8 decorating themes and styling ideas for Christmas 2018

8 decorating themes and styling ideas for Christmas 2018

noviembre 21, 2018

Hi! I've been organising my garage and sorting through some props today - deciding what I should keep handy for Christmas decorating and food styling and storing away things that aren't really my cup of tea.
So I thought i'd share some styling themes with you, ones that I've created for clients this year and other ones that I've collected over several years or found recently and fallen in love with.  I'm now torn between styles for my own home this Christmas! I will just have to have several trees :)
I hope this gives you some ideas for your winter food or still life styling or maybe even your home - trends aside, decorating your home for Christmas or the holidays should begin with what makes you smile.  Whatever you decide - have fun and remember to laugh when the dog/baby knocks it all over!

So, here are 8 styling ideas & ways to decorate this Christmas 

1. Pink, grey and gold. 

Kind of lux, beauty flatlay style in the clean, marble, soft baby pink way that's been popular for a while now.  It's good to see pink being styled in this modern and fresh way, I think it could really work for Christmas if your home style is clean and light with some metallics and a few organic materials or fluffy textiles to add highlights and soften the edges. 
I've chosen to style this on my True backdrop which is a light grey without much colour in it but then I have edited it slightly towards cool green to make the pink pop more. 
christmas decor styling ideas colour theme holidays decorations 2018
christmas decor styling ideas colour theme holidays decorations 2018
True photography backdrop / Candles and lights, Sostrene Green / Sequin ribbon, The Range / Ceramic dish by Kvalka Handverk in Iceland / Small pink bauble, Paperchase / Pine cone bauble, Amazon / Spoon, Trouva /  Scissors, Ble Diamond garden centre 
 

2. Dark, natural light with earthy styling

I wanted to create a look that was clean and vibrant but still darker and organic so I've started with my Zeus backdrop for this Christmas theme.  I don't have the equipment to go really subtle AND dark like my moody photography heroes but I think this gives a nice feeling of soft and natural styling with the background looking like granite or stone underneath.
Eucalyptus makes the perfect seasonal foliage not only for the lovely soft green colour but the scent that fills the room too.  If you keep the stems long it can last very well in watered displays and left out on display to dry out too.
For Christmas styling the most obvious stories to tell revolve around the food and gifts. In this scene i've tried to hint at festive food but evoke the senses of taste and smell with texture and raw ingredients rather than a dish or baked item, so that it's not immediately linked to a specific religious date or event - more an overall seasonal, festive feel for the holiday season.
christmas decor styling ideas colour theme holidays decorations 2018
Zeus photography background / All the props here are vintage sorry! Cinnamon bark and eucalyptus bought from my favourite florist in Belper / huge bags of nuts and pine cones from Amazon
 

3. Pastel rainbow

Rainbow themes are everywhere at the moment, along with unicorns and industrial scissors!  Here i've mixed up new with vintage, pompoms with glitter, sequins with baubles and pastels with stronger pops of colour for a playful cameo on my Baby pink photography background.
With all the beautiful (read random) decorations my children come home with at Christmas I can see how this eclectic, kitsch style could work in my house this year.
christmas decor styling ideas colour theme holidays decorations 2018
christmas decor styling ideas colour theme holidays decorations 2018
Baby styling backdrop / Lights from Sostrene Green / Glass plate, from the 1950's / Paper decorations, Amazon / Glitter ribbon tape, felt baubles, small baubles and rainbow glitter notepad from Paperchase / Pine cone baubles from Amazon / Blue glitter bauble and purple sequin ribbon, The Range / Pen by Sharpie / All others vintage

4. Scan-ditional (I'm claiming that!)

Scandi crossed with traditional so red, white, natural textures, kraft or geometric printed paper, string, laser cut wood, you get the idea.
I've had this willow for about 3 years now and I think I part sprayed it white at the beginning of this year and it is just now softening to a nice muted, wood tone again.  It's VERY handy and versatile - just make sure you have patience in abundance to tame fairy lights, ribbon etc around it AND FIX THEM before you add dangly bits.  If I know its needed on a shoot I'll tape lights and ribbons to it ahead of the shoot at home then add the baubles etc in the studio :)
I like this decor theme as it mixes what you would typically think of for Christmas with a bit of modern quirkiness.  I could have added a lot more natural props - berries, fir, fern, eucalyptus or Americanised it with candy canes, iced gingerbread biscuits etc.  If you keep to the simple colour scheme you can bring in lots of elements and cultural references without it looking over the top. I like this one - clean but full of character.
Surf wood effect photography backdrop / glass baubles, Amazon / Geometric paper and laser cut wood decorations, The Range  / Black & White heart decorations from Ikea (a while back sorry) / String from The Range / Scissors Trouva / Gift tags, Paperchase /  Berries from a local hedgrow
 

5. Muted jewel colours and intricate patterns

There's been a big surge in Moroccan, Indian and South American pattern in interiors and textiles this year and I think it works great for Christmas too.  I love teal and turquoise blues alongside deep peacock greens and metalics, I think they look perfect on my copper patina background, Hex.
The starting point for this Christmas colour scheme was the writing set from Paperchase, which I don't think is specifically for Christmas but I just love the pattern and the mint/turquoise mixed with gold.
Everything else is a bit random prop wise sorry - the fabric is a beach wrap from Thailand, the decorations are all vintage, lights from Sostrene Green, the stars were from a Polish Christmas market many years ago, box, feather and ribbon from The Range, scissors from my local garden centre (for pruning my bonsai!).
I'll try and expand on this with a few more bits if I get chance to do some shopping as i love love love it.
 
 

6.  Bottle greens and warm metallics - I really like this one so took lots of versions!

I came across this style when I did a shoot for Waterford Chrystal earlier this year.  They referenced a photographer on Instagram called John Stoffer from Chicago - his feed is very green and earthy but still with lux materials and a hint of glamour - you can see his influence on Waterford's Instagram feed - much of which has been styled by me!

We used a deep, mottled copper backdrop of mine in the Waterford shoot so I've used my Toba printed background here which gives a similar earthy and warm base for the styling.

Using a marble plate with gold through it adds another layer and brings in some of the lux materials seen on John Stoffers feed.

My copper tankard, some deep brown glass baubles and the copper fairy lights add to the warmth with flat matt paper decorations and another glass bauble in green giving different textures that handle the light very differently making it quite a tactile grouping.

I chose the sparse foliage as it reminds me of reindeer moss - I wanted something natural and organic but not fussy.  I think this works really well here and makes good use of the short focal band adding depth to the shot.

I think this would be a great Christmas decorating theme if you have tanned leather, concrete or other natural, high quality raw materials in your home.


Toba printed hotography backdrop / marble plate from TK Maxi / Candy from Tiger / Green paper decorations and green glass baubles from M&S / Brown glass baubles from Amazon / tea light and tankard vintage

7. Dark blue and monotone greys

If like many of us you have dark teal or steely blues in your home this is a simple but stylish way to keep the focus on your hero colour and compliment it with light and shade, texture and depth without contrasting colours - sometimes the green from a Christmas tree and foliage, warmth of lights or candles and one main colour is enough I think.  Just make sure you have enough metallics with some good light to bounce off them so that the darkness is broken up with reflections.  

I've used my Harbour printed backdrop here which is slaty grey moving towards blue in the portrait edit.   I've layered with pewter platters to create a focal point with some highlights and depth but slubby grey silk, dark blue satin or reclaimed slate tiles would look equally cool adding some height, shadows and drama.

I really like this one but it's a little bit too prescriptive for my eclectic home style at the moment - maybe when they kids have moved out!

Habour printed background / black soap stone bowl at top from Leon at John Lewis / everything else is vintage or randomly found sorry!

8. Pretty minimalism

For my final look I wanted to create a table dressing style and do something completely non-traditional for a Christmas place setting.  I've been guided by these gorgeous flowers from the lovely Beverley at Floraline - poppy seed heads, deep astrantia and soft pink penesten grasses with a bit of eucalyptus for more green.

Because I set the brief as minimal, I haven't brought any other colours in that aren't already in the flowers; my Madrid backdrop in muted stone and grey lets everything sing on top of it so all I had to do was keep it clean and use textures and layering rather than colour to create interest.

I love this look, if I'd had a white cracker I could tie a soft pink velvet ribbon round and finish with a tiny white bauble it would be complete for the Christmas dinner table! Or maybe a Christmas wedding breakfast?! 

When going for minimalism I invariably get too much stuff out and end up taking half of it away - but maybe that's the trick - trying things out, taking things away, respecting the negative space and the quality of 'airiness' in some styles.  Everything gets cleaner and more graphic in shape when shot over head so it can easily look sparse and cold rather than modern and stylishly minimal. It's good to play around with things.

What I would suggest is to invest in quality ceramics if you want to work in minimal styles - when there are only a few things on set they should all be beautiful.  Handmade plates are top of my list for when I have some prop budget spare!

Madrid photography backdrop /  green vase from Oxfam, unmarked and a bit rough, I love it! / pink tumbler from M&S / Stem crystal glasses from Dartington at TK Maxi / Charger plate from John Lewis / Grey plate from   in France / Small grey dish from an artists shop in Reykjavik / vintage cutlery / placemat used as napkin from Debenhams / teacup and candle holder from Sostrene Green / mixed vintage baubles 
I hope you've liked this post and have a few ideas for your Christmas decor or photography styling now? Let me know your favourite below!
If you work in styling, make content for your own brand or work as a content creator you might like my free resources where you can download foodie dates and annual events, marketing templates and how-tos for free.  Check them out here.
Or if you'd like to talk to me about styling or creating content for you please get in touch - happy to have a chat and see what would work best for you - hello@blackvelvetstyling.com or 07866 636070.
Thanks for reading,  Sophie xx

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