Frankie Bridge shares her guide to adding flair to drab dining rooms this festive season

From mulled wine and glittery baubles to your favourite festive tunes playing on repeat, there’s

From mulled wine and glittery baubles to your favourite festive tunes playing on repeat, there’s nothing quite like getting into the Christmas spirit. 

But if you’ve spent previous years lusting after the lavish decorations adorning your favourite celebrity home, when you have more of a high street budget, look no further than Home Essentials

With everything you could possibly need to transform a dull room into Santa’s playground – from furniture and soft furnishings to clever storage solutions – the online home retailer will help you achieve the A-list look at a fraction of the price. 

And don’t just take our word for it, because presenter and author Frankie Bridge approves, too.  

‘I feel like I’m really good at picking the big things such as a sofa or dining room table, but what I’m not so good at is how to dress the space and make it look like those beautiful pictures you see on social media,’ she says.

‘Browsing the Home Essentials website takes a lot of those stresses away, and I feel like I can achieve that perfectly curated show home, whilst still making it work for me and my family.

‘It’s a one stop shop for everything, from filling Christmas stockings, to hosting a dinner party, to finding the perfect bathroom cabinet, or the perfect storage box for the boys’ toys – it literally has it all!’  

Presenter and author Frankie Bridge and interior designer Nicki Bamford-Bowes share advice on how your dream rooms can be made real this Christmas. Pictured on the table, Jute Placemats & Coasters Set in shade ochre, £11, from Home Essentials

Frankie’s quick and easy decoration hacks that are stylish AND child-friendly 

‘What I love doing with the kids is drying out oranges, lemons, limes and popping them around the house,’ she says. ‘We include them as additional decorations on our tree and also stick them on our garland that we put up around our stairs.

‘I also found these really cool storage boxes from Home Essentials which I’m planning on personalising for the boys this year and gifting them on Christmas Eve. 

‘I’m planning to pop in some festive PJs and hot chocolate to cosy up on the sofa as a family as we eagerly await Santa’s arrival.’

Home Essentials also works closely with interior designer Nicki Bamford-Bowes, who, just like Frankie, loves to create glamorous and welcoming spaces for sparkling seasonal entertaining and cosy nights in with family.

Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, the dream duo have teamed up to reveal their top tips and tricks to prove that creating a magical feeling to your home can be easier – and less expensive – than you think… 

TABLESCAPING

Frankie says that adding flair to a drab dining room (without spending a fortune) is all down to one thing – tablescaping. 

‘Christmas is a BIG DEAL in the Bridge household,’ she explains. ‘The boys are at an age where we can really create those memorable moments and bring to life the magic of the festive period. 

‘This year I am hosting some of our family and friends, and my role is designing and styling the Christmas table. Although I may have cheated and roped in Nicki and borrowed her expert tips and tricks! 

‘You can do a lot with a little and I’m learning it’s all in the finer details,’ she says. ‘I am planning to go foraging with the boys to collect a bunch of pinecones, mistletoe and dried foliage.

‘We’re going to dry-out some oranges and we’ve brought a gorgeous candelabra that will be the centrepiece. I’m also really into glassware at the minute, so I’ve purchased some lovely flute and martini glassware to finish it all off.’  

CONSIDER YOUR STYLE 

Before you start dusting off your old baubles, think about the look you want to create. 

‘Do you want to be traditional and classic? Minimal and contemporary? Or luxe and lavish?’ asks Nicki, founder of @andthentheywentwild. ‘Make sure you carry those themes throughout your home for a considered look that will impress your guests.’

INSTANT GLAMOUR  

This Gold Circular Wall Mounted Shelf, £40, features 3 staggered tiers and will make a wonderfully stylish and contemporary addition to your living space

This Gold Circular Wall Mounted Shelf, £40, features 3 staggered tiers and will make a wonderfully stylish and contemporary addition to your living space

Pictured, Zahara Assembled Mango 2 Door 3 Drawer Sideboard, £829, and the Calla Speckle Large Vase, £60 - both available online at Home Essentials

Pictured, Zahara Assembled Mango 2 Door 3 Drawer Sideboard, £829, and the Calla Speckle Large Vase, £60 – both available online at Home Essentials

‘If you want to go glam, ‘go big,’ Nicki advises. ‘For a real wow factor, think of a theme, go large and play with scale. Opt for lush colours and textures to amp up the glam.’

She continues: ‘Last year I had fun with a theme of oversized velvet bows, inspired by my name. Each room featured one of them, and I let the room dictate the colour palette and style. 

‘The fabric was inexpensive and making the bows was so easy, even my eight-year-old daughter Bo could join in.’

The expert interior designer also advises not to hold back when it comes to decorating your mantlepieces and bannisters with garlands.

‘The bigger the better!’ Nicki enthuses. ‘Really pile up big bundles of greenery and don’t be afraid to mix real foliage with faux.’

WREATHS ARE NOT JUST FOR FRONT DOORS 

Frankie poses alongside the Dixon Globe Satin Silver Floor Lamp, which retails at £89 at Home Essentials and the green Opulence Pouffe, £49

Frankie poses alongside the Dixon Globe Satin Silver Floor Lamp, which retails at £89 at Home Essentials and the green Opulence Pouffe, £49

Why do we only put our iconic Christmas wreaths outside in the cold for strangers to enjoy? Bring them in to join in the fun! 

‘Buy or make wreaths and get creative,’ explains Nicki. ‘Hang one above the sofa or over the mantlepiece. Suspend a light in the middle of a wreath and light up a corner. And why not hang one inside your front door as well as outside?’

I just love the fact that Home Essentials not only sell beautiful products, they help make my dream rooms, real – Frankie Bridge

Nicki goes on to say that if you are making your own wreaths, there’s no need to stick to traditional evergreens. 

‘I love using alternative greenery, such as dried flowers, pink peppercorns, pampas grass and even clouds of snowy Gypsophilia,’ she explains.

‘For the ultimate table wreath that won’t get in the way of the turkey, buy a metal frame, wrap it in fresh eucalyptus, entwine with battery operated twinkling lights and suspend from hooks attached to the ceiling for a magical, floating effect.’

COLOUR YOUR HOME 

Home Essentials sells a range of Christmas decorations - including a set of 6 pink sequin glitter baubles, which currently retail at £17

Home Essentials sells a range of Christmas decorations – including a set of 6 pink sequin glitter baubles, which currently retail at £17

Whether you prefer traditional golds and reds or on-trend winter blues and pinks, it can be fun to pick up the colours in your home décor and reflect them in your tree for a coordinated look. 

But according to Nicki, it doesn’t mean you have to invest in all new decorations every year. 

‘As a family we buy fun and quirky decorations and add to our collection every year,’ she adds. ‘The kids love seeing the new additions alongside old favourites on the tree.’

LIGHT FANTASTIC 

Nothing adds glamour and sparkle like Christmas lights. 

‘I love warm white pin lights twinkling everywhere. My tree had 1200 lights alone,’ says Nicki. ‘Warm white is best for winter cosiness.’

How YOU can create the perfect tablescape this Christmas – without spending a fortune!

‘Tablescaping has become a real trend,’ says Nicki Bamford-Bowes. ‘It’s the art of giving your festive table the wow factor using interesting accessories.’

The interior designer advises layering – adding that it makes a huge difference because it makes the table feel abundant and full. 

‘Use your existing tableware but stack it up, so you might have a bowl layered on a plate atop a coloured napkin or place setting on top of a runner,’ she explains. 

‘Add faux foliage set with inexpensive candles at different heights – from tall, elegant ones to tiny tea lights or fairy lights in shimmering glass pots. This will make your room really sparkle.’ 

And when it comes to introducing an inexpensive yet thoughtful personal touch, Nicki has the perfect tip.

‘Plan where your guests will sit and hand-write every guest a name card,’ she says. ‘Alternatively, give each guest a personalised Christmas bauble to take home with them. Simply write their name on a bauble using a gold pen.’ 

The Caldera vase is crafted from stoneware and has a reflective glazed finish

Create a glistening display across your dining table with the glitter embellished handles of this 16 piece cutlery set

Caldera Tie Dye Stoneware Vase, £32 (left) and Tower Glitz 16 Piece Cutlery Rose Gold, £22 (right)

Perfect for above the dining table, this 3 Light Black Cage Diner Bar costs just £79 at Home Essentials

Perfect for above the dining table, this 3 Light Black Cage Diner Bar costs just £79 at Home Essentials

Nicki also notes that not everything has to be on the table.

‘Drinks trolleys and bars are a huge trend and are always a good idea!’ she says. ‘They can be used for food and snacks as well as accessorised with candles and beautiful smoked glass vases, brass ice buckets and sparkling wine and cocktail glasses.  

‘Things your guests will be holding and touching are so important. Style up your trolley inexpensively by adding berries and ferns.’ 

And according to Nicki, you can easily bring in the new by switching up your soft furnishings for the winter months. 

‘Frankie loves to add snuggly faux fur or textured cushions to sofas, chairs and even kitchen benches for warmth and cosiness in the winter months,’ the interior designer explains. 

‘Add chunky throws and blankets. Finish off with lots of festive scented candles and lights dotted around the house.

‘That includes adding fairy lights in children’s bedrooms and candles in the grown-ups’ bedroom and bathroom for the perfect retreat when your happy guests have gone home.’ 

Style up your dining space with this gorgeous Lexington velvet chair, £149

These vintage style glasses would be perfect to add a touch of glamour to any dinner table

Lexington velvet chair, £149 (pictured, left) and RCR Brillante Set of 6 Wine Glasses, £19 (right)

Frankie adds: ‘I always want to keep each room feeling fresh and new.

‘I love changing my rooms dependent on the seasons, but also recognise that that can be very expensive, so what I’m getting better at is buying smaller additional key pieces that brighten up the room. 

‘I’ve just bought some autumnal cushions for my lounge, getting ready for the festive period a little early.

‘It has beautiful beaded embellishment in a tree shape and it’s velvet which pairs back really well with the texture of my sofa.’

So what are you waiting for? Set the scene like no other and head to Home Essentials now to make your dining room feel special this Christmas. 

Plus, the online home retailer provides various ways to pay – including spreading the cost – along with low cost delivery solutions, so whether you want to make over an entire room or small corner of your space, it really has never been easier!