Trends > Recoloring The Holidays

Red And Green Get The Heave-Ho For A Change, As Bolder Hues Add A Sophisticated New Twist

This year, traditional red and green are on holiday decorating’s back shelf, replaced by elegant shades of shimmering bronze and copper, exotic mixes of burgundy and purple, mod splashes of hot pink and teal, trendy combinations of iced blue, lime, gold and orange and even black.

No question, Santa’s got a whole new bag of design tricks, says Angelo Surmelis, host of HGTV’s new show “24 Hour Design.” “In the days of neutral palettes and all white walls, the traditional Christmas red and green plaid worked. With the new emphasis on strong color in home design, that’s no longer the case,” says Surmelis, a Los Angeles interior designer. “People still want to dress up their homes at this time of the year, but they want holiday elements that complement their color scheme, not fight with it.”

Retailers have answered the demand with a range of traditional accessories fashioned in non-traditional colors. Trees, wreaths, ornaments, stockings, tableware and accessories are available in surprising hues, accented with new twists on old patterns and designs.

At T.J. Maxx stores, themes include “winter whimsy,” featuring bright colors and bold graphics; “exotic accents,” with opulent fabrics and deep, rich shades; and “elegant entertaining,” which layers crystal and silver onto a backdrop of winter white.

An elegantly slim tabletop tree fashioned of hot-pink ornaments highlights the cover of Pier 1’s Holiday Entertaining catalog, which also features three seasonal motifs, “chic chalet,” with hot pinks, deep reds and silver, polka dots and swirls; “scalandia,” featuring simple, spare designs in cool blues and lime greens; and “city of light,” a glam, eclectic, slightly retro mix of golds, browns and copper.

This year, along with more traditional holiday accents, online and catalog retailer Garnet Hill features a whimsical Funny Felt Tree, constructed of orange, green and yellow felt leaves, and a Bright Ornament Wreath and garland, each composed of glass balls in shades of gold, orange, teal and red.

Old Navy stocks its in-store Holiday Shop with striped and dotted glass ornaments in blues, silvers, limes and red.

“Depending on your space and your colors, try mixing silver and white, gold and cobalt blue, black and silver or harvest colors like rust, brown and gold,” advises Sonya Cosentini, T.J. Maxx home decorating spokeswoman. “The new palette will create a sophisticated look that complements your décor.”

Even black has become part of the holiday decor scene. Garnet Hill offers a black wool-felt tree skirt and table runner, both trimmed with vibrant embroidery and twinkling hand-stitched sequins. And black Christmas trees have made their way to these shores from Great Britain, where they were popular last season ( or

Whichever color scheme you choose, design experts say holiday must-haves include beaded or embroidered table runners in sumptuous fabrics such as velvet or damask, embroidered or beaded throw pillows in festive shades, and decorative elements such as crystal and silver. Anchor the look with fruits, pine cones, greens and masses of candles. When you’re done, step back, and add those all-important personal touches.

“Always include a touch of yourself and your family,” says Surmelis. “Be sure to tuck that pipe cleaner Santa or the ornament you made in second grade somewhere. No matter how elegant your setting is, you don’t want your house to look like a showroom. During the holidays, especially, you want it to look like home.”