Just like fashion, festive decor is subject to different trends and styles.
While it’s always fun to dig out favourite decorations and hang baubles that have been passed down through generations, it’s also fun to introduce a new element into your festive repertoire to jazz up existing themes.
“As tradition goes, during this time of the year we all bring out that big box of decorations that’s hidden somewhere in our cupboards — and each year, everybody wants something new to add or is ready for a new decor style altogether,” says Simona Molteni, interior designer at Bloomingdale’s Home.
“Considering the economic situation, people are opting for a more minimal approach to be budget conscious, but are still indulging in adding quality, timeless pieces to their decor.”
Scroll through the gallery above for ideas of how to create this season's trends …
Maria Stepchenkova, communication and interior design activity leader for Al-Futtaim Ikea, says: “Many of us have precious decor we bring out over and over again each year, with each piece tied to our memories and our Christmas traditions with our loved ones.
“This festive season, we have seen decorating trends focusing on styles and looks that bring back memories of childhood Christmases, fairy tales, and snowy Scandinavian landscapes in lots of homes.”
Whether you embrace a whole new look for your home decor or add small touches and accents to update your timeless pieces, here’s what the experts are saying about this year’s festive trends …
Animals and metallics
Candles, coloured glass, metallics and animal-themed decorations are all big themes for this year. When it comes to animals, look for decor that features owls, deer and stags.
“There is always a theme of the year, and there is so much more variety this year with animals certainly getting more of a look in — owls, birds and butterflies — which link to the nostalgia trend,” says Nathalie Khouri, creative director of The Cozy Interiors.
Adds Aoife Baxter, freelance stylist at Pixie Styling Dubai: “Stags and deer have been an ongoing trend, but this season has seen them go to another level. I’ve used life-sized baby deer and fawns in kids’ bedrooms. They are also really popular in table centre pieces and mantelpieces.”
Candles are another big trend for Christmas 2022. Always popular on festive tables, they’re a look that can be moved safely to the tree by seeking out candle-shaped lights or by using flameless options.
“Candles are very popular styling items in decor,” says Molteni. “Also coloured glass is always welcome on festive table spaces.”
“We are seeing a lot of silver, gold and pink-based metallic colours as trends,” adds Khouri. “These tend to be used independently of each other, making trees and table settings simple and chic with the use of just the one metallic colour in different sizes and textures.”
Timeless traditions and winter wonderland
As the time of year naturally lends itself to nostalgia and tradition, it’s no surprise that those two influences have become popular design themes this year.
“Childhood items that have been passed on or items that have sentimental value that are brought back only during this time of the year traditionally are also now a rustic trend in itself,” says Khouri.
“Snow globes, ornaments, quilts, tree toppers — and my favourite the elf on the shelf — previously we might have seen these kept away in favour of more glitzy or modern aesthetics, but they are certainly having a resurgence.”
Nicole Stollery, designer gifting and Christmas at Marks & Spencer Home, adds: “This festive season, we have seen plenty of Christmas tree decorating trends either focusing on achieving the winter wonderland look, embracing timeless classics of red and gold.”
Choosing new pieces in festive colours such as silver, white, red and gold will ensure decorations you buy this year will never go out of style. Creating a timeless backdrop will also allow you to play around with unexpected touches, with Baxter suggesting disco balls.
“These add a young and modern vibe to your Christmas tree,” she says. “Having three or four in various sizes at the foot of your tree makes for a more interesting accessory.”
Stepchenkova from Al-Futtaim Ikea says: “One of my favourite ways to create your own little winter wonderland at home is by using lights with a mix of different coloured glass and beautiful, delicate fairy tale ornaments to hang on your tree or as adorable trinkets around your home.”
Ideas and inspiration for the festive table
Another favourite part of Christmas is styling up the festive table whether for dinners with family and friends on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, but also for evening buffets or daytime grazing.
“For me, it’s personal touches, always,” says Khouri, of putting together the festive table. “On table settings I like to ensure individual touches wherever possible. Keep it as simple or as opulent as you like, play with texture and colour but always keep it personal in a way that is meaningful to you and your family or friends.”
For those on a budget or who prefer to use their existing decorations on the tree and around the house, the festive table can be the place to introduce new trends and ideas without spending too much.
“When I style a dining table I keep several things in mind,” says Baxter. “I don’t want to obstruct the view across the table between guests, so keep all decorations low enough. I love using loads of different types of candles in differing heights, shapes and colours. I also snip fresh foliage from the garden and wind it through my candles. If you have any small baubles, deer or nutcrackers left over, add a few to tie in your theme.”
Adds Stollery: “Seasonal tablescaping is a trend in which we have seen a huge growth. Layer on interesting pieces such as designer serving and glassware and introduce festive decorations to add seasonality.”
“We have definitely noticed the shift in more eco-friendly decorations,” says Molteni. “I think one should be inspired by nature as it gives a lot of materials and ideas to help be more creative with our decor and also promote a sustainable environment.”
Sustainability has become a big issue around the festive season given the amount of packaging and wrapping that gets used. Choose recycled paper or scraps of fabric to use to wrap presents, or eschew wrapping altogether and add a simple bow to gifts.
Choose an artificial tree over a real one or plant your real tree after Christmas and decorate it with solar-powered lights.
“I would suggest investing in larger sized, good quality decorations that you will keep for years and re-use,” says Baxter. “They make a bigger statement on your tree and you don’t need as many. Each year I invest in the best quality decorations I can afford and have built my collection that way. There are also companies that offer rental options, mine included.”
“Re-purpose interior items you already have into your festive scheme, with no need to buy extra,” adds Khouri. “Use what you already have and bring nature inside where you can. And don’t forget to recycle.”