Interior designers reveal the biggest Christmas decorating trends for 2021

·8-min read
Photo credit: Croft & Cole
Photo credit: Croft & Cole

Christmas 2021 will inspire feelings of hope and happiness more than ever before, with households planning to put on a truly festive display throughout the home.

After a difficult 2020, creating a joyful and uplifting space that stimulates warmth, tactility and togetherness, with simple comforts and heartwarming family traditions, is what we all need this year.

Retailers including John Lewis, Waitrose, and Hobbycraft have already reported record online searches for Christmas as the nation are planning earlier than ever for the festive season. But what are the biggest design trends for Christmas 2021? Find out how we'll be decorating the Christmas tree this year, along with the most popular festive colour schemes for the home, and the decor trends that will help to put a personalised touch on Christmas celebrations.

• Christmas Trees •

1. Traditional Nordmann Fir is still a staple in British homes

The traditional Christmas tree plays an important part in our home during the festive season but one particular variety reigns. 'If you're looking for a more traditional feel this Christmas, the Nordmann Fir is still hugely popular across the UK and Europe. Its even shape and somewhat sparse branches have graced British homes for decades and will bring an authentic, nostalgic feel to your home,' Jennifer Derry, interior design expert and EVP Merchandising at Balsam Hill, explains.

Photo credit: Croft & Cole
Photo credit: Croft & Cole

2. Modern Fraser Fir is gaining popularity

Those looking to go for a more modern take on Christmas this year should look no further than the Fraser Fir. 'Native to the Appalachian Mountains and extremely popular in the US, the Fraser Fir is a much more full-bodied tree in comparison to the traditional Nordmann Fir, with its volume providing a larger canvas for more elaborate lighting and decorations,' Jennifer says. 'This species of tree is gaining popularity throughout the UK and wider Europe thanks to its association with many of the Christmas films we love to indulge in year after year.'

Photo credit: Dobbies
Photo credit: Dobbies

3. Expect to see more asymmetrical, sparse trees in homes

When it comes to artificial Christmas trees, asymmetrical and sparse trees are growing in popularity in the UK.

Jennifer comments on this growing trend: 'As with many things in nature, nothing is ever perfectly symmetrical, and the humble Christmas tree is no different. This is leading a growing number of Brits looking for the beauty of a real tree with the convenience of an artificial tree to purchase more asymmetrical trees each year. Sparse trees on the other hand allow for you to show off the various decorations and lights you've collected over the years – from the more modern to your precious family heirloom baubles.'

4. LED twig trees

The LED twig Christmas tree will continue to be a trend this year, but it's actually becoming a popular accessory for all year round, extending its use beyond the festive season. 'Those that have a more clean, simplistic, and modern home should invest in these trees, as the bare branches with warm lighting add a festive feel without overwhelming the space,' Jennifer explains.

5. Multiple trees

A recent survey by Squire's Garden Centres found that 11 per cent of respondents are planning on having more Christmas trees in their house this year. Some 30 per cent said they would have two trees, and 11 per cent are planning on having three or more trees. These additional trees can vary between real or artificial, and vary in size, and can be placed in other rooms of the house.

Photo credit: Wayfair/ADAM CARTER
Photo credit: Wayfair/ADAM CARTER

• Christmas Colours and Decorations •

6. Silver will reign supreme, with gold adding warmth

Metallics will continue to take centre stage this festive season. 'As the modern, paired-back interiors continue to grace British homes, we expect silver to take centre stage this festive season. Its muted and cooler tone will help bring the snowy outside in – without the freezing cold temperatures,' Jennifer explains. 'We also expect to see gold – the colour of 2020 – to feed through into festive designs this year too, helping to add a warmth and depth as it contrasts against the leading silver tones.'

Photo credit: Bee Holmes/Rockett St George
Photo credit: Bee Holmes/Rockett St George

7. Combine moody blues with gold

Christmas 2021 will see dark shades paired with gold accents, according to Kane Hughes, Interior Designer at MyJobQuote.co.uk: 'The colour combination is an elegant choice for Christmas table settings. Think dark blue and purple candle holders paired with light gold reindeers. This colour scheme works perfectly against darker feature walls.'

8. Sustainability

Sustainability will continue to be an important focus this year. 'Focusing on the Christmas dinner table, sustainability will be a big trend. Everything from recycled glassware to reusable crackers will be in demand,' according to Sylvia James, Interior Designer at HomeHow.co.uk.

The team at Sass & Belle agree: 'Consider artisanal, hand crafted, wooden, recycled glass and papier-mache decorations which are fast becoming a firm favourite in many households. Just because they're a sustainable option, this doesn't mean that you'll miss out on colour, texture and the sparkle of Christmas. Rich hues, opulence and glitz are still on the agenda for 2021.'

Photo credit: Notonthehighstreet.com
Photo credit: Notonthehighstreet.com

9. Nostalgic décor

In the past year, many of us realised how important tradition is, especially when lockdown restrictions meant we couldn't celebrate in the usual way.

'We believe that this year Christmas will be particularly special, and the nostalgia will dominate in our hearts, on our tables as well as in home decorations,' Alexandra Jurkiewicz, Creative Lead at Helen Green Design says. 'Using vintage ornaments, old crockery and passed down tablecloths not only evokes the best of memories of the past but is also environmentally friendly. Instead of buying new decorations, we suggest mending old ones, making some from recycled materials or finding some gems in vintage shows or internet auctions.'

10. Textured layers of white to imitate snow

From crisp white decorations to cream soft furnishings, bring the snowy days of Christmas indoors through layering. 'To add depth and differentiation, we'll see a rise in soft whites paired with textured white, creating the perfect festive feel in our homes,' Jennifer predicts.

Photo credit: The White Company
Photo credit: The White Company

11. Houseplants

Indoor plants look good all-year round and make great gifts, but they can also make great decorations. Delicately drape some thin wire lights or a thin handmade garland around your plants, or wrap these around the plant pots. 'Christmas favourites include Poinsettia, Cyclamen, Hyacinth and cute mini Christmas trees,' say Squire's Garden Centres.

This year Bloom & Wild has expanded its mini letterbox Christmas tree range. Perfect for windowsills or a coffee table, these best-sellers come with twinkling lights, a pot and decorations.

12. Botanical

As we've seen with several retailers' Christmas trends, the running theme for Christmas this year is nature. So how easy is it to bring the outside in for the festive season? Zoe Warren, Interior Designer at PriceYourJob.co.uk, suggests the following: 'A real Christmas tree surrounded with evergreen florals, wood accessories and shimmering gold garlands will look luxurious when paired together. Pair metallic accents with classic winter nature motif plates and opt for a regal runner and napkins.'

13. Capiz shells will filter through into winter

'The beautiful shells of windowpane oysters, known as capiz shells, have captured the attention of interiors the world over thanks to their dazzling, pearl-like shimmer,' Jennifer notes. 'Thanks to their pearly white appearance, they will be perfect for this year's festive season, delicately replicating the white snow of Christmas with a warmer, softer feel.'

14. A festive coastal look

Interior designer Vanessa Arbuthnott is a fan of John Lewis' Blush Coast Christmas decorating theme. 'Blush being colours inspired by natural patterns found on rocks, sea creatures and sand, this is one of my favourites, so combined with Christmas, it's particularly magical! Think sea blues, shimmering golds with blush accents. This theme will fit particularly perfectly in a modern home with muted coloured walls,' Vanessa explains.

Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners
Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners

15. Tree skirts or tree collars continue rising in popularity

As households opt for cleaner, more modern looks in their homes, tree skirts (ideal for for covering the trunk or stand of a tree for a cohesive look) will continue to rise in popularity. Jennifer explains: 'The addition of a tree collar allows you to cover up the base of the tree, while also giving you the option of continuing your theme from the star at the top of the tree right down to the base.'

16. DIY decorations

As a nation of DIY lovers, our creative streak only grows at Christmas. Tom Lawrence-Levy, Interior Designer at Natural Asthetik, comments: 'The thing I love about making your own wreaths and garlands is that you can get creative and add in whatever you may have in the house, like dried plants, old ornaments you may have, or even dried fruits like oranges or grapefruit!'

Photo credit: Mary Elizabeth Flowers
Photo credit: Mary Elizabeth Flowers

17. Personalisation

Christmas 2021 will be even more important at bringing people together and ensuring our homes accommodate additional activity and people. James Ashfield, Studio Director, Interior Design at Rigby & Rigby shares his predictions: 'Our homes at Christmas will re-adapt to be vibrant and social spaces. We foresee more emphasis being placed on personalisation and craft. As the pandemic has taught us the importance of family, friendship, and health; personalised gifts and luxury craft will add a special dimension and meaning to Christmas.'

18. Christmas gonks

The Christmas gonk is expected to be in a lot of homes this year. A fun Christmas accessory, these little figurines with long bushy beards and knitted hats were extremely popular in 2020. Squire's Garden Centres explain: 'These charming festive characters are sure to raise a smile. They perch perfectly on steps and stairs, beneath the Christmas tree, or by the fireplace, and some of their beards even light up.'

This year, retailers are also increasing their offering of gonk-themed products, from gonk print bedding to gonk baubles.

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