Written By Hooker Furniture
You can’t go wrong with the usual scarlet red + Kelly green for Christmas, but it can get a bit, well, tired. And if your year-‘round color scheme is blue and orange, you may feel you have to play it safe with lots of white. Not so! Some pretty modern alternatives have their roots deeply in precious holiday traditions. So you can be creative, colorful and classic at the same time. Here are a few options for your most gifted décor yet:
- Purple+Rose+White. Until the early 1950s in the U.S., pink was for boys and blue was for girls, believe it or not. Today, you don’t have to look far for a reason to use the tint of rose for the holidays. Luckily, the answer’s been there all along: Advent! The four purple candles in the advent wreath symbolize repentance, the pink candle symbolizes joy, and the white candle symbolizes purity of spirit. This color combination can inspire a lovely scheme with your favorite greenery at Christmastime. You’ll want to stay with the classic deep violet and pale pink for your Advent candles but you can certainly play with other rich pinks and purples in Christmas tree decorations and accents around the house. Purple has always symbolized nobility and pink, love; what’s not to like? For coordinating motifs, use sugarplums (literally, sugared plums, a medieval treat), grapes, holly, variegated white-and-green ivy and lots of silver for sparkle. And if you can work in images from The Nutcracker ballet, all the better!
- Della Robbia Blue+Evergreen+Fruit Colors.“Della Robbia Blue” is named for the family of Italian Renaissance artists who perfected colored, glazed terracotta in the mid-1400s-1500s. This celestial blue was often used in the Madonna’s robe or the sky in bas-relief artworks. The evergreen wreath decorated with pine cones, oranges, pears, grapes and other fruits often ringed the holy image, symbolizing never-ending nourishment of the spirit.
This image has inspired a wealth of designs, from a china service by Mikasa to the U.S. Post Office stamp (back when it was 22 cents). In fact, the “Della Robbia wreath” with fruits is as popular now as it was in Colonial Williamsburg homes. Tap into this tradition with bright sky blue as a background for evergreen embellished with oranges, pears, grapes, apples and lemons.
- Orange+ Green.Studded with cloves to decorate the mantel, candied as a treat or tucked into the toe of a Christmas stocking, oranges have been part of the American Christmas tradition since the late 1800s, when the transcontinental railroad brought these exotic treats from the new states of Florida and California. What does jolly old St. Nick have to do with the beloved American tradition of oranges at Christmas? In addition to bringing gifts to children, he was also kind to teens. The 4th-century bishop is said to have tossed gold coins down the chimneys of poor girls who could not marry for lack of dowries. Round, gold oranges symbolize this “fruitful” gift. So if you love the hot style hue of orange, make it the highlight of your Christmas décor.
Mix it up by adding subtle gray-green sage, zesty lime and classic evergreen plus cinnamon sticks to your orange scheme, along with star anise and other favorites for traditional mulled cider. Echo orange tones with your brass candlesticks, copper cookware, and glittery golden star tinsel. For an even bolder scheme, accent with fiery red for extra warmth!
- Burgundy+Champagne: Wine, burgundy and other deep red tones are high style this season. Rich and sophisticated, they’re wonderful with creamy champagne tints and with red’s complementary color, green. You have a lot of leeway with this versatile scheme; classic purple is close to wine’s red-violet and champagne is close to gold, so you can mix these regal hues in with confidence.
Why not concoct a romantic scheme with apples plus red and purple grapes in an evergreen ring, and drop some fresh cranberries and deep red roses in champagne coupes and flutes or your favorite wine glasses?
All these schemes work well with any green, white, ivory and metallics, so make your bigger investments in these neutrals and bring in the adventurous hues you love as accents. Chances are, you’ll find just as many in your own china cabinet and linen closet as in the stores, just waiting to be part of your holiday celebrations!