How to decorate with gold this Christmas

Give your Christmas a golden lining with stylish ideas for using antique and gilded pieces

'Ever since man first found gold, it's been used to embellish and enhance objects of beauty,' says antiques dealer John Bly. 'The ancient Egyptians were gilding tombs 4,000 years ago and the method they used would have been the same as we use today.'

And who doesn't love a glimmer of gold around Christmas time? Gold has always imparted a sense of luxury, elevating royalty above the common man. 'Gold was not only a symbol of wealth but also of the sun, with its gleaming surface reflecting light and life,' says gilder Rupert Coke.

In honour of this prized metal and its party-enhancing properties, we present the best way to add gold and gilded pieces to your festive decor. By mixing old with new, you can achieve an easy, textured and lived-in look.

Star performers

These outsize paper decorations give your drinks area instant party appeal and a gilt screen is perfect for hiding away chairs (or extra supplies of champagne).

Hanging decorations, from £11 per pack, Talking Tables. 'Lempicka' screen, £995, OKA


Table talk

Create stunning place settings for your guests by mixing textures such as gold, gilt, shell and glass, and place on sumptuous velvet fabric.

Tablecloth made from 'Arkona' fabric in 'Walnut', £49 per m, Harlequin. Antique china from £45, Robinsons Antiques and Beth Adams at Alfies Antiques Market. Lobster shell, £512, Joanna Wood


Present and correct

Make your presents the most glittering under the tree by adding a sparkly vintage brooch. Not only does it add a stylish finishing touch but it's makes an extra gift.

Wrapping paper, from £1.99 per roll, Paperchase. Ribbons, from £2.95 per spool, John Lewis. Vintage brooches, from £22.50, all Arabella Bianco at Grays


Place in the sun

A starburst gold gilt mirror is the perfect statement piece for any hallway - and handy for a last minute check before you head out for that Christmas party.
French mirror, £1,800, Maison Artefact. 'Lexington' 311021 wallpaper, £81 per roll, Zoffany. Gilded Louis XVI console, c1790, £11,000, Guinevere


Stepping up

Give your banister an art deco update with these glittery fern sprigs, mixed with gold berries and antique baubles.

Feather fronds, £5 each, Marks and Spencer. Antique baubles, £58 for 12, Tobias and the Angel.



Spray paint allows you to create your own 'gilded' masterpieces. Transform pine cones, wooden candlesticks, picture frames or inexpensive ornaments with Rust-Oleum metallic spray paint in gold (£9.49 per 400ml, Homebase).

Buy a few rolls of decorative gold washi masking tape (£2.75 per roll, Fox & Star) and use them to create elegant golden lines, dado rails and panels on walls and doors. Alternatively, use the tape to decorate napkin rings, paper plates and tablecloths for a Christmas party.

Look out for damaged vintage gilded picture frames at flea markets and in charity shops. Leave them empty and prop them against a wall for shabby-chic grandeur.

Images: Katya de Grunwald
Styling: Anna Malhomme de la Roche

This feature originally appeared in the December issue of Homes & Antiques. Back issues are still available. To purchase a copy click here

Fabulous prizes to be won every day of the 12 days of Christmas
previous feature article
January's best antiques and vintage fairs around the UK
next feature article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here