Alternate Christmas Color Schemes

Designer Lauren Oviatt shows us three non-traditional colors schemes and gives us tips on how to take what each of us love about holiday decorating and make it a personal reflection of our own style.


Create an opulent feel without overwhelming your space by decorating with a limited color scheme of silver, green, and chocolate. Wrap pieces of wide taffeta ribbon in varying shades of caramel and brown around your garlands and throughout your Christmas tree. Ribbon adds a richness and texture that ornaments can’t. Mercury glass ornaments are readily available in many shapes and sizes and are great element in this color scheme – their reflective qualities create the illusion of more light and add that “sparkle factor.”

Tip: Use white poinsettias, paperwhites, ivory candles and other cream accents to soften the impact of the silver while maintaining the look you’ve created.


Orange is an unexpected holiday color, but one that is deeply rooted in tradition. Cloven oranges, also known as pomanders, go back as far as wassail. An old friend of mine always had an orange in the toe of her stocking each year on Christmas morning. They make a fabulous addition to wreaths and centerpieces, whether they are cloven or not. Plus, they are in season this time of year & delicious! Orange tones paired with cream and green makes for a very traditional, classic scheme, while oranges paired with shades of pink or lime green creates a very energetic and youthful look. It can be fun to have a secondary or kids tree with this kind of scheme.


Blue and silver have always been a popular combination, (think icy winter wonderland) and can easily be carried over into New Year’s Eve festivities. A more modern idea is to use aqua, sky blue, or lime green as accents for a monochromatic yet colorful punch. For those who have furnishings in a more cool color palette, blue can be a great addition because it too is cool in tone.

Other ideas for high-impact holiday design:

• Have fun and be inventive!
The most memorable homes during the holidays aren’t those with the largest tree, but those that have carried the décor through the entire house. Hang mini-wreaths in windows with colorful ribbon or tie up a small bunch of mistletoe and hang it from a doorway. Light holiday-scented candles and tie with ribbon – group in a guest bathroom for a nice touch during holiday gatherings.

• Use lots of greenery and metallic.
Be creative and place left-over ornaments and greenery in a decorative container for a fabulous and easy centerpiece.

• Start collecting things.
So much of the meaning during the holidays stems from family traditions. Lit miniature homes, sterling silver pieces, ornaments and even inexpensive pinecones can be collected year after year and create lasting family memories.

• Combine multiple ribbons for interest.

Use either different textures in the same color scheme or varying colors in a similar style. Try them tied around your wreaths, packages and garland for a cohesive style from room to room.

• Embellish what you already have.
Year-round accessories will look new again highlighted by ornaments, berries, or sprigs of leftover evergreen.

• Group items for impact.
A tray resting on your coffee table is the perfect place for an assortment of candles, ornaments, or holiday magazines and books.

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