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Dara Huang's expert tips for perfecting Christmas hosting with 'space-shifting' illusions

This trick will create a great space for hosting this Christmas

Dara Huang's expert tips for perfecting Christmas hosting with 'space-shifting' illusions
Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
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Ensuring your home is ready to host your nearest and dearest at Christmas can come with pressure. Whether you have invited half the neighbourhood around or are keeping it low-key with a handful of people, creating an inviting atmosphere is top of many of our lists of festive priorities.

Architect Dara Huang says creating a space you can host in at Christmas is about "visual trickery". The designer, who happens also to be the mother of Princess Beatrice's stepson Wolfie, has partnered with Samsung to share her expert tips for making the most out of any space when you are hosting that will ensure even the smallest of rooms feel well prepared to welcome the masses.

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Multi-functional furniture has picked up a lot of interest in 2023 but the key to bringing in furniture that blends functionality and style is detail, Dara tells us. "It’s about clever adjustments, from multi-functional furnishings that flex your inside look, to other décor pieces that put a fresh twist on colour schemes and cleverly curated arrangements, for space-shifting illusions," she says.

Woman Standing by Table Decorated for Christmas© Getty
Use these tips for a space fit for hosting at Christmas

Now you see it, now you don't

Multi-use tables are a great way to incorporate an extra layer of functionality into a piece that can dominate a lot of space in the room you are predominantly hosting in. But then again, at Christmas, a table is the most important feature in a room if it is where you are sitting down to eat, or at the very least, where you are laying out your spread of amazing food so embrace it.

living room with shelving and blue sofa© Joe Pepler/PinPep
Opt for multi-functional furniture at Christmas

Dara tells us: "When we are entertaining more regularly, optimising different areas is key. Tables that moonlight as bookshelves and stools that double as side tables are easy wins. These features provide more seating and place setting options without compromising on space, then switch back to everyday décor when not needed – magic!"

The expert adds: "Using furniture with extra storage, like ottomans with hidden compartments and a wall clock with hidden interior shelves helps keep your space tidy by hiding things you don’t want people to see without taking up extra space, ensuring every piece of furniture has a double function, especially when you're hosting during the festive season."

Optimise your space with a mirror

The phrase 'smoke and mirrors' comes into play in a very real way here. Mirrors can help create an optical illusion by reflecting light into space for an airier feel.

"In the living room add mirrored tables and side cabinets so that they reflect light on the surface and visually expand a space, while also providing a clever way to hide everyday items like children’s toys, creating a two-in-one fix," Dara advises. "A mirror cabinet opposite a window will reflect the open outdoors and can be especially effective, not to mention how it is good feng shui.

London home decorated for Christmas in white and red© Getty
Reflect light back into the room with a mirror

"Mirrored pieces like vases, sculptures, and picture frames reflect both natural sunlight and indoor lights, making the whole space brighter," the designer adds. "This simple trick gives the illusion that the room is bigger than it actually is by playing with light and shadows. Ideal for giving the illusion of more space, even if it’s limited."

living room with sofa© Pinpep
Your TV can be used as art

Use your TV as a focal point

Often when you are trying to create ambience a switched-off TV with its big black screen can ruin the mood. Dara highlights that the TV can itself become a visually appealing focal point if you leave a crackling fire or a revolving gallery of photos playing. Suddenly the TV invites people into the space and adds a personal touch. Dara loves the Samsung Frame TV for its "ground-breaking Matte Display" which "absorbs reflections, providing a lifelike finish and an interchangeable art gallery".

living room with TV© Joe Pepler/PinPep
Create ambience using your TV

Swap out your soft furnishings

A quick and affordable way to spruce up your space and make it feel extra festive is swapping out some of your soft furnishings. Dara tells us: "One of the easiest ways to refresh your space for hosting season is to swap out your throw pillows and blankets. For autumn and winter, opt for something with a little more texture or even a holiday-specific motif; then come spring and summer, switch this up for airier materials like linen, in lighter shades."

Decorated Christmas tree and gifts by sofa. Interior of living room with furniture. Ottoman stools and chairs by coffee table.© Getty
Swap out your soft furnishings

Opt for furnishings that further enlarge the feel of the space, especially when you are hosting a large number. "For winter think large rugs in a neutral colour to help make your space look bigger and for an ultra-high-net-worth look without the splurge, mixing contemporary with the traditional," she adds.

Visual trickery at its finest

Something as simple as rearranging your furniture can totally change how we perceive the size of a room. Dara tells us: "Instead of facing furniture to the centre of the room, make the windows your focal point and you’ll feel like you’ve brought the outside in while entertaining and dining.

White and spacious domestic living room decorated with Christmas fir tree and pastel holiday decor. Festive craft gift boxes and wrapped presents for family and friends© Getty
Turn your furniture towards the windows

"Equally if you have a small space but don’t have a great window view you can utilise the Samsung Frame TV to display a picturesque window image of rolling hills or a beautiful landscape, using perspective to create the illusion of extra depth within a space," she concludes.

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Take the pressure off yourself to transform your entertaining space by keeping Dara's tips in your back pocket. You don't have to blow the festive budget on a whole new living room, a few additions and implementing the visual tricks will have your home feeling like a brand new space in no time.

Samsung has partnered with architect and interior designer, Dara Huang, to share her top tips on how to make the most of space-shifting illusions ahead of hosting this holiday season.

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