Holiday Magical Colors


Bring the colors of the season into your home.

By Tammy Adamson-McMullen

The holidays are a delight to all of the senses. The smell of pies baking in the oven, the sound of logs crackling on the fire, the taste of turkey and dressing, the feel of woolen mittens, and the bright hues of autumn leaves are just some of the stimulants to our senses at this wonderful time of year.

Of course, the holidays are over almost as quickly as they start. One way to capture them for a longer period of time is to decorate in seasonal colors. This can be done temporarily with additions to your existing décor or, if seasonal colors appeal to your sense of style, on a more permanent basis. Here are suggestions for achieving both.

Temporary Seasonal Colors

It’s fairly easy to add temporary seasonal colors decorations to your mix. Mother Nature does this indiscriminately by dropping leaves of red, orange and gold into our surroundings in the autumn and white flakes of snow in the winter. Follow her example by layering colorful holiday linens, pillows, floral arrangements and decorative accessories on top of your existing decor—but choose your colors with care. And tuck away some of your day-to-day things until after the holidays if the look is too cluttered.

Try to add holiday colors that are companionable with the rest of your home. If your home scheme has warm colors, then choose equally warm colors for your holiday décor, like yellow-based reds, cozy browns and olive greens. If your colors are cool, then choose equally cool colors, such as blues, purples and icy whites. If possible, also make sure the colors have a similar intensity. Holiday colors can go a bit deeper or lighter than your existing scheme, but making them too bright or too pale can detract from the flow of your home.

Finally, be sure to continue the color flow you establish from one room to the next. For example, don’t decorate with cool blues in one room and warm reds in the next. If you see that one room is “heavier” in one color than another, move a decoration or two to balance them.

Many Colors to Choose From!

The good news in 2018 is that seasonal colors are no longer cut and dried. If pumpkin orange looks “off,” never fear. This Thanksgiving you’ll also find faux gourds and other fall decorations in aubergine, white, cream and sage, with linens to match. Black also is en vogue, often used to accent other colors but at times even standing on its own.

Similarly, if traditional Christmas colors are too garish in your décor, you have options here, too, as red and green are being redefined as cabernet and light sage, peach and olive, and raspberry and lime. Also popular is to pair a traditional color with another in the same family—green with turquoise, for example—or with a neutral like white or gray.

As for Hanukkah, the standard colors of clean blue and white have evolved as well. Both colors have become more complex, with gray- and purple-tinged blues, such as periwinkle and heather, paired with a wide range of neutrals, from cream and gray-tinted whites to putty and tan.

Also popular are white-on-white decorations, which work for all of the holidays and with virtually any décor. A white-on-white scheme is not only festive but also sophisticated—especially when accented with gold or silver. Regardless, don’t forget the bling. Layer your holiday settings with metallic-threaded linens, crystal garlands, glitter-frosted florals, mirrored trays and other reflective objects. It’s time to celebrate!

Permanent Seasonal Colors

If you’re one of the people who look forward to the holidays all year long, maybe you should consider a permanent color scheme that recalls this time of year. It just so happens that many of the trending color schemes fit neatly into the November/December holidays. Below are some holiday-inspired schemes—all of them currently “hot” in home décor:

  • Pale, tinted greens (such as eucalyptus) with peach on the light side and persimmon on the darker side. When green is painted on the walls, it pairs well with a darker green ceiling and white trim.
  • Dark mustard yellow, aubergine and creamy white. The colors here are warm and relaxing but can be enlivened with warm metallic accents.
  • Deep ocean blue, cream and white. The blue in this scheme can lean toward blue or green, but in either case it’s touched by gray. (Chag Urim Sameach!)
  • Barely-there purple and icy white. This combination complements a wintery day but also looks cool and refreshing on a hot one. Accent this combination with silver.
  • Warm red, khaki and white. Perfect for any room in the house, this scheme looks plucked from a fall day and pairs well with many secondary colors.

While these schemes seem perfect for fall and winter, they are beautiful all year long—especially when layered with the right accoutrements. Watch for other season-inspired trends as we move into 2019, as many color experts are pointing to deeper hues (like the leaf colors this fall) and frostier ones (like you’ll see in the months to come).

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