How to achieve the laid-back luxury look like Tara Dennis this Christmas

The interiors expert shares her decorating ideas for a very sparkly festive season.
Tara Dennis Christmas tree decorationsPhotography: Martyn Rushby

At Home Beautiful we love the festive spirit so we sat down with five of our favourite interior designers, stylists and experts to watch as they deck the halls with a wide range of decorations. Here, Tara Dennis shares her beautifully decorated home, which is sparkling with champagne-toned baubles, brass hanging bells and fairy lights on the Christmas tree.

Interiors expert Tara Dennis is known for adding a glowing warmth when decorating, and never more so than at Christmas. At this time of year she chooses a colour theme and plays with shades and textures for festive results.

Her homewares store Pepperwhites by Tara Dennis is a dream place to shop for Christmas decorations, either online or in the Sydney store, so we can all recreate the twinkle that Tara Dennis brings to Christmas in our own homes.

We chat to Tara about her traditions, Christmas decorating ideas and how she brings this luxurious festive look to life at her river house.

A Christmas tradition in your house is…

“Christmas is all about family for us, and we really take the time to catch up and enjoy a few slower days together. Christmas traditions include movie nights on the projector and one big jigsaw puzzle that everyone has a go at. In between lazy breakfasts that turn into lunches, we take walks to the wharf, trips out on the boat, swimming, reading and watercolours.”

Do you celebrate on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

“Christmas Eve is always busy as it’s our last trading day in our shop for the year, helping last-minute customers put the finishing touches on their Christmas celebrations. Once we’re home, that’s when we relax and celebrate – usually with a glass of bubbles on the deck.”

Tara Dennis Christmas tree
Tara Dennis goes all out with glittering ornaments, creating a laid-back luxury look. All decorations are from Pepperwhites by Tara Dennis. (Photography: Martyn Rushby)

What is your preferred Christmas decorating style?

“My style could be described as smart casual. We always have a tree and, as we’re lucky enough to have a mantel and stairs, I have those extra surfaces to decorate, too. I like a cloth for the table and I try to make the elements as creative as I can to make everyone feel welcome.”

How do you like to decorate your Christmas tree?

“I always start with warm white fairy lights to add instant sparkle to the tree. Champagne-coloured baubles are classic and generally my base colour of choice. I love the warm glow they bring and find them easy to mix and match with other colours and decorations. This year I have used green velvet ribbon for a hint of fresh colour and a touch of luxury.”

Tara Dennis Christmas tree decorations
While Tara often decorates with champagne-toned baubles, snowflakes and tree toppers, tactile green ribbons are a new inclusion. (Photography: Martyn Rushby)
Tara Dennis Christmas decorated stair rail
Tara draped her stairs with faux cypress garlands, hanging bells and ribbons in rich shades. Artworks by Jai Vasicek and Allan Farrell. All other artists unknown. (Photography: Martyn Rushby)

What’s on your Christmas playlist?

“A Wonderful World by Tony Bennett & K.D. Lang is a beautiful album for Christmas Day. I think that jazz can feel festive, even if it’s not a carol.”

What’s on the menu?

“I grew up doing the full traditional roast with my family who came to Australia from England. While I can’t let go of that completely, Christmas lunch is usually a bit more casual now with ham (hot and cold), prawns and oysters, salads, and crunchy duck fat-roasted potatoes, followed by my mother-in-law’s famous trifle!”

Tara Dennis Christmas table decorations
White linen sets a neutral base on the table with vintage-style forks, bone-handled knives and elegant champagne glasses, all from Pepperwhites by Tara Dennis. (Photography: Martyn Rushby)

What is your table decorating must-have?

“Soft linen napkins. They’re so lovely to use, and instantly make any table setting impressive – even if it’s just for the leftovers on Boxing Day!”

Tara Dennis Christmas table decorations dinnerware
The pretty table is sprinkled with baubles and faux flowers and foliage from Tara’s range. (Photography: Martyn Rushby)

“I decorate with a colour theme in mind, though it does change from year to year.”

Tara Dennis
Tara Dennis Christmas decorations mantle
The mantle is made merry with rustic foliage, bells and ribbons. (Photography: Martyn Rushby)
Want more Christmas decorating inspiration? See the other expert homes in the series:

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