The award-winning interior designer demonstrates how to create a magical yet natural, pared-back festive look.

Bee Osborn, founder of the multi-award winning, Cotswolds-based Studio Osborn and Osborn Interiors, is the doyenne of creating picture-perfect Christmases.

Her style – which is magical yet pared-back, with an emphasis on natural materials – demonstrates that it is possible to convey warmth while keeping the palette restful and neutral, riffing on Scandinavian simplicity all the while. Her cottage, meanwhile, is so redolent of Christmas that it is routinely mistaken for the famous house in the classic festive film, The Holiday.

Here, she instructs how to keep it simple yet enchanting.

Keep It Simple

I adore Christmas but love to keep things simple to ease stress levels. I try and get organised early with lots of planning but also believe that less is more on the decorative front.

We tend to choose simple things like ivy, eucalyptus, glass, hessian and moss with white accessories, which I find a nice antidote to the opulence that surrounds Christmas.

Choose Your Colours

We tend to go with only two colours to create a more cohesive look and feel. I love the simplicity of white and green coupled with wood or hessian, as it continues to feel fresh all through the season.

This spills over to the wrapping paper as I love it all to blend. I tend to use plain white paper with brown tags, tied with string.

Keep It Natural

As it’s such an expensive time of year, we like to forage in the countryside for greenery, not only to save money but also to bring natural elements into the home.

Branches, ivy, moss, holly and fir cones are heaven, and we often spray branches white to put in large vases for dramatic effect. I try to make our own wreath, very simply, with things from the garden interlined with battery fairy lights.

Make It Home-Made

I know everyone is so busy, but I feel anything home-made tastes and looks so much nicer. As time is limited, this is not always easy, but I do tend to make some simple Christmas decorations; either hessian-wrapped baubles or wooden name places.

Cooking and preparing is a nice way of doing things together. However reluctant teenagers might be, I think they secretly enjoy it. My youngest adores being in charge of making the mulled wine!

Choose Cosy Materials

Go for things that engage the senses: cosy cottons, beautiful scented candles, simple battery lights on timers to greet you on returning home. The ultimate is sitting in front of fire listening to carols with a glass of Champagne (or prosecco) with a dash of ginger wine for an added Christmas feel.

Interview by Nancy Alsop
November 2021

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Nancy Alsop


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