Tracy Duncan reveals how to create a welcoming and practical home for hosting over the festive season

Cosy Corners

Think about where the focal point of your home will be over Christmas. Create a corner where family and friends can socialise. Move sofas away from walls to group them together. Look for ottomans and footstools that can be used as handy tables and extra chairs.

Kitchen hubs

Given you’ll be doing more entertaining than usual, consider how your kitchen functions. Does it have enough areas to prep food? Do you want a central island for guests to congregate around with plush barstools, or do you want to reposition cupboards and a freestanding butcher’s block to create a space in which you can cocoon yourself while you cook. If you need a quick kitchen makeover, update cupboard doors, renovate the splashbacks, and add some mood lighting.

Free up the Guest Room

The stand-alone guest room has become a rarity, as we find we need more space for working from home. Consider other areas around the home that could be used as an office. Utilise nooks such as alcoves and larger landing spaces, and transform awkward spots to be both beautiful and useful, with fitted furniture.

Then you can go to town on making the spare room into something far more welcoming for guests.

Clear out the clutter – empty coat and toy cupboards to make room for extra clothes, bedding and gifts. Once you have decluttered, focus on storage solutions to ensure your home remains ordered.

IMAGES left to right:, Garden Trading, Red Dog Glass Design, The Lounge Co
Top image: Grillo


Christmas is a time when we need areas for activities that are not usually part of our lives. Play areas for visiting children, a place to put the annual puzzle, get together over a film, or just a quiet spot to relax and unwind. This is when zoning comes into its own.

Reconsider the position of existing furniture, introduce new lighting or a rug that helps to define a different zone within a room. Change the colours in this area with cushions, throws and decorations.

Check if your dining area is ready for the occasion – consider reupholstering chairs or invest in bench seating to make room for a crowd.

The Outdoor Room

Link your indoor and outdoor areas to provide extra space over Christmas, and fire up the bbq or chimne a to make alfresco entertaining a possibility. Garden tables and benches, accessorised with sheepskins, waterproof rugs, throws, and plenty of mulled wine, encourage festive fun.

Tracy Duncan is an interior designer at