They say there’s no place like home. But the chic home of a friend can feel just as warm and inviting as your own this Christmas, if furnished with all the creature comforts of a five-star hotel. From extendable dining tables to host nearest and dearest, to collapsible chairs that can be stashed away when dinner is done, we round-up everything you need to get ready for those VIPs. The only problem? They may get a little too comfortable…
Start with a sofa
A living room plays host to plenty of activity over the festive period, from cocktails and canapés by the fireplace to unwrapping presents around the tree, so upgrade your sofa with a real conversation-starter. The Kelston 2-Seater Sofa, designed by Matthew Hilton, is smart and structured with a solid wood frame, foam and feather cushions, and signature adjustable headrests. Its timeless style transcends seasons and trends, so it’s a proper investment piece, while a range of sizes mean there’s something to suit every space. Sit comfortably over long conversations and fine Champagne with guests; or simply curl up with a box-set binge after Christmas lunch.
Set the table
From a long Christmas Day lunch to a beautiful Boxing Day buffet and glamorous New Year’s Eve nibbles, a dining table sets the scene for many joyful occasions over the season, so pick one that provides a platform that’s as stylish as it is practical. For something that’s elegant but extendable – accommodating gatherings big or small – the Dulwich Extending Table by British designer Matthew Hilton is just the ticket: the sleek tabletop expands with a simple pull to reveal two extra leaves; and the slender legs draw away from the corners to maximise legroom. For small-space living, the Dulwich Round Extending Table might be a better fit, featuring a circular shape with a convivial feel. Eat, drink and be very merry indeed.
Pull up a chair
A gorgeous dining table deserves to be surrounded by gorgeous chairs. For either of the above, the Profile Chair – also crafted by Matthew Hilton in solid timber with a soft upholstered leather seat – complements both designs effortlessly, while the Loku Chair by Japanese designer Shin Azumi comprises a moulded seat and back that cradles the body comfortably for hours. For something more casual, a bench is always a good bet, enabling guests to sit shoulder-to-shoulder for seriously intimate dining. The Dulwich Bench comes in two sizes – able to seat up to four, depending on who’s invited – and features a slim silhouette that means it can slide neatly beneath a table when not in use. Better still, it can be used elsewhere in the house during quieter times, providing a statement piece wherever it stands. Matthew Hilton, the designer, says: “You can never have too many seats at Christmas – especially when people dropping by unexpectedly is one of its greatest joys – but space can be limited. A cosy ottoman, such as the boucle Ella, is the perfect solution by combining small proportions with comfortable design. Somewhere to sit and linger late into the evening…”
Bring on the bed
The secret to happy guests? Good sleep. And they’ll certainly be assured of sweet dreams with the Valentine Bed, a recent design from Matthew Hilton, made from solid wood with a slatted headboard that’s built to last. Choose from stained walnut or black stain to suit your style and give your guest the quality shut-eye they deserve. Now all that’s left to do is cover it in fine thread-count linen and leave a couple of thick rolled-up towels at the end. A turn-down service like no other.
If there’s room, a guest will thank-you for a dressing table, as somewhere they can get ready for the festivities. Designed by German siblings Sarah and Henrik Böttger, the Pala Dressing Table doesn’t only look beautiful with sleek and minimal proportions, but doubles-up as a desk when it’s not being used for pampering and preening. Perfect for those tight on space.
Ace your accessories
Nothing clutters up the hallway quite like hats and coats. Ensure that everything is kept neat and tidy with the Fin Coat Hook by Brendon Farrell with a design that’s crafted from solid ash and comprises six hooks. If you’ve got space along the wall, simply add more as required. With so much cooking unfolding in the kitchen, don’t be seen with a lacklustre chopping board. The Splash Chopping Board is sure to get them talking, made from natural beech and featuring a geometric design, and can be used as a serving board presented in the centre of the table. Invest in a quality mirror so friends and family can put their best foot forward: the wall-mounted Lucent Tall Mirror is made with smoked glass frames and comes with a handy display shelf for sorting trinkets and treasures. Finally, don’t leave your lighting to chance. Says designer Matthew Hilton: “Lighting is your friend when it comes to creating a mood and setting the scene. Evoke romance with my Industry Candlestick – the solid brass finish will last forever – to add instant style to tabletops and a warm glow to proceedings.”