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The Most Colourful Time of the Year

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The Most Colourful Time of the Year

Holiday decorating allows you to unleash a vibrant colour scheme, in tune with the festive season

Photography By Gillian Jackson

Holidays are meant to be festive and colourful, and I’m here to tell you there are no rules about which colours you use to decorate your home. If someone even mentions a “don’t,” I’m very quick to tell them to MYOB (meaning Mind Your Own Business). Let’s just have fun, throw political correctness and matchy-matchy out the front door and celebrate the season with colour!

A statement chandelier plays nicely with blue, silver and chartreuse tree and mantel decor

It may be just me, but I love going into my friend’s and client’s homes during the holiday season, just to see how they’ve decorated. Do they follow through with an already existing colour story? Or do they make a bold statement with vivid hues that don’t speak to anything else? Sometimes elegant and understated is the way to go, but you can find ornaments in almost every colour today, so it’s just a matter of getting creative with the placement.

One client, who during the holidays has been known to put a tree in Every. Single. Room., loves decorating, and the holidays give her an excuse to go over the top! You may not want to consider installing a real pine tree in your powder room, as she has done more than once, but think about it…there are benefits, especially when it comes to that lovely, pine scent.

But let’s get back to colour.


Imagine owning a house with a 14-foot-high basement. There’s no question whether a tree will fit, it’s a matter of how tall a tree you can find. If it’s the kids’ retreat during the holidays, the decor can be colourful, youthful and fun. The room is dominated by a beautiful field-stone fireplace and bold berry-red furnishings, so my client added pops of red, pink, fuchsia, and purple. It looks just right with rustic, natural decor.

Pink, red, purple and fuchsia ornaments and decorations work when you let one of those colours dominate. Here it’s the berry red that draws your eye through the design.


Silver and blue are classic, go-together colours during the holidays. Adding hints of chartreuse to the mix tames the blue and silver ever so slightly, but what a great combination. By repeating the colours together throughout a space, you give the eye a treat as it looks around the space. But don’t overdo it; it doesn’t have to be too theme-y. Let whatever blues you love mix with the other colours to add depth and interest.

Candles and natural greenery are more than enough to make your dinner table beautiful!


Don’t skimp on the shine. Glittery fabrics, candle light, warm LED bulbs in the tree and a roaring fire. They all spin their magic to make your room come alive. Try to add light in special places, like lanterns on the floor with candles. It adds interest in the corners and can also help light a path from room to room in the evenings.

Candles lit on the table and surrounding it bathe your holiday decor in a warm glow.


Taking your holiday decor colour scheme in a direction dictated by the furnishings is a sure winner. But if your home has a neutral palette, you can go in whatever direction you like. I personally have used a black and golden-orange colour scheme in previous years because I love the way the colours look together. It’s not as Halloween-y as it sounds. It has a slight gothic vibe but still reads festive and cheerful.

Orange and black may sound garish but I loved my gothic Christmas tree!

So where do you start and stop? That’s up to you. No rules. Except don’t ignore your holiday dinner table, it needs colour, too, but just subtle hints of it. Here, the people around the table and the food must take centre stage. Use a sideboard or bar cart to create a holiday wonderland, perhaps surrounding a dessert buffet, but go easy on the table decor. Candle light and dimmable lighting is the only complement you need with happy guests.

Mirrored, white and silver ornaments help temper the black and orange-gold colour scheme.

It’s that one time a year you can (almost) go over the top but look at it as a way to bring fun, beauty and warmth to your home.


  • Don’t be afraid to mix analogous colours (variations of the same hue like burgundy and pink) whether it’s in an ombré throw or a shiny ornament, it will look fun and fabulous!
  • If you have a tradition of colours you use every year and you love it, don’t change it. Just add another colour into the mix to keep your holiday decor fresh.
  • The sparkle of a chandelier feels special all year long but adding the holiday glitz and glamour makes your whole room downright shimmer.
  • Warm LED lighting gives you that soft, warm glow. Try to avoid cold, fluorescent-like lighting. You’re not at the office, you’re at home for the holidays.
  • The only rule about adding colour to your holiday decor is just ADD IT!

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com


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