By Ruth Doherty
Christmas living room decor ideas are the perfect way to indulge your festive side.
While traditional reds and greens are always timeless and elegant, don’t be afraid to move away from a classic look. Christmas schemes are very personal, and greys and neutrals can work just as well as rich colors, providing the perfect canvas for bold decorations and accessories.
And, if you want to go bold and add a splash of color to your Christmas decor scheme and living room ideas, you've certainly got the green light from interior experts.
Lucy St George, co-founder of Rockett St George, says: 'As a season of festivities, fun and celebration, Christmas provides the perfect opportunity to go all-out with beautiful decorations that extend far beyond the tree. From a decadent fireplace display with festive foliage, to fairy lights and candles strewn around the room, Christmas is a time to unleash your inner maximalist.'
Christmas living room decor ideas
1. Be merry and bright
If color is your thing, don't be afraid to embrace it. Whether it's decorating your tree with brightly colored baubles, or dressing your mantelpiece with vivid-hued pampas grass, be bold and release your inner Christmas artist.
Abi Wilson, Celebrations Buying Manager at Habitat, says: 'Don't be afraid to bring a glamorous tone with jewel shades of emerald, indigo and fuchsia.'
2. Pack your tree with personality
'The main rule for Christmas decorating is to have fun with it,' says Connor Prestwood, interior designer at Dowsing & Reynolds. 'Use your decorations as a tool to express yourself and to create a feeling of warmth and comfort during the Christmas period; ultimately it’s about what themes and ideas make you happy. Don’t follow trends or traditions just because you feel like you have to.'
The effervescent Christmas living room decor in the home of Aerin Lauder above shows how you can create a vibrant scene by bringing your tree to life with eclectic decorations you've collected over the years. And plenty of fairy lights, too.
3. Use foliage to enhance your Christmas tree
It's a truth universally acknowledged that not all Christmas trees are created equal. A beautiful way to bulk up your tree is to add extra foliage.
Louise Wicksteed, design director at Sims Hilditch, says: 'When decorating your Christmas tree in the living room, we often recommend threading additional branches and foliage throughout.
'This not only fills in any sparse patches, but adds interest and contrast to the décor. We like to use eucalyptus branches for the tree in the sitting room at our Cotswold studio. '
4. Indulge in merry mantelscaping
We talk a lot about foliage when it comes to Christmas stair decor ideas, but it can be used to full effect here, too. 'The popular mantelscaping trend offers a great excuse to get experimental with Christmas decorating,' says Abi Wilson.
'Fasten evergreen foliage to the mantel from which you can hang decorations and baubles. Stagger the hanging heights and mix matte and shiny finishes to craft a considered yet eclectic festive look.
'Scarlet and gold designs will complement the greenery to give it a ‘Christmas in the countryside’ feel, or add colored baubles to up the glamor.'
If you're looking for a more natural look, use fresh foliage and flowers to create a beautiful display like the one by Albion Nord above.
The experts at K&H Design, who created the look below, add: 'We love to bring the outside in with fresh cut foliage and flowers from the garden or nearby woods. Loose arrangements made up of autumn leftovers and fallen branches or a garland on the mantelpiece are just as impactful as over-the-top decorations. We prefer to keep it simple, sourcing pine cones, holly, ivy, yew and fir – it smells delicious and still looks beautiful when it dries.'
5. Showcase unique bauble displays
Baubles aren’t just limited to Christmas trees and are a simple way to add more festive touches in the living room and throughout the home.
We love the festive mantelpiece by K&H Design (above), and how they've used the antlers that are already in situ as part of their fireplace ideas to hang pretty baubles and decorations from.
And if you don't have a mantelpiece, don't panic. Habitat's Abi Wilson suggests: 'For a craftsy spin, forage a large branch, or you can even use a length of painted wood, and dress with fairy lights, ribbons and decorations. This can be hung from walls, ceilings or doors for a creative Christmas feature in the home.'
Lucy St George adds: 'Fabulous baubles from your collection can be hung from cabinet door handles or even from table lights and floor lamps. We’ve seen a few of our Gold Palm Tree Floor Lamps adorned with baubles and garlands over the years and it looks amazing.'
And Wayfair's Resident Style Advisor Nadia McCowan Hill says: 'Unique ornaments hung with varying lengths of velvet ribbons make for a quirky eye-catcher.'
6. Bling out your bar cart
A vintage-inspired bar cart is the perfect place to store your favorite beverages and some Christmas nibbles .
But what should you stock on it for visual appeal? Wayfair’s Nadia McCowan Hill says: 'Retro coupe glasses and stemless glasses are ideal to serve not only drinks but also their accompaniments, with their gold rims adding extra sparkle to your Christmas decor.'
It's also a cute yet chic idea to add foliage, a mini Christmas tree, and mini baubles or presents to the display for a truly festive scene.
7. Dress up your dresser
Christmas living room decor ideas shouldn't be solely restricted to the tree; try giving your shelves or dresser a festive feel too for a really curated and cozy scene.
'A great way to bring your living room to life at Christmas is to focus on the style spots you’ve already established,' explains Lucy St George. 'Adding Christmas tree table decorations, paper stars and festive faux foliage amongst your books, vases, plants and personal treasures helps to set the tone for the magic of the season.'
8. Go traditional with a maximalist twist
'There is something oh-so-comforting about a classic red and green color palette and traditional Christmas styling,' says Wayfair's Nadia McCowan Hill. And when better to indulge in maximalism in interior design than at Christmas?
'For a modern take on a vintage favourite, try mixing in contrasting prints such as polka dots, stripes, animal print, florals or gingham. It pays to not have too many tones at play when combining different patterns, so limit yourself to a palette of three or four tones.
Nadia adds: 'A hint of glimmering gold offers the perfect contrast to all things crimson and emerald.'
Mindthegap is known for its maximalist aesthetic, and its Founder and Creative Director Stefan Ormenisan says: 'Christmas is a time to really embrace this warm, inviting and joyful trend. We opt for jubilantly dressed Christmas trees, bold and eclectic patterns, embroidered textiles and layered styling; from fringed table lamps to fabric, tassel trimmed pendant lights, richly adorned cushions, statement furniture and exuberant wallpapers, each working together to bring warmth, joy and a welcoming setting for entertaining and celebrating.
'For those who prefer a more pared back mood, consider adding an abundance of cushions, a rich patterned lampshade and a beautifully decorated tree, which will provide a burst of maximalist style that’s easy to change after the festive season.'
9. Channel a cool Californian vibe
Pair a beautiful white and gold Christmas tree with Californian-style colors and prints for a tranquil, cool Christmas scene.
Design and renovation expert Laura Butler-Madden likes to use soft pastels in her Christmas color palette. She says: 'I love American design and the light and style in Palm Springs.
'When decorating for Christmas, I want to feel that less is more; I create a lovely tree but then use flowers, nature and candles for the rest of the room, often in less traditional Christmas colors, like soft pastels.'
The feathered flamingo lamp and ocean-view print also work to create a cool Californian Christmas feel.
How to decorate a small living room for Christmas
Just because you're small on space doesn't mean you can't go big on style.
'We love to get creative, especially with small spaces,' says Cox & Cox Product and Creative Director Dani Taylor. 'Why not try a smaller table top tree on a sideboard or console table, or add a full pine garland to a mantelpiece or around a mirror – you can wire in your favourite baubles and add lights to create a warm inviting glow.'
Ailie Williams, stylist at Neptune, says: 'If you don’t have a mantelpiece, bringing in a foraged branch and suspending it against the wall in the area you’d usually expect to find a fireplace is a good way to achieve a focal point. You can then wrap around greenery, lights and berries and attach your stockings too.'
Lindye Galloway, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Lindye Galloway Design Studio and Shop, says the size of your tree is important in a small area. 'Be sure to get a tree that is relative to the space that it will be in,' she says. 'If it's too small or too big it won't look right.'
And she suggests to keep it minimal when decorating the tree, adding: 'Get in the mindset of less is more. Using neutral colors when decorating the tree won't draw as much attention to how small the space is.'
And if you're into the natural, elegant look, a small living room is the perfect place to work it.
Louise Wicksteed, of Sims Hilditch explains: 'Christmas décor doesn’t have to be busy. If you have a smaller sitting room to work with, why not opt for simple and elegant Christmas décor? This might include placing branches across a mantelpiece or an eye-catching seasonal centrepiece on the coffee table made up of pinecones and holly.'
Where should I put my Christmas tree in the living room?
'We tend to place a Christmas tree carefully to one side in a sitting room, making sure that it is tastefully and beautifully decorated so as not to compromise its status as an eye-catching seasonal feature,' says Louise Wicksteed of Sims Hilditch. 'This positioning helps to maintain a room’s functionality throughout the festive period.'
Placing your Christmas tree in a window recess is also a popular choice. Habitat's Abi Wilson says: 'For front facing living rooms, in front of the window is best, signalling festive ambiance to the world beyond. For smaller settings, tuck a slimline tree into the corner of the room to ensure you're maximising living space for hosting family and friends.'
And Ailie Williams, stylist at Neptune, says a corner is chic, commenting: 'The tree is always best placed nestled into a corner, and ideally near a window so you get the reflection and glow of twinkly lights, and so you can spread the cheer for passers-by.'
How do you make a living room Christmassy?
'Creating a Christmassy feeling is all about layering light, scents and textures, and creating a soft glow by using candles and fairy lights, and smells such as fresh pine trees intertwined with a heady winter spiced scented candle,' says Ailie Williams, stylist at Neptune. 'In terms of texture it’s all about adding lots of cozy, soft cushions and throws and combining a variety of wintry foliage, like holly or mistletoe, and Christmas decorations.'
The snug festive living room above by Unique Homestays (along with Croft & Cole and Botanical Tales) shows how you can create that coziness.
Lighting, lanterns and candles are all ultra-important for a festive feel. Rohan Blacker, Pooky founder, explains: 'Lighting brings a certain kind of magic when setting the scene for the festivities. To keep things merry and bright, fairy lights are your secret weapon - pinned around window sills, mirrors, doorways, and bookshelves. Such a simple yet effective way to set the tone and fill everyone with the excitement of Christmas. '
'There are plenty of ways you can make your living room Christmassy,' says Dowsing & Reynold's Connor Prestwood. 'Even just putting the Christmas tree itself will add a sense of joy into your space.
'Spread the joy throughout the space by adding garlands and wreaths too. Garlands are fantastic for decorating fireplaces and windows to create festive focal points, and even on picture frames.'
And interior designer Lindye Galloway agrees adding: 'Deck your space in garlands with bells, and create a candle lit environment using lanterns filled with candles.
'Layer your furniture in thick cozy blankets and throw pillows in rich, warm hues and neutral plaids. And hang your family's stockings over a fireplace for that promise of a magical Christmas morning.'
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