Photo Gallery: Christmas Decorating Ideas
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Designer Timothy Johnson went with inky walls, drapes and carpeting in this showstopping second-floor den, which allow the room’s bright accents to shine. Lemon-yellow ikat chairs, a chartreuse leather sofa, jewel-tone gifts and a sleek white mantel pop against the dark envelope, while a simple evergreen wreath is a subtle hit of holiday cheer.
An elegant, understated front hall is a visitor’s first glimpse into this traditional yet contemporary three-storey Victorian. Designer Timothy Johnson transformed two vintage mirror-top tables into slipper stools, lacquering the legs in a pale grey and updating the upholstery with white leather, a mod counterpoint to the space’s classic mouldings. Gifts wrapped in glam paper add a hit of rich colour, while chinoiserie urns picked up for a song in Chinatown brighten the bay window.
A playful mix of ribbon — graphic black-and-white stripe, sheer polka dot and classic velvety red — give plain paper a serious dose of fun, perfect for a young family’s Christmas tree.
Instead of going for an overly coordinated tree, mix and match new and vintage decorations in a variety of shapes, sizes and saturated hues to achieve a playful feel — the more colour, the merrier! Use a graphic patterned giftwrap — here, it’s stripes and polka dots — to amp up the drama of the tree.
Christmas is the most colourful time of year, so why limit yourself to red and green? A pink and blue palette is equally festive. Drape a pale blue throw over a chair or stash utilitarian items in decorative pastel baskets and bags.
This very high mantle has an imposing, theatrical quality that adds dimension to the room. The casual holiday decor is a great example of less-is-more.
Designer Darci Ilich, co-owner of Vancouver home store The Cross, filled her pretty white living room with metallic accessories for a seriously luxe look. Glossy blue ornaments add a pop of wintry colour on her flocked Christmas tree and miniature tabletop firs.
Two substantial lamps sit on either side of a hefty mirror, making a grand first impression upon entering this house. A pint-size artificial tree is a playful decorative touch for the holidays that doesn’t require too much upkeep.
Stationery designer and blogger Debra Norton of Vintage Paper Parade collaborated with style expert Matthew Mead to create a Scandinavian-inspired holiday for Mead'
Red and gold are Christmas classics that can easily be kicked up a notch with a frosty blue accent. Keep the look elegant with silk ribbons and simple knotted bows.
Designer Nicola Marc opted for understated, monochromatic holiday decor in her Montreal apartment. She adorned her refurbished antique armoire with a homemade gold paper chain and added a bowl of spray-painted walnuts and sprigs of greenery. The result is festive but elegant.
The rustic stone wall in this Calgary farmhouse was built to look as though the house had been added to over time. Wrought-iron railings are perfect for holiday garlands.
Using paper to create festive flourishes is a simple and affordable way to decorate for the holidays. This pink and red DIY poinsettia garland was made using a stencil and cardstock, layering three cutouts on top of eachother, securing them in the centre and then gluing them on to craft wire. Weaving a string of white lights through the garland and punching each bulb through a metallic candy cup adds an extra bit of sparkle.
See full instructions and download the poinsettia stencil in our November issue.
Patterned drapes soften the corner of this guest bedroom, where a spool chair and pedestal table create a cosy nook to read or wrap gifts.
Homeowner Bryn Currie scattered her collection of gold, bronze and white ornaments over the tree and cypress garland on the mantel. Mixing white and cream with the natural greenery gives a fresh, elegant look, while the warm metallics add festive sparkle.
Add glitz and glam for the holidays with a constellation of starburst wall ornaments or leave them up year-round for a cool mid-century modern vibe. A bowl of clementines adds colour.
For a fun twist on a traditional centerpiece, suspend giant, lacy paper snowflakes above the dining table using silk ribbon. Both feminine and whimsical, they’ll make dinner time infinitely more festive. If you’re not the crafty type, you can purchase premade versions, like these ones from The Paper Place.
For a fresh take on holiday decorating that’s also budget-friendly, stick to small festive touches. Inject colour with sprigs of greenery on the table and larger evergreen stems on accent tables. Line unscented candle pillars, tapers and tealights throughout.
Homeowner Susan Dyer chose bright, colourful Christmas decorations to compliment the soft, cream and pink colour palette in her living room. Playful polka-dot Christmas stockings by Japanese artist Midori are hung along the mantel and jewel tone presents are scattered at the base of the tree. Quaint vintage-inspired objects along the mantel, like the minature house, lend charm and character.
Nestled between the two glass-fronted cabinets, a store-bought gingerbread house adds a sense of whimsy to this inviting breakfast room. Glass-fronted cupboards work with the coffered ceiling to ground the elegant round table.
Use inexpensive glass domes in a variety of sizes and place festive objects like bottlebrush trees, vintage ornaments or special cards underneath. A garland of dried eucalyptus cleverly conceals mismatched bases. Grouped together on a mantel or table, they lend an understated holiday note.
Keep flowers on the table below eye level to ensure guests can make eye contact during dinner. Classic crystal stemware and an understated arrangement of greenery and white amaryllis add polish. Top each plate with a gold Christmas cracker for dinner party fun.
Interior designer Sophie Burke chose nature-inspired and textural white ornaments with a vintage appeal for this family living room. Presents wrapped in simple white or kraft paper and tied with red ribbon decorate the base of the minimalist tree. A white reindeer, green cabbage flowers and votives on the coffee table makes for a simple holiday arrangement.
Gather a few branches in a hand-blown glass vase and hang tiny ornaments from them for a new take on the miniature tree. Using pastels or jewel tones also keeps things looking fresh, but still festive.
The understated living room is punctuated with bright purple and orange pillows where smart shots of the jewel tones are reiterated in the holiday ornaments to bring cheer to a neutral palette. A sparkly tray on the ottoman and a bowl of fresh tangerines emphasize the season.
Most of us tend to overlook the bathroom when decorating for the holidays, but a fragrant pine sprig tucked on a shelf is just the right amount of Christmas for this space. A vintage gold mirror adds warmth and old world charm to the all-white space.
This holiday decor scheme appeals to the child in everyone. Sweet felt animals and ornaments are strung casually along the mantel to create a nostalgic mood. A little white owl and winter berries gathered in a mercury glass vase add to the simple red and white theme.
The weathered texture of salvaged wood provides a nice contrast to all the metallic accents in our home at this time of year. Group the candleholders at staggered heights for warm, festive ambience in any room. Plus, they’re inexpensive and easy to make.
Designer Ingrid Oomen adds warmth to her white bistro-style kitchen during the winter months by hanging natural branches from the ceiling with florist’s wire. She decorates them with an icy metallic palette of blue, white and silver ornaments for a modern, yet earthy look.
The natural brown tones of magnolia leaves dressing up both the mantle and tree are echoed in the leather club chairs. Even with white walls, the room feels welcoming, especially when there’s a roaring fire.
Layering antique furniture with soft shades of lilac, this room is an elegant and upscale take on holiday dining. There’s no ornamentation here; a garland of magnolia leaves decorating the 19th-century Dominican sideboard, potted paperwhites and a single vase of hydrangeas, lilies and berries offers subtle nods to the season.
This log cabin has been the site of many boisterous Christmas gatherings. A casual mix-and-match table setting is adorned with a simple potted evergreen and a few scattered boughs, and illuminated with playful antler candleholders. An antique Nova Scotia table and Windsor chairs offer a sturdy complement to the exposed wooden beams and log walls, while a 1920s French chandelier and stunning silver disc light add a surprising hit of sparkle.
All-white decorations give this pre-lit tree a dreamy quality, bringing a snowy winter wonderland indoors. White-wrapped presents are trimmed with metallic gold and silver ribbon for sparkle. A gilt-framed mirror, candelabra and the glossy dark floor exude luxury and refinement.
A stunning centerpiece of large silver balls and sprigs of evergreen adds holiday cheer to this winter-white formal dining room. Dark glossy floors, warm wood furniture and natural light streaming through the windows offer warmth and sparkle.
A chandelier, overflowing with fresh greenery, is lit with faux candles to give off a soft, warm glow during meals. For a party, dining chairs are pulled away from the table to create an instant buffet. All-white square serving platters offer an orderly presentation and let the food take centre stage.
A wide walnut console in the front window, normally loaded with books, is the perfect place for a four-foot-tall live tree. Elevating the tree enhances its scale in the room. “I used metallic silver, blue and green ornaments (a long-standing family tradition) and white lights,” says Suzanne.
A boxwood garland is a lighter take on a pine or spruce garland, but equally festive. Yellow and gold bird ornaments reference the painted stair runner and add a fun touch. If properly dried and stored, boxwood can last for several seasons before needing replacement.
The 12-foot tree in designer and HGTV host Sarah Richardson’s farmhouse living room was cut down on their property by Sarah’s husband. Loaded with ornaments, both old and new, the tree stands between the dining room and living room, allowing it to be seen from many vantage points. The warm colour scheme of red, orange and cream in the space creates a cosy feeling, perfect for a country home.
Simple Christmas decorations can make a big statement. A large evergreen wreath decorated with burlap tassels adds an organic appeal to this holiday table. White pottery vases filled with silvery dusty miller are lined up down the table to keep with the unfussy, nature inspired theme and don’t get in the way of dinner conversation. Tall pillar candles provide soft lighting, paired with black dishware the look is stylishly modern rustic.
Dressing up a vintage chandelier with simple satin ribbon and silver ornaments creates a dining room that is ready for glamorous holiday parties. Continuing the white and pale blue colour palette into the table settings makes the wintry decor look elegant and well-planned.
This tree’s fluffy branches have been sprayed white to add texture and a snowy effect. Perching it on a wood table makes it even more of a focal point and provides an organic hit that is echoed in the birch logs standing in the corner as decorative display, bringing some wintry nature indoors.
Every room can exude holiday spirit — not just the living or family room — as long as they’re decorated with a light hand. In this bunkie, a caribou hide and vintage Paint By Number artworks allude to the wilderness locale.
Spare ornaments can evoke as much emotion as traditional favourites. In this living room, for example, rag socks hung on a cord offer a simple twist on Christmas stockings. They decorate an antique Pennsylvanian pine cabinet, which hides the TV.
A stunning green garland, dotted with feathery white birds, is wired to the base of the railing so that the top remains free for use. A marble table topped with presents and a vintage candle holder add another festive note without being overly ornamental.
Here, a pink pipe-cleaner tree draped in jewel-toned pearls has the charm of Charlie Brown’s favourite evergreen. A footed pot adorned with mini rosettes gives it a grand foundation. Nearby, a gold-winged angel normally placed atop a tree adds an ethereal element.
Combine a mixture of textured, frosted and shiny Christmas ornaments in the same hue for maximum impact. In this photo, framed angel wings (by Toronto artist/framer Patsy Bell) layer in another whimsical nod to the holidays.
A rustic table, modern chairs and open shelves allow streamlined decorations to really shine. Paper Christmas trees from a dollar store are grouped to enhance the holiday theme.
Bring the outdoors in with glistening white decorations that mimic the snow-covered holiday landscape. Red accents are hot on the 2009 fashion runways, so bring these into your home, as well.
Here, a collection of vintage Christmas cards with sentimental value are on show. Some cards are displayed open so that the message inside can be read.
To make a similar board, paint a vintage frame white, fit it with bulletin board and then use spray adhesive to affix pretty wrapping on top of the cork. After the holidays, the board can be used for mail and shopping lists.
Sparkly blue decorations (some vintage) are augmented with glistening “snowballs” (Styrofoam balls coated in clear glue and rolled in a box of white glitter). A triptych depicting a snowy scene, painted by homeowner and designer Ian McLeod, repeats the scheme.
Here, we used a silver-robed St. Nick and glittering reindeer, then added mini glass balls on branches and a dusting of faux snow to suggest a picturesque snowfall. The all-white scheme lends modern elegance to the traditional decorations.
Tree ornaments play off two panels of blue and gold wallpaper, used to create a feature wall. These decorations, the modern colour scheme, harvest table and refined chairs set the scene for a sparkly, candlelit dinner that will run well into the wee hours.
Table settings are layered on a red velvet and organza runner with accents like red-glass pebbles, beaded napkin rings and oversize faux diamonds to lend sparkle. A long, low centerpiece of bold ruby amaryllis and ilex berries reinforces the holiday palette.
n the spirit of the holiday season, dining chairs sport boxwood wreaths, lilies in ribbon-wrapped vials adorn the overhanging table runner and wired boxwood letters dress the bow window.
Silver dollars in speckled gold-leaf vessels are a simply sophisticated way to set a holiday table. White china and milky, translucent wine glasses keep the table looking natural and glamorous. Chunky glass candlesticks look like delicate ice carvings.
This tree strikes a ritzy note that needs little embellishment, so forgo the classic trimmings and simply string it with twinkling white lights. The look is simple to achieve and drop-dead chic. A Louis Ghost chair by Philippe Starck for Kartell continues the mod aesthetic.
Black lampshades and a miniature juniper tree look particularly striking on a black and gilt console table.
The kitchen nook, defined by traditional cabinetry with a cosy bench and modern Ikea table and chairs, serves as a comfy spot for designer Colleen McGill to wrap Christmas gifts. The ribbon board is a handy display area for holiday cards.
Luxurious silk taffeta drapes balance an off-centre window in designer Colleen McGill’s dining room. An oversize paper lantern and a seagrass rug are simple counterpoints to the room’s more formal elements.
Visit our Christmas & Holiday Guide for more seasonal decorating ideas, DIY projects and recipes.
A French-Canadian chest of drawers is paired with a glamorous beveled mirror in this principal bedroom. Reflection is one of designer Colleen McGill’s favourite tricks for adding elegance and expanding a Victorian house’s skinny proportions.
Elegant striped wrapping paper on the presents add a jaunty, tailored note to an old-world style Christmas tree. A magnolia-leaf garland, decorated with simple white ornaments and pine cones, adorns the mantle.
Lindsay Mens credits her grandmother for her taste for blue. “She had something blue in every room of her house.” The refined silver, off- white and blue palette works beautifully during the holidays and year round.
White walls and grey-blue schoolhouse lights create a modern foil to the original manor-house beams in designer and cookbook author Sophie Conran’s Temple Guiting cookery school. Sculptural white chairs and a stunning teal chest on the far wall add even more character.
Visit our Christmas & Holiday Guide for even more decorating ideas, DIY projects and recipes.
A crystal chandelier and silvery wallpaper are sophisticated counterpoints to Lindsay Mens’ glass dining table and icy blue chairs. Mens used a medium-grey commercial-grade carpet to unify the living and dining room design, and to draw attention from the parquet flooring.
A luxurious white feather boa and jewel-like ornaments on the Christmas tree work with the apartment’s elegant mix of soft whites, cool blues and lots of shine. Collecting Christmas decorations, like the ones inherited from her grandmother, has been a lifelong hobby for designer Lindsay Mens. The generous Ikea shelving system in this living room keeps things organized while offering plenty of space to display family photos, vases and bowls.