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Two Abu Dhabi designers share tips on how to get your home festive ready


Here’s your chance to up your Holiday game by following the advice of two seasoned (and seasonal) designers.

Words by David Young

Getting organised for the festive season will be (more than) a little different this year. So, Team Yalla enlist the expert advice of two independent Abu Dhabi-based interior designers Kat Wightman and Yvonne Foley who’ll help you meet the challenge and maybe even up your holiday game


What can we do to make our homes festive ready?


Kat Wightman (KW) Organise your old decorations and decide if it might be time for a change in your theme or colours.

Sparkling silver details are ideal for adding a touch of glamour to a delicate palette of blush pink and chalky blue.

On your tree, combine shimmering metallic baubles with frosted decorations for a display that glitters in the light.

Layer warm textures in your home, such as sheepskin, wool and velvet. For a welcoming feel – a throw and plumped up cushions will instantly turn your sofas into cosy spots.


Kat Wightman


Yvonne Foley (YF) Declutter, declutter, declutter. No matter the occasion, declutter.

When our children were younger, this was the time of year we’d go through their toys, clean them up, and donate to the local children’s hospital, and the same with our clothes and books.

So before bringing out those decorations, look at your space, do a little sketch and plan where you’re putting everything. Have you used it, worn it or played with it in the last year? If the answer is no, then it’s got to go.


Yvonne Foley

Where should the novice start and how can the more experienced decorator up their game?


KW Keep the colour palette simple and discipline yourself to stick to the chosen theme to create a cohesive look when you’re out shopping. When choosing fairy lights, more is more.

There’s nothing worse than an under-lit tree. Whether you’re into multicoloured lights or simple warm white, choose the smallest bulb you can find. Invest in a basket to cover the ugly base and you’ll instantly elevate your tree game!

For a beautiful table that rises to the occasion, layer your best china and favourite glassware with pretty linens and a striking centerpiece vase filled with baubles and lights that will delicately twinkle well into the evening. Choose some festive berries to add texture to your table.

YF You need to cover all the senses. Get those aromatherapy scents out or your baking mitts. Streamline the decorating process by committing yourself to a colour palette – holiday season is all about emotions.

If this time of year reminds you of snow packed mountains and clear blue skies, go with blue and white. If it’s pine cones and your mum feeding the red robins, look at traditional greens, reds and gold. Soft lighting is key.

Think side lamps, fairy lights, candle glow, and stay away from overhead bulbs. For touch, think of warm throws on the sofa, or faux sheepskins on your dining chairs to give you that wonderful snuggle feeling.

The more daring can play with proportions, oversized trees with suspended garlands above the dining table, contrasting with small dainty chair garlands. Decorations don’t have to be perfectly symmetrical. Have some fun with it.



Can you recommend three places where readers can shop?


KW IKEA and JYSK have recently released their collections and ACE hardware has a good choice of decorations and real trees if you haven’t ordered and need one last minute. Home Center, Maisons du Monde and H&M Home are exciting as they always put on a lovely display to get you in the festive mood. Marina Home, Pottery Barn, and Crate and Barrel always have a new collection of luxury decorations that are irresistible.

YF I tend to support local artists and small business so every year I buy from the Swiss Market. This year, I’ll order online from and

We’d never have survived lockdown without artists, so now is the time to give back. If you want to go to the mall, West Elm and Ace have great collections.”

Kat Wightman is an interior designer specialising in upholstered furniture design and build. She also provides a bespoke interior design service and styling in Abu Dhabi.
Find out more by visiting

Yvonne Foley runs a small design studio called Bean an Tí, which translates from Irish as ‘woman of the house’, and “creates unique designs for unique people”.

Find out more by visiting


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