How Melanie Parker makes her home merry for Christmas

The interior designer invites us inside her brightly decorated home.
Melanie Parker Christmas treePhotography: Hannah Puechmarin

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. Ivy & Piper interior designer Melanie Parker shows how she styles her home with merry and bright colours.

Traditional red and green is guaranteed to bring joy at Christmas, so we had to ask one of our experts to style them in a way that’s elegant and beautiful. Ivy & Piper interior designer Melanie Parker is just the person to pull off this merry combination. She makes it fun and fresh by bringing in a medley of other vibrant hues, prints that clash in the most magical way and shiny elements like gold and rose. It’s playful and not too precious, making it the perfect setting for festivities.

We spoke to Melanie about how she decorates the Christmas tree, her gift wrapping style and advice for a stress-free Christmas day.

What is your preferred Christmas decorating style?

“Happy chaos! I love to do a mix of vibrant colours and then pare it back with touches of gold and white for an elevated feel.”

Melanie Parker Christmas wreath front door
Melanie’s colourful wreath, made from fabric tied to a frame, gives guests a taste of what’s to come. (Photography: Hannah Puechmarin)

How do you like to decorate your tree?

“My tree is very eclectic and colourful but I do have a rule that we must only use warm white fairy lights on it! Everything else is a wonderful personal mix of colourful memories. It is a family affair when the tree goes up, and in recent years we have started doing a time lapse to capture the fun. Even the dog gets involved!”

Melanie Parker Christmas decorations
Come Christmas morning, Melanie’s family, from left, Tilly, Penny, Gretchen the dachshund and husband Stuart gather around the tree. (Photography: Hannah Puechmarin)

What is your favourite Christmas tree decoration?

“I couldn’t possibly choose because I adore them all! My husband bought me a beautiful Swarovski crystal bell which I love, and I treasure the girls’ decorations from kindy and school.”

Signature gift wrap style?

“I really like wrapping gifts in fabric or in brown paper, and we make use of reusable fabric, remnant ribbons with frayed edges. If I have the time, I will add a little ornament to finish it off.”

Melanie Parker Christmas decorations presents
Gretchen the dachshund among brightly wrapped gifts. (Photography: Hannah Puechmarin)

Best advice for a stress-free Christmas Day?

“A tip I learnt from my mother-in-law is to fill the cupboards with plenty of holiday goodies and always have a couple of simple last-minute gifts stashed.”

What dinnerware do you use for your Christmas table?

“I usually work with a basic white plate and a gold or red charger, sometimes changing up the topper to create a distinct look.”

Melanie Parker Christmas decorations table
Melanie’s table setting has touches of delicate green combined with vintage pieces and a fresh florals and a botanical Brunshwig & Fils table runner. (Photography: Hannah Puechmarin)

“A beautiful table must have fresh flowers and beautiful napkins or napkin ring holders.”

Melanie Parker Christmas decorations table
An Ivy & Piper plate sits on top of a white plate and gold charger. Delicate pink tumblers and cordless table lamps, both from Ivy & Piper. (Photography: Hannah Puechmarin)

Your favourite Christmas candle or fragrance?

“My husband often includes a candle in my gift bundle which I love, so probably the one he has given me!”

Melanie Parker Christmas table
On the menu: a generous serving of Turkish delight surrounds this pudding. (Photography: Hannah Puechmarin)

What is your go-to gift for a host?

“A boxed set of champagne is perfect for this time of year and is always put to good use. I also love Aesop products and over the holiday period it is lovely to stock up on hand cream and soaps for your guests, so this makes a nice practical host gift.”

For Christmas, there’s no place I’d rather be than…

“With my family, friends and anyone who needs a seat at the table for a day.”

Melanie Parker Christmas tree
The shiny ribbons tied to the tree are simple yet effectively festive. (Photography: Hannah Puechmarin)
Want more Christmas decorating inspiration? See the other expert homes in the series:

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