Published on December 3, 2019

Eight years ago, Amanda Brooks, the former fashion director of Barneys New York, and her family left the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple for the Cotswolds, where she opened a boutique filled with everything you need for your fantasy cottage in the English countryside. Now her idyllic farmhouse, which features all the makings of a rural escape—faded rosebud wallpaper and toile curtains included—is the setting for Zara Home’s new holiday editorial. 

In addition to revealing her recipe for perfect sugar biscuits and what she’s getting everyone on her list this year (spoiler: she’s keeping the stoneware egg tray for herself), the photo spread, “At Home With Amanda Brooks,” offers a peek inside the fashion insider’s retreat at Christmastime. Unsurprisingly, the place is decorated to a T. But it wasn’t the festive products that caught our attention; it was the super-simple, completely free decorating ideas.

Forage for Leaves

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Photo courtesy of Zara Home

Instead of adorning her windowsills with faux poinsettia or fancy florals, Brooks arranged branches still holding onto their golden-tinged leaves in a textured ceramic vase. Next time you decide to go on a walk or rake the yard, bring a few oversize boughs back in with you. 

Place Berries Bedside

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Photo courtesy of Zara Home

This classic evergreen trimming isn’t just for door wreaths. Gather a few branches, remove the glossy green leaves, and stick them in a small vessel on your nightstand so you can wake up every morning in the holiday spirit. 

Dress Up Frames With Strings of Popcorn

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Photo courtesy of Zara Home

Brooks looks forward to this homemade decoration every year. “It’s a family tradition that we will pass down from generation to generation,” she says. All you need to make the strands is a bowl of popcorn, a needle, and some thread. Go beyond the fireplace mantel and drape them over wall art and kitchen shelving like Brooks did. Mistletoe optional. 

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