Insta-ideas: An influencer’s guide to Christmas interior decorating

Festive design tips from Paul Kinsella, Lynn Ferrari, Karen Coleman and Yvonne Purcell

We chat to the people behind some of the best Irish home interiors Instagram accounts to find out more – as well as their plans for making their homes cosy for the festive season.

Paul Kinsella

Dubliner Paul Kinsella has amassed a sizable Instagram following where he shares DIY tips and tricks for creating a stylish home on a budget. He lives in Drumcondra with his fiance Mark and their dog Penny.

Why do you think there's such a demand for Insta home accounts these days?
I think it's allowing people to see that you don't have to have the standard house set-up that maybe a lot of us grew up with. It can be done differently and tailored to your lifestyle and budget.

We're all going to be spending a lot more time indoors this Christmas. What are you going to be doing to make your own place extra-cosy?
I'll be doing a fresh Christmas wreath, real mantle garland and for the first time I'm going to try create my own stairs garland of real foliage. I think it's important this year to support local businesses where we can; I have a feeling I'll be making some hamper-style presents this year with a few twists, so keep your eyes peeled.


How will you be decorating your home for Christmas?
I don't really change my style year on year, I just add little bits. I do like a bit of a Scandi feel in some aspects. I will be doing a lot with fresh foliage this year. I usually stick to two main colours for decorations, which are blue and silver with a sprinkle of glitter. I'm a little allergic to tinsel, but I have a soft spot for green tinsel, as you can use it to make faux garlands.

Lynn Ferrari

Lynn Ferrari is a creative Director for an American publishing company and is based in Waterford. She has documented her home on Instagram since buying her three-bed semi in 2018, as well as her recent journey into motherhood, having recently given birth to her first daughter, Farrah. She and her husband also share their stylish home with Otis and Matilda, a dog and a cat.

What's the best way to cosy-up your home for winter?
I love changing my soft furnishings with the seasons, so heavier throws and pillows, etc. I'll have a big basket of wood stacked beside the stove with lots of candles lighting. For me, smell has a big part to play in interiors, so lots of wintery scents. Lighting is a great way to add ambience so I'll be adding a few lamps throughout the living areas to create a cosy atmosphere.

What about Christmas decor?
We've kinda made up our style of Christmas decor – I'm going to call it "pink kitsch Sandi chic"! The tree goes up in the hallway and I absolutely love that it's the first thing you see when you enter the house. It's adorned with kitsch, pink decorations; the more random, the better. I think Christmas styling can be fun; gone are the days you had to have a perfect tree with red and white decorations.

Karen Coleman

Mayo native Karen Coleman bought her 1950s semi-d in Dublin in 2016 and has documented its renovation over the years – much of it with a focus on upcycling and sustainability. She works in financial services and lives with her husband Seán and their three children Cillian, Rachel and Finn.

Your home is a fabulous blend of old and new – what's your trademark style?
It would probably be best described as eclectic! I like a mix of modern and retro, and if I think I can try my hand at something I'll give it a go. I definitely get this from my mum, who sadly passed away last year; she could turn her hand to most things and I would sit and watch her re-covering kitchen chairs or sewing curtains. My style is affordable and accessible and I try to reuse what I have, or buy pre-loved items for customisation.

What decor style are you going for this Christmas?
I like a natural look with lots of foliage from the garden decorated with fairy lights, interspersed with some of the children's Christmas crafts. The decorations go up in the first couple of days of December, otherwise I'd have to listen to the kids asking when they are going up!

Yvonne Purcell

A self-described "upcycler and salvage hunter", Yvonne Purcell's motto for her hugely popular account is: "I don't just think outside the box, I think of what I can do with the box". She lives in a 100-year-old cottage in Dublin with her husband Kevin and their four daughters.

You have over 230,000 followers – why do you think people have flocked to your account?
My home is different, and people are more interested than ever before in recycling old furniture and repurposing furniture. People are becoming more aware of the "throw away" culture. I try not to follow trends and I have my own individual style.

What are your top tips to make your home cosy?
We decluttered our living room last Christmas and painted the walls in Moonbeam by Fleetwood, so it opens up the room. We also removed some of the furniture and bought a smaller sofa to give the illusion of space, and installed a log burner which is a welcome addition to our home and will add that cosy feel to the cottage this winter. I'm looking forward to lighting the log burner and I'll decorate the room with foraged branches, bull rushes and thistles.

Most of your Christmas decorations are homemade – what will you be doing this year?
I make wreaths every winter with dried foliage which I'll hang in the living room; I decorate the mantle with dried flowers, branches and thistles, too. I get offcuts of Christmas tree branches from our local Christmas tree seller to make garlands and wreaths for around the house, and decorate the wreaths with pinecones I find on my walks in the park and finish off with a big raffia bow. I love bringing the outside in with branches of fragrant evergreen and pine cones. I even make my own potpourri with bundles of cinnamon sticks in a bowl with pine cones and cloves.