Color Schemes for Christmas Decorating

Christmas decor

The Spruce

If you love a traditional, old-world Christmas, you probably won't think much about a color scheme for your Christmas decorations. You'll gather together everything with sentimental value in any color, and find just the right place for it and your home and tree will be lovely.

But if you're just starting out or want your decorations to ​complement your home's decor, you'll find that all your Christmas decorating decisions will be easier if you start out with a specific color scheme.

How to Choose a Color Scheme

There are a number of ways you can determine or choose a color scheme you want to follow with your Christmas decorations. They include:

  • Your Home's Color Scheme
    Focus on the colors you have in your home year 'round and select complementary colors that bring out the seasonal feeling.
  • Colors From Your Childhood Christmases
    If you have particularly happy memories from Christmas past, try to choose a color theme to enhance that memory. If you loved all the candy canes, choose a red and white color scheme. Did your tree have shiny silver tinsel laid over the boughs? Maybe you'd like a silver glittery color scheme. How about the bubble lights from the '50s and '60s? Choose a color scheme that brings all those colors to mind.
  • Colors From a Decorating Motif
    Do you love the luscious and luminous beaded fruits? Then you might want to bring the jewel tones into all your Christmas decorating. Do you love rustic, earthy decorations? Then you might want to stick with greens, browns, and golds.
  • A Piece of Fabric
    If you have seen a beautiful fabric that would be spectacular in the center of your dining room table, draw your Christmas colors from the fabric design. Bring the hues into all the rooms for a unified look.
  • A Sentimental Collectible Christmas Decoration
    Were you given a special Christmas decoration from your childhood home? If so, make that the focal point and use the colors from it for your color scheme.
  • Hues From Your Home
    If your home has warm colors, it would be best to choose golds and reds for decorations rather than icy white and silver. Keep with the feeling of your home for a harmonious decor.
  • Photos From Magazines and Books
    Though the pictures might look casual and lived in, most photo layouts from magazines and books are "staged" by professional designers. Use their ideas to bring the color scheme and designs into your home.
  • Holiday Gift Wrap
    You can see lots of color schemes used in Christmas gift wrapping paper. See which ones you like and think about the style, the motifs represented, and the colors. Choose a paper that would look good in your home and find more decorations to place around the house.
  • Ribbons
    Almost any Christmas decorating is enhanced by adding ribbons and bows, lots of them. If you find a ribbon that you particularly like, use the colors for the decorating scheme throughout your home.

How to Bring Consistency and Harmony to Your Decor

Once you choose a color scheme, it's a good idea to carry the color through all connecting rooms, for a look of consistency and harmony.

There are some general rules to follow when bringing a Christmas (or any seasonal temporary) color scheme into your home.

  • Harmonize With Your Interior
    If your home is decorated with a contemporary interior of black and white and chrome, don't try to create a rustic space with twigs and birds nests. Focus on the space as it is with silver, white, glitter, and crystals, maintaining the minimalist look.
    On the other hand, if your home is decorated in warm, colorful tones, don't try to make it look sleek and sophisticated with silver and white Christmas decorations. Choose colors from the decorating plan and draw them out for the Christmas decor.
    To summarize, if the space is warm and cozy, choose Christmas decorations in shapes and colors that retain that feeling. If the space is cool and sleek, choose decorations that are also sleek and sophisticated.
  • Transition From Room to Room
    For continuity through your home, coordinate your Christmas decorations from room to room. Don't use silver and white icicles in one room and rustic twigs and calico ornaments in the adjoining room.
    Try to repeat main decorating colors in each room. The decorations don't have to be the same but bring colors from one room to the next. Try to find some decorations that have several colors in them. Then use one of the main colors in one room, another in an adjoining room, and the third color in the third room. Tie the spaces together with a common garland or decorative ribbons.
  • Why Color Is So Important
    Color evokes strong emotions in people and the colors chosen for a Christmas color scheme might be more important than the items chosen for decorations.
    Think about walking into a room that's black. Black walls, black floors, black furniture, black lights. Then see a bowl of plain round silver sparkling ornaments in a black bowl. The silver ornaments are the only thing you really see. The ornaments could be green, red, gold, or purple, but they'd still draw all your attention.
    Now think of a white room. White walls and everything else white. What would attract your eye the most? Something, anything, that's not white.
    Choose the colors you like the most for your Christmas decorating. Choose what will draw your eye and make you feel joyous and festive.
  • A Monochromatic Color Scheme
    If you love things harmonious to look at, all in a family of colors, you may choose a monochromatic color scheme. But that doesn't mean that everything will be the same color. In fact, your monochromatic color scheme will be much more dramatic if you select items in many shades of your chosen color.
    If red is your color, think of all the hues of red. Start at the pink end and move on to fuchsia, rose, cherry, firecracker, ruby, cranberry, burgundy, and maroon. You get the idea. Find balls, bows, garlands, and other decorations in every shade of red. That's a monochromatic color scheme.
    Do the same thing with greens, blues, purples, whites, silvers, golds – whatever color you choose.
  • Use Color to Add Texture
    Even with a monochromatic scheme, it's important to have some texture for interest. A tree decorated with only balls can look boring. Use garlands, different finishes on the balls, ribbons, nosegays to add different textures and balance.
  • Warm Colors and Cool Colors
    It's known that certain colors evoke particular feelings. Reds, yellows, and golds are warm colors. Blue, white, and silver are cool colors. If you choose a decorating scheme of snow, you'd probably gravitate towards cool colors. If you're focusing on the cozy feeling of a winter fireplace, you'd choose warm colors. If you live in a climate that's freezing cold, you might want to warm up your interior with warm colors. If you live in a tropical area, you might want to bring the coolness of icicles into your home at this time of year.

Tie It up With Ribbon

Christmas decorations are temporary and can be over the top and whimsical. Bows and ribbon can be a unifying element in holiday decorating. Use the same ribbon in every room or buy coordinating ribbons in contrasting colors (for example, a gold ribbon with red stripes, and a red ribbon with gold stripes) to use in various rooms. Purchase different widths of the same design ribbon so you can use narrower around candlesticks and wider on wreaths and garlands.

Use ribbons and bows to add color and a holiday mood to garlands, wreaths, mantles, swags, and candlesticks. Learn a simple way to make floral bows to use anywhere in your home.

French ribbons with a wired edge cost more than regular soft ribbons, but are a great investment as they can be used year after year. With the wired edges, you can make a perfect bow, arranging the loops and tails any way you like for the best effect.

Be sure to purchase more ribbon than you think you'll need. You may not be able to find more later.

Almost Any Hue Can Work

Though red, green, gold, and silver are the favorite choices for Christmas colors, almost any hue can create a beautifully decorated home for the holidays.

When choosing color combinations, remember that most colors of equal depth and intensity will harmonize with each other. Pastels, for example, mix easily with other pastels such as pink, peach, butter yellow, baby blue, lilac, and mint green.

Or the deep jewel tones of navy blue, hunter green, and deep red will also combine well.

Most colors, whether pastel or jewel tones, mix well with crystals, white, and ivory. And metallic tones like gold, silver, iron, brass, and pewter look great with almost any color.

Here are some more colors and wonderful color combination for Christmas decorations all around your house.

  • Red and Green
  • Red and White
  • Green and White
  • All White
  • Any Color and Gold
  • Any Color and White
  • Any Color and Silver
  • White, Blue, and Silver
  • Ivory and Brushed Gold
  • Sage Green, Ivory, and Pewter
  • Bright Purple, Blue, and Green
  • Icy Blue, Lilac, and Silver
  • Autumn Tones of Beige, Brown, Golden Yellow, and Rust
  • Forest Green, Burgundy, and Gold
  • Primary Toy Colors Such as Red, Yellow, and Blue