A must-do activity through December is to spend some cosy evenings in with big blankets, steaming mugs of hot chocolate (or mulled wine, depending how stressful the season has been!) under ambient lighting to watch Christmas movies – the classics, the new ones and those you’ve never heard of but have found on a random straight-to-television channel on your cable TV. Christmas is a fantastic time for interior design as we all decorate our homes and get creative, and with bright windows allowing those walking past a view into your house to enjoy your decs from the outside too, it’s no surprise that lots of us go all-out. Of course, the houses on the silver screen often manage to present festivities in a way the rest of us could only dream of – but how many homes from seasonal movies do you remember? Read on for some of our favourites… and the decorating lessons we can all learn from them.
The Walt Disney classic: The Santa Clause
This 1994 Christmas classic features a somewhat modest home compared to many blockbusters, but it still hosts its fair share of drama. Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin accidentally knocks Santa Claus off the roof of his home and kills him (!!); so he must step into his big all-weather boots and take the reins as the newest Santa.
Scott’s home is by no means lavishly decorated or even particularly large, but its snow-covered front steps leading up to a front door with a wreath is beautifully and traditionally festive. Don’t have snow this December? Consider spraying the fake stuff on the corners of your steps, or pop some festive poinsettas either side of the door and finish with a statement foliage wreath.
Credit: Pinterest/New Line Cinema
Buddy the Elf’s family live in a luxury New York apartment – but he doesn’t really approve of the simple decorations furnishing it. He upgrades all of the displays throughout the condo, adding in paper snowflakes, a large tree and reams and reams of twinkling Christmas lights. He also updates the Christmas displays in the Gimbels department store, but as that’s not a home, we won’t quite count it here.
Buddy’s upgrades to his home’s decorations prove that even those born and raised in the North Pole with real grotto experience don’t necessarily see the need for luxury overstated design. Learn from Buddy by embracing tree lights all in one colour and hanging paper lanterns and chains around the home.
Credit: Pinterest/Warner Bros
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Clark Griswold’s home is somewhat of an 80s dream when it comes to interior design – and you may not necessarily fancy dusky pink walls, plush green carpets or plaid curtains, but there’s still a lesson to be learnt from his approach to seasonal décor. 25,000 fairy lights adorn the outside of the home, illuminating every corner in the dark December nights.
OK, so you likely won’t go to the trouble of sourcing and hanging literally tens of thousands of lights this Christmas, but don’t discount the impact outside illuminations in a single colour can have. Avoid coloured lights or flashing effects and instead stay simple for a dose of seasonal sophistication.
Credit: Pinterest/Universal Studios
This British movie staple features a few homes throughout, including a traditional London townhouse, but Colin Firth’s French escape where he travels to author his book is our favourite. Barely decorated and instead focusing on its natural features, we see great natural light, large French doors and backyard views that all combine to produce a Mediterranean-type feel.
Short of hopping on a plane to spend your December in rural France, you may consider it a challenge to recreate this French farmhouse’s aesthetic. However, instead incorporate the rustic touches from it into your own home – feature festive foliage throughout and introduce wood and neutral tones throughout.
Miracle On 34th Street
Miracle On 34th Street has been shot twice – once in the 1940s and again in 1994. The home in the original is used for catalogue photoshoots, so you know it’s something special… and there’s perhaps only one other idyllic home on this list that can rival it for its warmth and traditional festive feel. The large windows, squashy sofas and fireplaces in almost every room certainly gives us a great sense of the season.
You don’t need to take the radical step to install fresh fireplaces into every room of your home, but the power of an open flame is not to be underestimated through the colder winter months. Pillar candles, scattered tealights and advent candles lit can all replace ambient lamps and lighting throughout the home.
Perhaps the most Christmass-y of all homes, but without an extremely large mortgage for most of us also the most unobtainable, the Home Alone mansion is the epitome of festive décor. Even better, the home is real – it’s situated in Winnetka, Illinois and sold to a family in 2021 for an impressive $1.5million. The four-bedroom four-bathroom property is all kinds of striking, and its clear that Mrs McCallister has hired an interior designer to furnish it for the holiday season.
Even if you don’t have a four-bedroom mansion, there’s much that can be learnt from the beautiful decorations in Home Alone. The finishing touches and small details really make the aesthetic of the home – every corner you see has something small yet seasonal displayed. Adopt this for your home by hanging ribbons and foliage in spare nooks and crannies, ensuring all of your surfaces are covered in ornaments and cards, and fragrance for festivities with relevant scents throughout.
Your home may not quite be in the position of Hollywood producers knocking on your door to shoot a movie in it just yet, but that’s not to say it needn’t be in the future. Taking your favourite elements from film sets and incorporating them into your own abode can inspire and empower – creating and amplifying your own very merry Christmas season.
Merry Christmas from us all at Refresh Renovations.