In this post: Looking to enliven your Christmas decor? Try using a fresh Christmas color palette to work with your updated home style.⇒
I’m quite clear on who I am and what I like.
The details of my taste in home decor and the hair-splitting specificity of my preferences is something I recognize immediately.
And yet, over and over I miss the mark.
Not most of the time, to be sure. More often than not I get it right the first time. But the evidence of these missteps is all around my home. From tiny imperfections I notice as I walk by, to larger errors that grate on my nerves, refining my home to reflect my true taste is an ongoing process.
Sometimes I veer off course and go too trendy. Other times I select things that belong in my past. In either case, I usually know pretty quickly that something is off, even if it takes a little while and an infusion of inspiration to realize where the fix lies.
Often that fix is really simple, but something I hadn’t been looking at.
Over the past few years I’ve been on a decorating journey between casual and elegant. I’ve been going back and forth along the decorating spectrum, never knowing how far was far enough until I passed the limit.
Did I still identify my aesthetic as modern French Country? How modern was I willing to go? And how French? Should I water down my style into something that seemed more accessible like ‘rustic chic’? Did that even mean anything?
It turns out the answer has always lived within the mix. No, my silver is not too fussy if I temper it with a bleached wood backdrop. Yes, I can get away with gilding if I pair it with timeworn fabrics. Even crystal can be quieted by a soft and neutral setting.
The key is in the balance.
A Fresh Christmas Color Palette
It was exactly these thoughts that were mulling around my brain when I approached my holiday decor this year.
Did I want a complete absence of color to work with the organic elements I’d been adding to my home? Could the typical holiday ‘bling’ coexist with the relaxed direction I was heading in? Was there something fresh that could be added that would tie it all together?
I started by looking at the accents I recently added: vintage stone bowls, bleached wood vases, aged bronze pieces. And suddenly the answer was obvious. A fresh color palette using shades of brown and mahogany would sit beautifully with these organic elements, while being comfortable, as well, with the champagne and gold decorations that I already had.
How to Use Brown in Your Holiday Decor
Without a doubt, the single easiest way to add any color into your holiday decor is through your selection of ornaments. If you did nothing else but scatter a few baubles in your chosen color scheme around your home, you’d be halfway there. Load up the Christmas tree with different shades of the same and you’re really making a statement.
But you also want to do more than decorate a single corner or room, making it look like an outlier. Instead, you’ll want to pull together a cohesive whole, so that your color inspiration can be viewed throughout your spaces, with hints of your chosen hues represented over and over again.
You’d also do well to add a layer of complexity by going a bit further than simply clustering ornaments. You can bring in colorful accents in other ways, as well, depending on your chosen palette.
Garlands and Greenery
For my chosen palette of warm browns, I featured some natural elements, like pinecones and twigs, which inspired the use of earthy colors in the first place. This essentially neutral color scheme works beautifully with holiday greenery like the lush garland sweeping down the bannister. (Mine is faux but you can certainly use fresh greenery.)
To lighten things up, I incorporated cream and beige, as seen in the burlap ribbon above. The vintage bronze bell is the icing on the cake.
An easy way to thread these warm colors throughout the home is by creating a series of vignettes that include your pop of color. My vignettes tend to be simple, only hinting at the festive season, such as the trio of vases above, bringing together raw wood, porcelain, and aged iron with greenery, flowers and a tight collection of baubles. For me it’s the essence of understated elegance.
On the coffee table in the family room a large wooden bowl acts as a repository for a more varied group of brown and gold ornaments, encircling a trio of pillar candles. The absence of traditional Christmas colors is what makes this presentation a twist on the ordinary.
Pillows and Blankets
In addition to to decor that sits on tables and other hard surfaces, you can also add color via the soft textiles around your home. Pillows and throw blankets are an obvious vehicle for this, as they add warmth as well as an opportunity to add color and pattern.
I’ve used chocolate velvet pillows on my sofa, above, mixed with beige linen and cream Mongolian lamb. A faux fur throw rounds out the picture and a simple green wreath is tucked into the mix.
Additional Decorating Ideas
- Highlight your color story with gifts wrapped in coordinating wrapping paper
- A gingerbread house works well with this woodsy color palette
- Bark candles or a wood block tray are a natural fit
- Try gilded pears in one of your vignettes
- A platter of chocolate chip cookies fits the season and the palette
Whatever you palette, you can apply these ideas, but if, like me, you’ve moved away from classic color and more toward your own thing, your holiday decor can reflect who you are beautifully and authentically to go with your favorite decor.
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