affix your decorations at a safe distance. This should also prevent any small children from being able to tug decorations and potentially get hit by falling objects. 

Okay, now that lecture is out of the way, we can move on to the fun stuff!

Traditional

While you can create a look that fits perfectly with the style of your lounge, most people will head down the 'traditional' route - i.e. wreathes, foliage, pine garlands, red bows and stockings. This quintessential look screams 'Christmas' and works well when intertwined with safe fairy lights. What's nice about this traditional decoration is that it looks great no matter if your lounge is super minimalist or an explosion of chintz.  

You can buy ready-made garlands - both of the real and fake variety - or make your own. There are lots of ways to do this. You can simply tie handfuls of holly, pine and other greenery together with twine or, if there's not so much foliage available, combine it with fake bits and pin it into a rope using florist's wire. If the holly doesn't have berries, tie in some fake ones for colour. Another option is to use an oasis and cover it in your chosen materials. Adding orange slices and cinnamon sticks will release a nice scent. Alternatively, why not string up some pine cones, perhaps spraying them silver or gold for a slightly different, yet still natural look?

Let there be light

Lights and lighting are an important part of any successful Christmas decoration 'scheme', if you like. Creating that magical glow by which to watch 'The Snowman' on Christmas Eve is vital. So how about turning your fireplace into a light feature like none other?

A simple string of fairy lights strewn carelessly along the mantelpiece can be effective enough, but to increase the impact, place the lights in front of some mirrors for double the illuminations. Better still, use a combination of fairy lights and candles. For a frosty effect, keep the lights white and the accompanying baubles silver, blue or lilac. Or do something completely different by embracing neon colours - perhaps using pink lights and turquoise candles for a more dramatic, yet fun effect. 

Say it

A quick browse through interior design magazines and websites reveal that a popular and pretty way to decorate your fireplace is to 'say it' using pictures, posters, props and other items to spell out Christmas sentiments.

This ranges from stringing lettered baubles on ribbons to make a garland or buying/ making huge cardboard letters to spell out words like 'Noel' or 'joy'. You can also find Christmas bunting with slogans that will look great when pinned to the mantelpiece. A different way to incorporate words in your decorating is to print letters and place them in empty picture frames so that they spell out a greeting. It's also possible to find pre-lit signs that could sit nicely on the fireplace.

Kitsch and candy canes

If Santa's-workshop-meets-gingerbread-house is the effect you wish to achieve (gulp), then you can't go wrong with a white garland. Big, brash, gaudy but oh so sugary sweet when teemed with green and red baubles, children will adore it. Green is fine, of course, but there's something about that artificial, snowy white version that works better.

Go mad with candy canes, snowmen, gingerbread people, ribbons and snowflakes. The bigger, the better. Don't forget to add those all-important fairy lights and some stockings to complete the look.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to decorate your fireplace for Christmas. Providing you consider the health and safety aspects, you can transform yours into a fireplace so festive that it rivals the tree. Happy decorating!  

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