The more joy the better! This designer home shows how to do stylishly maximalist Christmas decor

Bursting with happiness, this colorful home is dressed for Christmas in the most abundant and beautiful of ways

fireplace and dining table set up for a colorful christmas
(Image credit: Future)

There are so many ways to decorate your house for Christmas. Classic, with a tree and a palette of red, gold and green. Scandi, with a neutral grouping of beiges, browns and creams. But what if, this year of all years, you wanted to go all out joyful? That was the thinking behind the decoration of this architecturally incredible house in South London, UK, where a maximalist burst of bright colors fills each corner with festive happiness.

In fact, this modern home, with its harmonious blend of saturated moody pastels enlivened with pops of invigorating jewel tones, couldn’t lend itself more to Christmas if it tried. A backdrop of luxe textures and enveloping textiles sets the scene in this Victorian villa, alongside opulent, stroke-me, materials and cabinetry. 

Surprising elements keep it unpredictable - the same approach used for Christmas decorating. Secret doors (hiding the downstairs cloakroom and a staircase to the basement); a brass pop-out bar; plus an ‘indoor winter garden’ room and a bespoke indoor ‘potting shed’. 

This was the perfect backdrop to the festive elements - a garland of flowers in pop brights, a tree twinkling with personality. This house shows how to do Christmas when there are - gleefully - no holds barred.


large kitchen island with ridged surface and christmas flowers

(Image credit: Future)

The house was designed by Sophie Chapman of creative studio The Vawdrey House. And it's full of unexpected, yet on-point, ideas that lift the house out of the ordinary - such as  the show-stopping slab of Cipolino Ondulato green marble for the kitchen island, and the elegant, framed-glass wall into the boot room - and pack it with personality.

As for Christmas kitchen decorating ideas, how much more do you really need to do than an overflowing vase of exuberantly-colored blooms and a cake stand towering with baubles?

The livingetc edit of the best christmas kitchen decorations


living room with grey sofa and colored christmas candles

(Image credit: Future)

Just next to the kitchen island is this breakout living room area, part of the open plan ground floor which also houses the dining space.

All it really needs is a big squashy grey sofa, and then, to do comfort but make it Christmas, a grouping of colored candles. ‘When they’re off duty, the couple love welcoming friends and family, so big, open-plan, flexible, entertaining and socialising spaces were key,’ says Sophie.

Dining area

dining room with fireplace and christmas table settings

(Image credit: Future)

Also in the open plan living area is this dining room, opposite the kitchen. The stone fireplace is the hero, except at Christmas, when it becomes a backdrop to a vast floral display. 

A cosy eating area, anchored with a feature pendant and a substantial bespoke fireplace, was created within the open-plan living space. ‘The essence of this home is calm, unpretentious and grown up,’ Sophie says.

Wet bar

gold backed home bar filled with christmas presents

(Image credit: Future)

By day the wet bar by the dining table looks like a recessed bookcase. But at night it opens up to reveal a well-stocked bar, complete with a mixing station made from a marble off-cut from the kitchen island.

Design cues from boutique hotels that the homeowners fell in love with while on their travels were embraced. ‘The brass bar in the dining area was inspired by a piece at Stockholm’s Ett Hem Hotel, while the brick wall that runs down the internal atrium was influenced by The Greenwich hotel in New York’s Tribeca,’ explains Sophie.  

Living room

living room with fireplace covered in christmas decorations

(Image credit: Future)

Vintage meets modern in this small living room designed for cocooning. The walls and ceiling are painted in Dead Salmon, Farrow & Ball.

All it takes make your house look Christmassy on top of this is to hang some paper garlands from ceilings lights and a wreath placed artfully on the fireplace.


mudroom dressed for christmas with candles

(Image credit: Future)

Next to the front door, this mudroom has plenty of storage for coats and shoes so the owners can leave their outdoor paraphernalia behind them before entering the living space.

But just because it's a practical space didn't stop it being dressed for Christmas. Hanging favorite baubles along a fireplace or shelf is such a simple way to create an instant display.

Collection of baubles, Anthropologie

Collection of baubles, Anthropologie

This set of baubles get immediately elevated to being a favorite set. Far too unique and beautiful to be hidden on the tree, use these to hang at slightly different heights along the edge of a shelf.


staircase with hanging christmas decorations

(Image credit: Future)

Blessed with a high staircase but don't fancy the traditional foliage garland? All you really need to do is hang a few paper lanterns from the top of the stairwell and you'll feel like you're ascending into a Christmas wonderland.

Snowflake decoration with in-built light, Amazon

Snowflake decoration with in-built light, Amazon

True, these paper snowflakes are relatively easy to make yourself, but would you be able to wire in a light on a timer? This bought version comes with an extra glow, creating a wonderfully joyful and festive ambience.

See more work from The Vawdrey House

A legendary houses editor, Mary Weaver held the job of Homes Editor on Livingetc for over a decade. She set the aesthetic for which the brand has become known. She is now a freelance stylist, art director and writer, regularly contributing to Livingetc and overseeing the brand's successful House Tours franchises of live and webinar events.