Beyond red and green: How to choose a Christmas palette

Ilyce R. Glink
Y! Homes | Design Center
December 13, 2012

Christmas décor includes everything from Santa mug collections to candy canes in every color of the rainbow to an array of twinkling holiday lights that brighten up dark winter nights.

Decorating your home for Christmas is a great way to create warm and lasting memories for you and your loved ones. But don't let the stress of trying to pull off "the perfect Christmas look" get you down. Just as you add your own personal taste when decorating your home, your Christmas décor can be as unique as you are.

The first step in creating a personalized Christmas display is choosing the right color scheme.

Are you a traditionalist? Do you ooze elegance and glamour? Maybe you're a trend-setter who's always one step ahead of the curve? No matter how you define yourself, these festive color options will suit any personality:


Red and green is probably the most recognized Christmas décor color palette and you can find tons of ornaments and accessories to purchase. Unless you've been collecting for years, the cost of holiday decorations can add up quickly.

Jennifer Holmes, co-creator of online boutique Dear Lillie and author of the blog, prefers more budget-friendly options, including making use of what Mother Nature has to offer.

"I collect bare branches and fresh cut greenery from outside so it's free," she says. "I have it stuffed in stockings, hanging from my chandelier and curtain rods, and garlands and wreaths dressing up my mantel, mirrors and tops of buffets and dressers."

Add small touches of deep red cranberries to complement this natural theme by stringing them together and winding them around the branches.

If you love the classic feeling of red and green but still want to try something new, Julie Fiato, author of the DIY and home decorating blog suggests an easy update.

"Red and white is a color combination that I tend to navigate toward at this time of year," she says. "The colors of a sweet candy cane or Santa's suit take me back to Christmas time as a child."

The classic green tree ties everything together.

Modern Elegance

Metallics are growing in popularity for holiday decorating. Use elements of silver and gold for a glowing and elegant touch to your holiday décor.

Various sized gold and silver ornaments placed on a mirrored tray make for a glistening centerpiece and gold and silver throw pillows add a luxurious feel to your couches and can be used all year 'round.

Keep the glitz from going overboard by toning it down with neutrals.

"I used lots of silver in my living room and dining room and mixed it with grays, whites, ivory and black and in my family room I used lots of gold mixed with chocolate brown, caramel and ivory," Holmes says.


The sky's the limit here. Test out different color combinations to find the one that really suits your style.

Former floral designer Kristen Brandenburg of usually leans toward tried and true red and green but has decided to add a little kick.

"I'll be adding some lime green into my décor," she says. "Lime green and red is really big this year."

Other unexpected Christmas color combinations include crisp white and teal, playful pink and lime and regal purple and red.

Fiato says Christmas is a time to throw out the rules. "Focus on what brings you joy when you look at it."

And remember, whether you try one color scheme or mix and match them all, if you hate your holiday look, you can always try again next year.

Ilyce Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated real estate columnist, blogger and radio talk show host, and managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog. Follow her on Twitter @Glink.