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Holiday 2014 Color+Design Trends

Design Trends

'Tis the season! Another year of holiday cheer is upon us. And, with the economy slowly improving, there is more optimism in the air, which translates to an expansion of holiday color and, this year, a proliferation of holiday metallics. Here are highlights of several holiday trends to inspire and delight.

“We all scream for ice cream!"

Pastels are moving past the youthful and infant pastel stages and now are encompassing a host of ice cream color treats, including mint, strawberry, French vanilla, and milk-chocolate. Patterns to enhance the ice cream colors include waffles, sugar and chocolate-tipped edges, while iconic images include banana splits, frozen-treat trucks, and marshmallows. Add layers of detail in fabric and finishing touches -- such as color and white dots, frosting swirls, wavy lines, velvet, pearlized leather, seed beads, pastel/metallic/white pearls, satin ribbon, flock and glitter. Glass is clear, iridescent or pressed with simple patterns, and white paper is pleated like cupcake liners or printed. Delicious treats for all!


With a longing for simpler times, many consumers are liking the idea of handmade decorations with found materials, as well as leftover bits and pieces. Simple shapes take center stage - hearts and stars, owls and deer, wreaths made from cotton scraps, felt stockings, and mason jars with lace/sheer/grosgrain ribbon or embroidered or die-cut trim. Patterns and details to include for additional layering comprise of embroidered edges, whip-stitched or pinked on cotton, burlap, felt, thick yarns, sliced branches, die-cut wood figures, and buttons sewn on with contrast color thread. Craft paper and cardboard ornaments are abundant on the family tree.

Santa's Favorite Treats

Even Santa needs a break! And what better way to treat a holiday favorite then with cookies and milk. Santa's Favorite Treats trend is all about sweets with a red-and-white palette. Fresh-baked goods; baker's tools shown as ornaments; and sugar cookies in all traditional Christmas shapes like trees, stars, snowflakes, and hearts are abundant. Additional décor details and patterns encompass glazed ceramic cookie plates, snowflake and tree patterns, holly leaves and berries, dots, checks and plaids, and Nordic sweater motifs. Santa's on his way!

Peace and Harmony

Music is such an integral part of the holiday season that it's easy to see why we want to actually see the notes play before us. Peace and Harmony showcases paper printed in musical scores, songbirds chirping, deer outlined in glitter, sparkly owls, pheasants, foxes, metallic-covered leaves, walnuts, apples and pears. Glasswork is iridescent, mercury, frosted and printed in holiday verses. Patterns include yarn-wrapped vines, hearts, detailed snowflakes, butterflies, holiday lyrics and treble clefs, metallic and punched tin metal. Details are a mix of rustic and refined – pheasant feathers, faux fur, gemstones, beads, glitter, sheer ribbon, birch-bark bits, and matte-satin embroidery. Fa la la!

Grandma's Treasures

Vintage Christmas moves from turn-of-the-20th-century nostalgia to this year's focus on the 1930s and 1940s. Complex mid-tones lead color, while small-scale patterns and simple toys return. Grandma's Treasures includes iconic images such as sweet-faced children, dressed for sledding or making snowmen in the outdoors; children surrounding Father Christmas walking through the woods or riding a white horse; and simple toys such as teddy bears, drums and dolls.

Décor elements include snow-dusted pine trees, trees decorated with blown-glass baubles, holly berries and homemade ornaments. Other ideas for tree ornaments include wrapped candies, candy canes, cupcakes, songbirds, hearts, stars, bells, candles, holly leaves, deer, rabbits, dogs, and cats. Patterns are simple and retro – tiny dots, ginghams, florals, plaids, and retro backgrounds for appliqued designs of old Christmas cards. Final details to complete the look include retro rickrack, pom-pom edging, gold braid, buttons, lace, piping, rhinestones, cotton with homespun flavor; glass is plain or printed in dots, snowflakes or faded scenes; and balsa wood and unfinished pine. To Grandma's house we go!

Contemporary Twist

For the modernistas, the holidays are embracing the clean, modern look, as well. Yellow, implying confidence and unconventional as a main hue for Christmas, shows off a modernist twist for this season. Yellow pairs well with white, silver, gold or black, showing sophistication. With a minimum of detail, the matte/gloss contrast and high-low geometrics add interest without getting too busy. Traditional winter motifs - such as owls, deer and snowflakes - paired with this color scheme look fresh and modern. To complete the look, add lacquered or matte-painted wood and fabrics such as lamé, velvet or silk taffeta. How chic!

Medieval Opulence

Playing off the medieval trends of 2015 (see Romance and Remembrance), this dramatic trend highlights traditional styles with flair. Motifs are exaggerated -- damask-inspired designs; fleur- de-lis and acanthus leaves; and roses, hearts, medallions and lacy elements with scalloped edges. Ornament shapes include angel's wings, scrolling elements, lattice work, orbs, teardrops, onions, eggs and lanterns. Metallics are everywhere in gold and copper, while layered details are excessive -- oversized gemstones, large pearls, gesso, glitter and sugar beads, lace and embroidery. Matte marble is a base with mercury glass, cut crystal, color-tinted glass and capiz shell, providing additional ambiance. The fabrics are sumptuous -- plain/cut/burnout velvet; jacquards, linens, lame; leather that is plain or embossed; and accents in faux fur and suede.

Snowy Night

Snow falls quietly on a winter's night, and peace and solitude surround the senses. Snowy Night captures this trend with crisp colors and layers of snowflake crystals, detailed and delicate; as well as pine boughs, pine cones, birch-bark trees, berries and leaves coated with thin layers of frost. Ornament ideas include white amaryllis petals; perching doves, snowy owls and white foxes; twinkling stars, icicles, and other shapes like teardrop, pear, lemon, onion and hearts. Details include fine and chunky flocking, faux fur, die-cut felt, yarn, crochet, pearls, gems, glitter, sugar beads, metal beads; clear and frosted acrylic; glass in clear, pressed, iridescent and snowflake-frosted; and colored mercury glass.

Holiday's Blush

With the glimmer of optimism upon us, glam looks are returning to everyday looks and now touching on the holiday season. Colors are chic and include neutralized traces of warm pink, peach, ivory and beige with warm, dark neutrals and metallics. Patterns include soft scrolls, curvy acanthus leaves, brush-stroke ovals, sweeping teardrops, flowers and leaves. Add layers with flowers including hydrangea, roses, and tulips, as well as butterflies and songbirds. Pearls are key to the trend, while additional touches include sequins, satin ribbons, satin piping, glittery embroidery, short-pile and burn-out velvet and mercury glass accessories decorated with gemstones or pearls.

All is Merry and Bright

Happy colors and fun icons we know and love are integral to this trend, and colors pop in brights and saturated mid-tones, with pinks and yellows taking center-stage. Red is not too far behind. Playful shapes are rounded and childlike – rubber duckies and do-do birds, bulbous daisy blossoms, puffy hearts, concentric stars. Ornaments include appealing shapes for kids such as trees, cars, dogs, snowmen, moose, deer, and owls. And patterns are youthful with dots, snowflakes, zigzags, stripes, and thin lines providing added fun. Finishing details consist of sparkly glitter, pom-poms, buttons, rickrack, long stitches, grosgrain; highly-glazed ceramic; colorful cellophane and die-cut metal.

Happy Holidays!

Images courtesy istock images