The inventor of the standard holiday red-and-green color scheme was probably colorblind - no one with good vision would want to decorate with two colors opposite each other on the color wheel. Escaping color condemnation is tough when aisles are stuffed with fake green boughs and gleaming red plastic berries.
“People don’t decorate because it doesn’t occur to them that something other than red and green can be festive,” says Joann Kandrac, co-owner of Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs, Inc. in Atlanta. “But if they were to see it, they’d know it’s very festive, exiting and unique.”
Black and white
Kandrac and her co-owner Kelly Kole say black and white decorations make the holidays look smart. Do it in layers; put cloth over a white tabletop or a black tablecloth, then garnish with a large silver candelabra with black and white candles. Pick a third accent color like pink to make everything pop. Take your color theme one step further by incorporating it into parties. Black and white food adds a playful, edible touch. Oreo cookies and cupcakes are great for kids, and adults can have flavorful black and white sushi.
Silver and white
Going glitzy is an easy way out of red and green. Silver and white have always been holiday staples, but if you follow through on every aspect of the scheme it can create a calm, clean look, according to Patricia McLean who owns Patricia McLean Interiors in Atlanta. She says white flowers like hydrangeas and white poinsettias can incorporate a bit of natural green without going overboard. When you go for the silver, don’t just think bows and ribbons. McLean says sterling ornaments on a tree with white lights create a stunning glow, and ornaments can be hung from chandeliers to catch the light.
Purple and white
“A deep, bluish purple is really a beautiful color,” says Pamela J. Enz, who owns Tangible Space in Arden Hills, Minn. Clear glass bowls filled with purple bulbs on tables, clear glass candelabras over the fireplace, and clear glass votives let the light into every corner. For table-setting, Enz says to match the tree. Get a purple velvet tablecloth and use silver chargers underneath plain white plates. Also, purple and white make an easy transition into the New Year, so you don’t have to double decorate.