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Interior design expert unveils Christmas decor trends for 2023


Interior design expert unveils Christmas decor trends for 2023

As Australians prepare to spend an estimated $11 billion on Christmas celebrations, nearly 70% planning to decorate their house, and 8% planning on decorating more than usual; TAFE NSW interior design expert and educator offers insights into trends that can create homes that invoke joy and relaxation.

“My fundamental advice is to choose a specific theme to give your home interior a well-considered and cohesive look.  This year, themes embrace Coastal Grandmother, Christmas Village and Minimalist Naturalism and focus on setting an intentional space that marries festivity with environmental consciousness,” said Tanya Ivanchenko, Head Teacher of Interior Design, TAFE NSW Design Centre Enmore.

“Christmas is one of the few times in the year that we can go ‘all out’ with decorating our house, and whether you’re an aspiring interior designer or simply Christmas obsessed, enhancing a festive atmosphere comes down to manipulation of design elements and principles - the crux of creating beautiful interior spaces.”

Those who’ve found inspiration in creating intentionally joyful and beautiful spaces can study a range of interior design courses from short courses to a Bachelor degree under Tanya’s guidance at TAFE NSW.  With Interior Designers hitting the national skills shortage list this year, and employment expected to grow 19.1% over the next five years, studying with expert Interior Designers at TAFE NSW gives students a steppingstone into the industry, with courses combining theory and invaluable access to their teacher’s contemporary industry experience and Little Black book of industry contacts.

Tanya spotlights three key trends for a memorable Christmas.

“The iconic 'Australian coastal holiday' remains a strong theme for 2023. Bold wreaths of driftwood, seagrass, sea glass, and Capiz shell bring a touch of nostalgia with low impact, natural materials used as the core design element, which work well with a #CoastalGrandmother style.

“The ‘Christmas Village’ theme incorporates quaint mini-houses, made from ceramic and other craft materials. Mixing and matching of these sculptural and minimalist forms give the opportunity for customised story telling while celebrating the comfort of being home for the holidays,” she continued.

“The 'Minimalist naturalism' theme supports a sustainable Christmas and focuses on cost effective eco-friendly materials, such as sustainable timber trees, raffia, DIY painted timber beaded baubles, dried botanicals and aromatic herbs. Neutral tones and raw materials add to sustainability as the displays can be used all year round,” said Ms Ivanchenko.

With sustainability and affordability concerns increasing for many Australian households, Tanya offers advice to embrace a sustainable Christmas while remaining stylish and on-trend.

“Choose decorative items that add value and can be adapted and used all year, building on core items – such as vases, tableware and cushions – as a base.  When purchasing, buy the highest quality items you can afford and crafted, timeless materials such as ceramic, glass and timber in neutral and subdued colour palettes and simple forms.

These can then be decorated to complement the season, adding a ribbon or other seasonal highlight for occasions throughout the year.

“Alternatives to Christmas greenery, such as dried botanicals or unusual and unexpected foraged, natural elements, mushrooms, berries, seedpods, ornamental grasses offer sustainable options that can continue to be used throughout the year.

“Christmas is about families, friends, and community, so prioritise high quality handcrafted materials to become investment pieces and memories for families to cherish.  Integrating personalised and sentimental decorative elements adds unique storytelling and family tradition opportunities.

“Create new family traditions with your festive décor by foraging for nature-based decorations or sharing the fun of shopping for vintage decorations for a retro vibe.

“Experiment with recycled paper as a cost-effective material, using intricate folding and collapsible design forms to create stunning paper lanterns or lampshades, or folded paper pyramid Christmas trees,” Tanya suggests.

Tanya highlighted how intentional interior design and decorating can make a difference to people’s Christmas experience.

 “Design affects our emotions, so take a moment this year to reflect the kind of experience you want this holiday season,” Tanya said.

Her top advice:

  • Focal points can be used to anchor holiday decor and decorations placed strategically to draw emphasis to specific areas such as the Christmas tree, dining table setting, fireplace mantels and staircases.
  • Use warm colours, soft textures, and comfortable furnishings to create a cosy, inviting space that makes a home feel warm and welcoming for the festive season.
  • Traditional Christmas colours incorporated cohesively into an existing colour scheme help to create a visually pleasing environment. Red and green creates a complementary harmony that can be uplifting and exciting, and a glimmer of gold adds glamour.
  • Arrange furniture and display for easy movement and flexibility to accommodate large gatherings of family and friends. Create comfortable seating areas to encourage conversation and interaction.
  • Soft and warm lighting helps create a cosy and festive ambience. String lights, and candles help to add a magical and festive glow.
  • Create balance and harmony and avoid overcrowding or visual clutter to detract from focal points. Harmony in design is about a space that feels cohesive and aesthetically pleasing. Group objects in odd numbers of 3 and 5 for asymmetric balance.
  • Consider sensory elements and incorporate scents and sounds that evoke the sensory experience of Christmas.

Media contact: Melanie Pope, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, 02 7920 5000.