Christmas kitchen decorating ideas - 7 ways to give the heart of your home a festive makeover

There is nothing more warming than Christmas kitchen decorating ideas, from foliage to lights to the scent of spice

Christmas kitchen decorating ideas Modern kitchen with Christmas decorations by Kitchen Makers
Design by Kitchen Makers
(Image credit: Kitchen Makers)

Christmas kitchen decorating ideas add festive cheer to the heart of the home.  And there are some ultra-chic and cozy Christmas kitchen decorating ideas that wafts of gingerbread and cinnamon emanating from the space.

'Decorating your kitchen at Christmas can be as simple or elaborate as you like,' says  Lucy St George, Co-founder of Rockett St George. 'Fairy lights are a great place to start as this twinkling glow of light will instantly bring a hint of festive cheer to darker afternoons and evenings spent cooking or entertaining in the kitchen. 

When it comes to Christmas decor ideas, you can be as playful as you like in this space. 'Garlands are great for more maximalist approach where you can introduce festive foliage and colorful baubles for an extra touch of glamor.'

Christmas kitchen decorating ideas for a welcoming festive scene 

'As the heart of the home, the kitchen will be filled with family, food and festivities over the coming months, particularly for those with open plan schemes,' says Emily Dunstan, Home Buyer at Heal’s. 'Hang a garland round a kitchen island and fill glass vases with baubles, fir branches and pinecones to bring natural texture into the scene.Finish with a scented candle, and look for notes of cinnamon, clove and orange to fill the room for a wintery warmth before you’ve even started cooking.'

Just like Christmas hallway ideas, anything you do to the kitchen feels unexpected - a bonus - as so many people don't bother, focussing on other areas of the home. Which means a little bit of thought goes a long way. 

1. Place a mini Christmas tree on the worktop

dark kitchen with Christmas tree and garland by Kitchen Makers

(Image credit: Kitchen Makers)

If the latest Christmas tree trends have taught us anything, it's that trees are no longer just for the living room.  Your kitchen deserves as much festive love as the lounging areas.

'No matter what your intentions are for hosting the perfect party, guests always end up milling around the kitchen,' says Ben Burbidge, Managing Director at Kitchen Makers. 'The delicious smells and the sound of cooking is almost hypnotic. We spend so much time decorating the rest of our homes at Christmas that your kitchen can feel, comparatively, a little unloved.'

Ben says that editing is key, as the room still needs to remain functional. 'Embellish the surfaces with a handful of carefully chosen decorations or artfully arrange sprigs of seasonal foliage to really lift the space,' he says. 'And, if you want to create a really cozy vibe, place a small Christmas tree on your kitchen worktop for extra wow factor.'

2. Channel a chic Scandi theme

Scandi style Christmas kitchen decorating by Maisons du Monde

(Image credit: Maisons du Monde)

'Scandinavian design is clean and minimalistic but it doesn't scrimp on style,' says Geraldine Florin, style director at Maisons du Monde. 'If you opt for a Scandi-style Christmas kitchen, the key tones to consider are white, light shades of wood, grey, and blue. To ensure this look remains warm, I recommend adding lots of fairy lights and candles that help to make the atmosphere cosy with warm light.'

The trick is to layer up. 'Adding textures such as faux fur rugs or linen napkins will make your kitchen a perfectly welcoming place for Christmas dinner,' Geraldine sahys. 'When it comes to Christmas table decor ideas, dried flowers are perfect for a Scandi-style feel - choose light, neutral tones and for crockery opt for white or white with specs of colour in grey or blue tones.'

The finishing touches can also make a difference. 'Add a napkin in blue, grey or hessian to bring some color,' Geraldine continues. 'For the finishing touch, place transparent Christmas baubles or wooden Christmas ornaments at the centre of the table.'

A mini pared-back wooden tree and string of festoon lights across the ceiling finish the look perfectly.

3. Give your open shelving a festive makeover

Christmas kitchen decorating ideas open shelving by Neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)

Open shelves are perfect for showcasing your beautiful ceramics and pots and, when it comes to Christmas time, they're equally ideal for adding a festive display.

You can add some Christmas flower arrangement ideas like garlands around your crockery and vases, and intersperse the greenery with candles, ornaments or fairy lights.

Ailie Williams, Stylist at Neptune, says: 'If you want to include some additional decoration in the kitchen, you could hang some foliage or mistletoe with long trailing ribbons from cabinet handles, or even hang some decorations with ribbon over the top of the cabinet doors.'

Emily Dunstan, Home Buyer at Heal’s, comments: 'Where space is a premium, it’s easy to introduce a touch of seasonal sparkle through the simple addition of fairy lights, strewn through shelving, hung round the windowsill or fixed to the top of cabinets – this will immediately create an atmospheric, festive feel.'

And Lucy St George, Co-founder of Rockett St George, adds: 'One of the simplest additions that can transform your kitchen space for Christmas is the use of decorations as styling ornaments. 

'Perfect for open shelves, choose your favorite decorations and display these amongst candles, cookbooks and other kitchen essentials to create a seasonal style spot that will make you smile.'

4. Hang decorations from the ceiling

Christmas kitchen decorating ideas with stars suspended from the ceiling

(Image credit: James Merrell)

If you have space for a kitchen table, suspending Christmas decorations above it is a unique way to add a festive ambiance to the room.

Paper honeycombs and stars are an on-trend look, but you can also go all-out with added Christmas candle ideas and sparkly and colorful baubles. Using brass hooks is a simple way to do it, but another option is to hang decorations from a branch suspended above the table. 

Claire Hornby, Head of Creative at Barker and Stonehouse, suggests: 'Why not string a centerpiece above the kitchen dining space, leaving more room for food, drinks, and party games? Hanging fresh greenery and twigs accented with glittery baubles and twine will offer a natural twist.'

5. Decorate your kitchen island stools

Christmas kitchen decorating ideas White kitchen with Christmas decorations and garlands

(Image credit: Home Bunch)

If you have chairs or stools in your kitchen, adding simple decoration to the back of them will give your room a festive makeover and makes a lovely kitchen island idea.

'Foliage, ribbons or miniature wreaths are a great option for a sophisticated and stylish look,' says Lizzie Beesley, Head of Design at Magnet.

We love the chic look by Home Bunch above, where sprigs of fir have been enhanced with pretty bows for a subtle nod to the holiday season. The pared-back garland and mini Christmas tree ornaments on the shelving are also a stylish addition for Christmas

6. Stay minimal for an elegant party feel

Christmas kitchen decorating ideas minimal table plaster walls

(Image credit: Future)

Minimalism in interior design has changed over the past few years - it's now about selection of a few key pieces rather than having nothing at all.  Which fits in perfectly with Christmas kitchen decorating ideas as it means you can still use the space, unhampered by piles of ornaments, and instead just add a little festive touch.

"I like to add a nod to Christmas in my kitchen," says Livingetc editor Pip Rich. "While keeping it clear so I can still cook up a feast. This means a display of tall and sprawling foliage that is held together neatly in a jug or vase, a couple of candles, and that's about it. It's amazing how festive this bare display can feel - especially when coupled with the scents emanating from the oven."

7. Suspend bunched foliage for a natural look

Christmas kitchen decorating ideas with hanging foliage and candles by British Standard by Plain English

(Image credit: British Standard by Plain English)

Hand-tied foliage is always aesthetically pleasing, and is a wonderful way of bringing an organic, natural touch of Christmas to your kitchen.

You can hang them anywhere for a festive touch, including from a curtain pole for a lovely Christmas window decor idea , cabinet handles or wooden ceiling beams.

Rustic Christmas kitchen decorating ideas by deVOL

(Image credit: deVOL)

Can you really go wrong with a simple sprig of mistletoe? It does everything you need - Christmas kitchen decorating ideas at its simplest and finest. 

What is the Christmas color for 2021?

Christmas kitchen shelving decorations by Neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)

Traditional red and green: 'The traditional red and green will always be a favorite for Christmas,' says Ailie Williams, Stylist at Neptune.  'Use wreaths propped up on shelves or on hung in windows, and garlands draped on windows or cabinets to add greenery, while berries are always a lovely natural way to introduce red.'

Bright green and pink Christmas decorating ideas by Annie Sloan

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

All things bright and beautiful: 'Traditional colors are of course red and green, but if you want to do something a little different choose a green that isn't too dark, for a lovely, fresh Christmas scheme,' suggests Annie Sloan, Color and Paint Expert.

'The Inspiration behind our Schinkel Green (pictured above) is the Neoclassical Architect and Interior Designer, Karl Friedrich Schinkel. He was a Neoclassical, Neogothic designer, who used lots of strong colors. One of which was this show-stopping, vibrant green. It pairs well with gold, black and white because it’s such a strong, lively colour. It’s best not to over complicate schemes with this shade and let it take center stage. It also works well with popping pinks, for a brilliantly Instagrammable, Wes Anderson-esque, grand millennial set piece of space.'

Christmas kitchen decor with gold accessories by Annie Sloan

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Go for gold: 'For us it has to be gold,' says Lucy St George, Co-founder of Rockett St George. 'Combining glamor with instant warmth, Christmas decorations, tea lights and table accessories in gold reflect the natural light in the kitchen to create a gorgeous, inviting glow. 

'Gold also works well with both traditional and modern styles so is the perfect choice when pairing older decorations you have had for years, with any new additions that have caught your eye. 

'Whether used on the table or as an accent with gold garlands or decorations dotted around the room, opting for a golden color palette helps to create a cozy atmosphere for enjoying time in the kitchen with your favorite people over the festive season.'

How do you put ribbon on Christmas cabinets?

If you have cabinets or sideboards in your kitchen that you’d like to make look festive, using ribbon is a lovely trick.

Geraldine Florin, artistic director at Maisons du Monde, says: 'Take your ribbon and start by hanging it vertically in the middle of the doors. You can stick the ribbon on the inside of the door using Blu-Tac or double-sided tape without worrying about leaving marks. 

'Thread the ribbon around the door so that you have a clean, vertical line of ribbon securely in place. 

'You then have some different options on how to finish the decoration. Firstly you can repeat this process with a horizontal ribbon, so that your door looks like a present that has been wrapped, fixing the ribbon on the inside again. 

'Otherwise, you can tie a bow onto your vertical ribbon or even pin ready-made bows or Christmas characters to your ribbon for a pretty finish.'

How do you hang a garland on a kitchen island?

'If you have a kitchen island and you want to make it look festive, a garland can be just the thing,' says Geraldine Florin. 'You’ll likely need more than one garland for this look and to make sure the decoration looks full with no gaps in the décor. 

'Measure your kitchen island and ensure you have around three times the length, ideally in multiple garlands as opposed to one long piece. To fix them in place, you can use over the door hooks if your kitchen island has doors or you can use transparent hooks or even suction cup hooks so they leave no mark. 

'Depending on the weight of your garland and the size of your kitchen island, you may need a fair few hooks. Hang the hooks equal width apart around the entire island, then begin hanging your first garland, threading it through the hooks. If you have slightly bare parts or gaps in the garland, use shorter pieces to fill in these gaps and make it look as full as possible. 

'Keep layering until you are satisfied with how full the garlands are and that they are distributed equally around the island. Make sure that your garlands are thick so that they look substantial hanging from your kitchen island; you could always bolster them with small fairy lights, or you could plant small pine cones within the greenery for extra texture and depth.'

Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.