Not feeling Christmassy? Interior designer shares the thing that makes her home feel festive

This last-minute trick might help bring some Christmas magic to your doorstep

christmas greenery laying on wooden surface
(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

What does Christmas smell like to you? An interior designer has revealed the one thing that makes her home feel Christmassy, and it's all about scent. 

Kelley Sandidge says that adding in some fresh greenery goes a long way in making her home feel festive. We're talking evergreens, so pine, spruce, juniper – anything you can get your hands on.

Hopefully a last-minute Christmas decoration idea like this one, some Christmas songs and chocolates will deliver some of that fuzzy nostalgia we all need this year.

christmas greenery laying on wooden surface

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

Kelley Sandidge is an interior designer based in Austin, Texas. She owns Hip Haven (opens in new tab), which sells midcentury-modern pieces. 

The interiors expert says Christmas scents never fail to set the mood. 'Since we don’t use a real tree, adding evergreens to the fresh floral arrangement [on our dining table] helps to bring in the scents of conifer trees,' she says.

'Last year we made a gingerbread house from scratch and left it on display. The smells of gingerbread and evergreens were the first thing we noticed every time we walked in the door,' says Kelley.

christmas greenery laying on wooden surface

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

If you have a real tree, grab your best secateurs and chop off a few branches from the back, and you've got yourself from fresh greenery to display on any surface you like. There are bound to be a few unruly branches that you can get away with removing, and they might make a lovely dining table centerpiece or add a festive flourish to your mantel. 

A gorgeous wintry scented candle from The White Company (opens in new tab) is another option. After all, cleaning, opening a window, and lighting a candle instantly makes a space feel more welcoming and relaxing, whatever the time of year.

And maybe you'd prefer cinnamon and orange or a smoky fireside scent over the smell of a Christmas tree for setting the tone in your home.

christmas wreath in a festive kitchen with a large garland around the winow

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

Aside from smell, Kelley says sparkly lights always help make her home feel festive. She has string lights on her tree and icicle lights on the house to make it feel cozy and Christmassy. 'Since it gets dark so early, we get plenty of time to enjoy them each day,' she says.

If all else fails, put on your favorite Christmas movie or head out for an evening walk to see your neighbors' Christmas lights and decorations.

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.


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