Madeline Harper Photography
It’s official. The knitted sweaters are on, the peppermint candles are out, and the Christmas tree is up—the holidays have arrived. But there’s nothing that brings the joy of the season front of mind quite like a fabulously decorated living room. Not only is it the go-to location for your Christmas tree, it’s also the backdrop for intimate gatherings, the setting for fun gift exchanges, and the coziest place to relax with your family each evening. “Your living room plays an important role around the holiday time,” says expert holiday decorator Heather Lundervold of Elves to the Rescue. “Dressed up with a beautifully decorated tree, festive colors, shiny baubles, and the smell of fresh pine garland, your guests will feel cozy and warm snuggled up by the crackling fire this holiday season.”
Lundervold enjoys choosing a new theme for her clients each year. “Whether it’s a snowcapped winter wonderland with white, silver, and icicles; a traditional classic Christmas in plaids, reds, and green; or a whimsical gingerbread-and-candy theme—whichever you choose your guests will be wowed by your festive decor, and you’ll keep them guessing and feeling the holiday cheer every year.” To help you celebrate the holidays in style, we’ve gathered 36 fashionably festive living room decor ideas—from marvelous mantels to cheerful cocktail tables and everything in between—that are sure to keep your space merry and bright.
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Who says robin’s-egg blue is only fit for springtime decor? Take a cue from Mary Ellen Becker’s charming living room mantel arrangement and get creative with the greenery available to you. “Look closely at the most striking Christmas displays and you’ll often find simple, organic elements used en masse to create a grand statement,” says Ellen Becker. “Look in your fridge for the oranges, the pears. Check your backyard for an evergreen and snip a few branches.”
For this arrangement Ellen Becker used fresh fruit, flowers from her local grocery store, fresh cedar from the nursery, and boxwood boughs from her own backyard. She mixed in vintage finds and a few store-bought ornaments to bring texture and sparkle. And finally, a nice layered bow can tie in a bold accent color. “I added bows made of Schumacher fabric, happily left over from a reupholstery project earlier in the year,” Ellen Becker adds.
Leave it to Josh Yöung to transform his sophisticated living room into a wistful holiday wonderland. Here, the vintage ornaments prove that traditional holiday color schemes can be added across a lifetime. “I’ve been collecting vintage ornaments for many, many years,” Yöung says. “I love the nostalgic quality that they add to our tree, and the actual process of collecting and finding them is so much fun.”
Modern Day Moguls’ Michelle Robinson is here to remind us that there are many colors in the crayon box and the holidays can be fun-loving and traditional. “As someone who prefers a more minimalist style year-round, I allow myself to be a bit more adventurous during holidays,” Robinson says. “I love to play up colors and incorporate nontraditional elements like pinks and oranges to put my own spin on things.”
Hone in on those earthy textures while incorporating touches of metallic accents for a pastoral twist that is minimalist, stripped-down, and peaceful—while still feeling contemporary. In Nadine Stay’s Kinfolk-esque home, gold continues in the tray rim, brass candlesticks, and delicate frame. “I love to bring out my warm golden accents during the holiday season,” she says. “Pair that with mountain scene artwork and a vase with greenery, because nothing says ‘holiday’ better than a bundle of evergreen stems.”
Draw on the past in the same vein as Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle’s London Fields townhouse. The duo behind House of Hackney likes to go minimal on the Christmas decorations, in favor of the year-long flamboyant maximalism that makes this living room so wonderfully exuberant. Here, festivities center around the midsized tree. which plays well with the dark wood and green wallpaper accents. The brand’s signature pillows make a fun tree “skirt.”
Suburban Pop’s Jenny James approaches holiday decor the same way she approaches everyday design: “Keep it minimal, keep it colorful, and bring on the vintage!” she says. “Bold color feels festive, but to keep it from overwhelming a room I go for pops of punchy color and stick to a tight color scheme that works with my existing spaces (usually heavy on the orange no matter the holiday!).”
Her simply decorated vintage aluminum tree adds instant sparkle and retro cheer to the room without adding visual clutter. “That’s important to me during the hectic holiday season,” she adds.
These adorable little ceramic trees—an ongoing collection of PBQfortwo’s Ariel Garneau—are the stuff of vintage dreams. Not only are they uniquely festive, but they’re a master class in tailoring your holiday decor for your current design style. But also they’re just so cute.
Have you opted for a neutral living room with metallic accents? Take notes from the traditional living room of Fashionable Hostess’s Amanda Saiontz Gluck and amp up your existing neutral scheme with a shiny assemblage of gold ornaments and decor. “Talk about Holiday decor that really sparkles!!” says Saiontz Gluck. “This gold tinsel tree (from Martha Stewart collection) decorated in gold and metallic ornaments is such a gorgeous way to greet guests in our foyer.” Hot tip: Come holiday time, trade in the cocktail table art books for a bunch of miniature Christmas trees and textured figurines for added visual intrigue.
Kris Kringle Gets Groovy
Holiday decorating should reflect your personal taste, preferred color palette, and locale, says Kelly Golightly. “For me that’s Palm Springs: poppy cheerful and bright pastels that mimic the iconic Palm Springs doors (pink! aqua! yellow! green!) and sparkle— always sparkle,” she insists. “Because nothing says Palm Springs holidays like pink nutcrackers, peacock chairs, and gold disco balls!”
Sometimes less is more, like this Andrew Howard–designed Low Country home. This magnolia, kumquat, and pine cone garland on the mantle offers subtle yet festive pops that contrast tastefully against the otherwise monochrome room—and can last well into the new year.
Draw inspiration from the Identité Collective’s Anastasia Casey and go for a more unexpected interpretation of a holiday color palette. “Over the past year or two, I’ve noticed shades of dusty purple taking over the interior design scene, and I knew it would translate beautifully into our holiday decorating,” Casey says. “From velvet ribbons to pillow covers to a cozy throw blanket styled over our sofa, I chose to incorporate moments of muted mauve and berry while also adding balance with natural elements like fresh greenery, dried citrus slices, and lots of earth tones.” Our favorite detail? The brass sets of bells and lanterns, which offset the muted purple perfectly.
Few things are more fun than a dedicated design theme—and Bethany Adams’s latest decor project is a standout example. The statement starburst light fixture is echoed throughout the room with the illuminated stars on the mantel and even the subtle star motifs on the pillowcase. “When decorating for the holidays, I like to play off the permanent elements of the room—in this case the fabulous starburst light fixture, burgundy silk draperies, and brass accents,” Adams says. “Repeating colors, textures, and motifs keeps the festive decor from feeling too over the top.”
Ken Fulk’s cozy Montana guesthouse is proof that there can never be too much garland. While you might not have a two-story open ceiling or be surrounded by evergreen trees, a basket filled with real branches and fresh pine cones brings the charm of winter woods indoors.
Two Is Better Than One
Of course, all eyes will be on your tree for Christmas, but bringing attention to your windows with a simple hanging wreath can create added dimension. Consider repetition an easy, low-maintenance way to make a statement. In this living room from Havenly, the dual wreaths complement the matching cocktail and side tables.
Who knew taking backstage would really put you in the limelight? In this white dream of a living room in Washington, D.C., Josh Yöung placed a grand tree in a window-lined alcove behind a fluffy white sofa. While it commands the living room, it also draws attention from passersby who can’t resist taking pictures of the outside of his redbrick home, where the tree is visible through the double-paned window. Macy’s, step aside. There’s a new window display in town.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to cover your home in snowflakes and mini Santas for it to feel festive. Havenly strikes a balance between stylish and seasonal with a mix of buffalo plaid and Fair Isle patterns.
Another grand idea from: Josh Yöung. The artist and designer isn’t afraid to go beyond the red-and-green color scheme with orange ornamentation that complements the green hues and brightens up traditional metallic tones. An animal print accessory always adds a touch of on-trend texture. Rawr.
Interior designer Gillian Segal made a statement by dressing up her fireplace to give Santa a warm welcome. While the larger-than-life assortment commands plenty of attention, its cool, neutral palette keeps it from feeling over-the-top.
Remember that decorating for the holidays does not require sacrificing your design aesthetic. Waterleaf Interiors’s Jill Johnson gave this living room a coastal edge by adorning the bar nook with garland and a silver wreath.
Accessorize With Ornaments
According to Bunny Williams, ornaments don’t have to be confined to your Christmas tree. The interior designer gave her living room some extra holiday cheer by strategically placing these festive baubles along her mantel.
You don’t need to cover your entire living space in decorations. The strategically placed garland in this shot from Serena & Lily draws the eye upward and offers just the right touch of holiday magic.
Want to bring the winter wonderland indoors? Take a cue from Havenly and add natural elements to your tree like pinecones and snow dust. This is one setup that deserves Mother Nature’s seal of approval.
Why settle for just green and red when you can use every color of the rainbow? Jennifer Griffin of Dimples and Tangles exudes a bold sense of style with a bunch of vibrant hues. From the the bright miniature Christmas trees to the Technicolor garland, this setup proves there’s no such thing as too much color.
Or if you prefer to make a statement with one color, try cooler blues. As this room from Monika Hibbs proves, a touch of teal can be a refreshing alternative to the traditional Christmas palette.
As this living room from Chatfield Court proves, there’s more to Christmas decor than dressing up your mantel. Here, blogger Kristi Haight adorned each window with a lush wreath. The result? Christmas decorations that are elegant and unexpected.
Small personal touches have the power to transform an entire room. The Heath Ceramics decorations in this vignette are sophisticated and add plenty of personality.
This living room is grounded in timeless neutrals, which are perfect for layering Christmas decor. From hurricanes that are filled with silver ornaments and topped with white floral arrangements to the mantel that’s dressed in stockings and white garland, there’s so much to love about this festive living room. Design by Mel Bean Interiors and architecture by Bailey Austin Design.
Symmetry is a go-to decorating trick for top designers. Make this design principle work for you this holiday season by dressing your windows up with a trio of an eye-catching wreath design.
Spending time with family and friends by the fireplace is what the holidays are all about. Since all eyes will be on it for Christmas, dress up your mantel with everything from garland to red candlesticks. Just don’t forget to incorporate some of your favorite accessories as well. In this living room, a clock and a glass hurricane add charm to the mantel.
The combination of a large wreath and lush garland add visual interest to these living room windows.
Whether you lack the weather for a white Christmas or simply love that summer look, there are ways to achieve a sunshine-inspired room that is also festive. The grassy green wreaths, bare garland, and white candle holders in this room are Christmas-appropriate with summery undertones.
This living room features sultry red accents that embrace a holiday palette while exuding a romantic vibe. This holiday, try a Christmas color scheme with non-traditional decor, like warm throw pillows and red roses.
Your home may lack a mantel, but that shouldn’t mean stockings are a no-go this year. This modern living room features Christmas stockings hung from hooks, which not only solves a common holiday crisis, but also serves as cute wall decor.
The holidays are the perfect excuse to make use of vintage furniture that’s been tucked away in your attic. An antique rocking chair reminds us of the nights we stayed up listening to Christmas stories, cozied up by the fire with a mug of hot cocoa.
To maintain the simplicity of a minimalist home, opting for simple, geometric decor is a no-brainer. The white metal tree, graphic pillows, and triangular table accents are understatedly festive.
This bright and airy living room is made festive with complementary holiday decor, including white pillar candles, simple metallic ornaments, and earthy wrapped presents.
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