Popular opinion: Christmas couldn’t come any sooner. While this was true for 2020, our gatherings were on the smaller side, and it was difficult to get in the holiday spirit with family and friends far away. But this year, we’re ready to go all out. Our Christmas party guest lists are growing, holiday playlists are already on repeat, and our desire to cook and bake all the things cannot be satisfied. Add to that the very real truth that our Christmas decorations came out immediately after Thanksgiving (okay, Halloween for some of us), and it’s clear that we’re all in a bit of a festive frenzy. To help you welcome the holidays in style, we tapped two interior design experts to share their predictions for the Christmas décor trends that’ll be everywhere in 2021.
Anecdotes aside, there’s plenty of proof that the Christmas 2021 season is shaping up to be BIG. Reports show that with restrictions waning and everyone feeling the supply chain crunch, retail sales will be more reflective of 2019 patterns than what we saw last year. (In other words: we’ll be buying.) While we’re all excited to revel in the true meaning of Christmas, it can’t be denied that there’s fun to be found in purchasing gifts and plenty of decorations. But, if you’re at a loss for where to start, you can let our experts’ trend predictions guide your way.
We looked to Lauren Meichtry, founder of Elsie Home, and Elizabeth Gill, owner of Elizabeth Gill Interiors, for answers and guidance. Our experts shared all the trends they predict will be in everyone’s homes this year. From trees to the table to wreaths, flowers, and more, we have all the inspo and info you need to make your home merry and bright. And let us know—are there any trends that come as a surprise?
feature image by kristen kilpatrick
The Christmas Tree: Look to Nature
While we’re all about bringing the outdoors in for every element of our holiday décor, there’s nothing like the natural splendor of the Christmas tree itself. Both Meichtry and Gill agree that complementing your tree’s organic beauty is the best route to take. But beware: things can quickly get excessive, and this is a case where less is definitely more. “For me,” says Meichtry, “it’s more about leaning into the season rather than letting it dominate or swallow your home décor.” Ornaments, garland, and all the tree trimmings are great, but try paring back and letting a bit of greenery peek through.
The Christmas Décor: Less Is More
Let your home’s décor take inspiration from your relatively-minimalist tree. While it’s true that, yes, we’re ready for sparkly, twinkly, evergreen everything, finding and focusing on a few special pieces is all you need to make an impact.
Meichtry is supportive of leaning on the conservative side of things. “A common mistake I see is the ‘more is more’ mentality when it comes to Christmas décor. Unless you’re signing up to be featured on the Great Christmas Light Fight, I think your home should just be sprinkled with holiday décor.”
Gill suggests starting with a blank slate and removing any existing artwork or décor that might compete with your holiday pieces. From there, incorporate more organic accents with a little extra greenery thrown in. “Add in a beautiful faux garland to the stair rails as well as some leftover ribbon you may have from decorating the tree,” says Gill. If you have a fireplace, she adds, that’s another great location for a little garland with lights.
While we’ve definitely started spending more time out and about, there’s a pattern of people getting creative and crafty that looks like it’s here to stay. With that shift, Gill says we’ll also see more of a DIY approach to decorating this year. “Another pretty touch to help complete the overall holiday look is to wrap gifts, or empty boxes if you don’t have gifts yet, in a paper that coordinates with the color scheme. Try varying sizes and rest them on top of a simple, solid tree skirt. Odd numbers of gifts look best when arranging.”
The Christmas Table: Mix Old With New
We share Gill’s opinion when it comes to dressing our holiday tables: “Decorating a table is where you can have the most fun,” says the designer. “It’s a great place to mix both old and new.” While we’re all about thoughtful and considered décor, Gill reminds us that it’s important to make guests feel welcome with an accessible approach. Create a perfectly imperfect aesthetic with mix-and-match prints, fabrics, and pieces. “Different patterned napkins or colorways always look lovely on a holiday table. Pass on the ubiquitous poppers and instead place something sweet and edible at each setting that your guests can take with them. Consider mini Christmas trees for centerpieces instead of poinsettias. Or, you can opt for flowers in different sizes and colors.”
If you have leftover garland from your stairs or mantle, Meichtry suggests running it down the center of your table to ground the design. “I like to lay garland over a fabric runner and layer in candles and small, hand-carved wood Christmas trees.”
Keep in mind too, that it’s all about balance. While creating a laid-back environment helps you let go of the stress and focus on connection, you can still work in elevated and sentimental touches. Gill’s a big proponent of this. “Don’t feel like you need to use a tablecloth, but do break out your best glassware and top it with something festive for your guests. This is the time to use that fancy, fragile glassware you studiously avoid using all year.”
The Christmas Colors: Create a Winter Wonderland
With everyone craving a healthy dose of holiday nostalgia, it’s no wonder we’re all welcoming the trend of a traditional color scheme. But while a nod to the past may call to mind the expected red and green, both Meichtry and Gill prefer to create a winter wonderland instead. Opting for a white, gold, and silver palette is an easy and cohesive way to introduce the natural materials that are also everywhere this year. “I like to use natural oak, porcelain, a small amount of gold and brass, plus a lot of greenery,” says Meichtry.
Gill supports bringing this trend to every part of your home. “Go for white lights, bold reds, gold, and silver.” She also suggests echoing the aesthetic with ribbons delicately placed throughout the tree plus an elegant tree topper. While you can be strategic with how you incorporate these colors into your décor, this is another instance where perfection is overrated. Take a page out of Gill’s book. “When you select a color scheme, note that although not every ornament has to incorporate the colors you choose, the base of the tree should be lined with the colors you select.” A pro tip from the designer: “Don’t select more than three colors to feature. This will create a decorated look for photos without looking too perfect and staged.”
The Wreaths and Flowers: Keep It Evergreen
If Camille’s front door is any indication, we’re all in agreement that wreaths and greenery should have a special place outside the home. Meichtry is all for making this happen through dried flowers—a low-maintenance, all-seasons way to infuse your space with a little life. “I also love this pine wreath with tiny pinecones,” she adds. For a little surprise and delight, Gill brings her wreaths indoors. “Display them over an antique mirror or bar for an extra pop of holiday cheer.” We’ll be doing exactly that.
The Lighting: Keep It Minimal But Cozy
Last but certainly not least on our list of this year’s holiday trends, the lighting. There’s little that’s more romantic or charming than catching sight of a few starry lights through your neighborhood’s windows or basking in the glow of a well-lit tree. Gill is all about the lighting as well. She has a few tips to remember when you’re adding lights to your tree. “Make sure to apply two layers of lights. First, you will want to go around the tree, from bottom to top, pushing the lights into the center of the branches, close to where the branches attach. You then want to do a second stringing of lights on the branches closer to where you will be hanging the ornaments.”
Want to add a little glow elsewhere? Meichtry loves adding candles to her space. “I always include a lot of candles in my styling and I ramp it up over the holidays.” Similar to how you approach the tree, with candles, it’s all about creating interest through a range of heights and materials. “Layer in height variation by using candlesticks like these large brass ones.” Instant Christmas coziness awaits.
Which trends will you be decking the halls with?
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