My Picks: Christmas Design Ideas

I know—it’s almost Christmas and you’re wondering how it came around so fast! Wasn’t September just a few days ago?!

I always tell myself that I won’t leave the gifts to the last minute, but somehow time always goes faster than I realise and I end up trying to think of ideas a few days before Christmas.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of my clients ask me for design or decoration ideas to make their homes more beautiful and welcoming.

I come across so many new products, either in trade shows or by searching around, that I thought: why not write about Christmas gift ideas related to living beautifully?


Here is a selection of a few items I love, which could make your life more beautiful this Christmas:

Sometimes you just need to add a light source to change the atmosphere of a room. You can choose a small table light and place it on a piece of furniture. Light it up and you’ll see the difference.

COBRA– designed 50 years ago but oh-so-contemporary –by Martinelli Luce (available online)

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The Cobra is a 40×40 sphere, so simple in its lines but so powerful in form.  It looks different depending on the angle you look at it, and can you believe it was designed 50 years ago? It is called Cobra because with the rotation of the arm, the reflector looks like the head of a cobra ready to attack.

To celebrate Cobra’s 50th anniversary, a red version has been created (the original is black and white). Red is also a Christmas colour, so why not?!

Why I love itBecause its concept is so simple—it’s like carving out a sphere – but what is left is so mesmerizing, changing form depending on how you look at it.

ECLISSE – another design classic – by Artemide (available online)

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I grew up seeing this lamp in my aunt’s house and used tolove playing with its rotating shade when I was a child, but I didn’t realiseuntil later in life that this lamp is another design icon. Designed in 1965 byVico Magistretti, it is now part of the permanent collection of the design museums,including MoMa in New York and the Triennale Design Museum in Milan.

Why I love it: because it is a great example of how a design object can be at the same time innovative, beautiful, functional and fun! Its inner shell can rotate to adjust the intensity of the light, creating the effect of an eclipse; it’s like dimming without the dimmer. The way light diffuses and passes through the shell creates a never-ending light show.


THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP by Marie Kondo –available online

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Who doesn’t know Marie Kondo? My husband read it, my cleaning lady has received my photocopies of the book and has started folding clothes the Kondo way.

My house is not that tidy and, as I keep telling myself, I try to strive for progress, not perfection. However, I love Kondo’s approach to tidiness.  If you haven’t read it yet, this book is essential to understand how to create a home and a life you love.

Why I love it: because she talks about keeping only the things that connect with you and “spark joy” andbecause she teaches you to treat objects and “stuff” with love and respect, asif they were living creatures.  Also,since I implemented her clothes-folding method, I have managed to fit all myson’s clothes into a lot less space!

BEST SELF JOURNAL-available at

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This has nothing to do with houses, but everything to do with living a beautiful life. It is a journal that is so simple inits concept, yet so powerful if you use it consistently. It spans over a period of 13 weeks and allows you to set three goals for that time frame, break them down and then follow up weekly and daily. It’s nothing new, but the way it is structured allows you to record and think about all the essential elements of your day – from gratitude to celebrating successes, from keeping an eye on your goals to reflecting on a lesson you learnt that day.

Why I love it: since I’ve been using it my days have become so much more intentional and focused. Before going to bed I plan my day ahead, check in with my goals and review my day, taking note of my accomplishments and of six things I am grateful for.  The only thing that could be improved is the appearance of the journal, but somehow I like the fact that it has no frills.


MEDITERRANEO – fruit holder by Alessi  -available from

Alessi is an Italian brand that produces objects for everyday use with a strong design connotation.

This fruit holder reminds of red coral folding its branches to become a bowl. It has now become a classic and has been copied by many.

Why I love it: it’s fun, beautiful and practical, all at the same time. It comes in coral red and would make a beautiful Christmas gift.

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ALVAR AALTO COLLECTION VASES from Iittala –available at

Alvar Aalto, a Finnish architect, and design legend, created this series of glass vases in 1936, inspired by the waves in water. With its fluid shape, it was considered revolutionary at the time. 

These vases exist in different sizes (including small ones as candle holders) and finishes, including transparent and coloured glass.

Why I love it: by now you might have noticed that I love design objects that stand the test of time. I find this vase so elegant, and strikingly contemporary despite the fact that it was designed over 80 years ago. I think every home should have one!

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GLUCKIGLUCK – a fish-shaped water jug that makes a sound!– Available at

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This is a fun and beautiful fish-shaped water jug that produces an amusing ‘glug glug’ sound when water is poured. 

The Gluckigluck can be used as a vase or utensil holder. There is something oriental and exotic in its shape and the many colour options—including some flashy ones—make it a product to suit all tastes.

Why I love it: because it reinterprets a “boring” object like a water jar and makes it beautiful and unusual. Children love it, and the ‘glug glug’ makes everybody smile around the table.

TEAPOT TAC 3– designed by Gropius for Rosenthal –Available at

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My German, Irish and English clients will love this product; the former because it is an example of exquisite German design, the latter because tea is an integral part of their everyday life.

This teapot (along with a whole series of tableware) was designed by Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus and one of the architecture legends of the twentieth century. It is probably the most beautiful tea service ever produced.

Gropius had met Philip Rosenthal in the 1960s, and the two men found that they shared a passion for good design, both in small-scale objects that make life easier and more beautiful—and larger scale—buildings that would foster a better way of living and working. As if to demonstrate this,  Gropius designed  both a tea service and two factories for Rosenthal!

Why I love it: it demonstrates how a simple object can become a small sculpture. The lines are so beautiful, the porcelain so thin and elegant. It comes from the collaboration of two inspiring men: a creative mind and a daring and forward-thinking entrepreneur