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Get cracking at home; When friends and family gather for the Easter celebrations, the home needs to be in 'eggcellent' shape. GABRIELLE FAGAN reveals ways to decorate your nest.

Byline: . GABRIELLE FAGAN

EASTER egg hunts, a celebration lunch and time with the family are the pleasures of the upcoming holiday, but don't forget one key element of the preparations - setting the scene at home.

You're spoilt for choice with the variety of decorations and accessories in high street stores, reflecting our growing enthusiasm for decorating rooms for the occasion, which is now almost as popular as the ritual of 'decking the halls' at Christmas.

"Decorating the home for Easter is now as established as the beloved egg hunt, and it doesn't need to involve spending a fortune," says Anna Sheppard, head of seasonal buying at Sainsbury's.

"You can simply display an array of colourful bottles or vases containing fresh spring flowers to create a stylish mantel display, and then add pretty pastel tableware for the perfect table setting.

"Welcome guests by filling a cookie jar with baked goods and place a large, decorative bowl or wicker basket filled with fresh fruit and chocolate eggs on the kitchen table for the perfect centrepiece.

"Involve the children in the fun of popping accessories around the house, such as wooden chick and bunny ornaments, then drape Easter bunting over a doorway or around a mirror."

If the sun shines on Easter Sunday, it's the perfect opportunity to move the party outdoors, and pretty up the patio with some tubs filled with seasonal blooms, stylish paper tableware, and some signs and clues guiding those hunters to the hidden eggs.

There's no need though to puzzle over where to find the best decorations and Easter homeware - we've been hot on the trail for special touches so that your home will look a treat.

SET THE SCENE If cluttering the house with chickens and bunting isn't your style, just pay a nod to the season with subtle touches.

BEST BUYS: Transform a dull window with Frostbite film (FBE02) which includes a design depicting a trio of hanging eggs, from PS30, The Window Film Company. Follow the theme with a framed print of mounted speckled eggs, Egg Print Wall Art, reduced online to PS12.99, Marks & Spencer. A fun Cream Hen Clock, PS12, George Home at Asda, has a cosy, rustic feel, as does a large Ceramic Chicken, PS10, Tesco.

Echo the farmyard feel with a Hen And Chicks Cotton Cushion, reduced to PS21.60, Laura Ashley, or a simply irresistible Yellow Duckling Baby Cushion, PS32, Skandivis.

TOP TABLE A themed table sets the mood instantly and there's a brilliant array of pretty china available which will last way beyond the season. Don't forget new egg cups, which will delight the children and could make inexpensive gifts.

BEST BUYS: Marks & Spencer's Hen Sketch range, featuring a black and white drawing of a hen on all the pieces, is delightful. Egg Cup, PS6; Mug, PS8; Bowl, PS9.50; Jug, PS25.

The piece in its range with the highest cute factor has to be its Photographic Chick Mug, with an image of a yellow duckling, PS6, Marks & Spencer.

The Gisela Graham Ceramic Tulip Egg Cup, PS5, The Contemporary Home, is another good choice.

BUNNY BARGAINS Don't get caught on the hop when it comes to decorating - simply add rabbit-themed decorations and table accessories.

BEST BUYS: John Lewis's Poly Bunny ornament, PS8, comes in cheerful pink or yellow. Easter Bunny Decorations, below, only PS1 for a pack of 12, Poundland. Talking Tables' brilliant and well-priced range includes a Bunny Cake stand, PS7, and a Springtime Flocked Rabbit, PS4.50. The latter would be ideal to mark each place setting.

SPELL IT OUT Garlands and bunting will add to the air of fun, and signs are essential for the Easter egg hunt.

BEST BUYS: Gisela Graham Pastel Happy Easter Garland, PS9, and Happy Easter Plaque, PS3.75, The Contemporary Home. You're lacking in humour if the Wooden Easter Hanging Arrows, PS3.99 each, from My Gift Tree, don't raise a smile with their slogans: Hop Over Here and Every Bunny Welcome.

TREE TREAT DECORATED trees aren't just for Christmas - the Scandinavian tradition of Easter trees is making its mark here. Buy a ready-made tree or simply display a handful of twigs or branches in a vase and hang with tiny egg or chick decorations. BEST BUYS: Yellow Easter Tree, PS15, John Lewis. The Contemporary Home has two desirable trees: Gisela Graham Twig And Egg Easter Tree, PS25, which comes with 10 pastel eggs, or the pretty Felt Petal Easter Tree, PS20.

Your favourite brew is bound to taste better in a smart new mug or cup so why not treat yourself, whatever the budget.

Here are three options to suit every pocket SCRIMP Scallop mug PS1, Asda (www.asda.com) SPEND Yellow melamine teacup PS4.50, Berry Red (www.berryred.co.uk) SPLURGE Emma Bridgewater Bluebell mug PS19.95 John Lewis ( johnlewis.com) EGG-CELLENT CHOICES GET creative and encourage youngsters to decorate real or artificial eggs. Hobbycraft has a variety of kits and materials to inspire, while John Lewis has yellow Easter Sisal, PS2.50 a packet, which could be used to make a 'straw' nest for those finished eggs.

BEST BUYS: Gisela Graham Set of 12 Speckled Egg Decorations, PS12; Pastel Easter Egg & Twig Wreath, PS21; Patchwork Fabric Easter Egg, PS2, The Contemporary Home. Nordic House's Egg Candles are appropriate and almost too attractive to light. Hen Eggs, PS7.95 for set of six; Duck Eggs, PS7.50 a pair; Goose Eggs, PS12.95 a pair.

CAPTION(S):

Large Ceramic Chicken, PS10, Tesco

Hen wall clock, PS12, George home, Asda

Pink & Yellow bunny PS8, spring flower wooden pegs PS3.50 x6, John Lewis

Gisela Graham Pastel Easter egg & twig wreath, PS21, The Contemporary Home
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 12, 2014
Words:945
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