Minimalist Christmas Decoration Ideas

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Taking a minimalist approach to Christmas decorating will not only save you time and money; it can actually make a more powerful and effective design statement than you might have imagined.

Keep your budget and your décor low-end with streamlined, contemporary Christmas decorations.

Understanding Minimalist Style

Minimalist decorating involves eliminating everything that isn’t necessary in order to draw attention to the elements that truly matter. It provides the perfect platform to showcase the beauty of textures, colors and other details that might be otherwise missed. These basic minimalist principles will help you get started:

  • Simplicity: Each design element should be easily appreciated in its entirety. Choose simple, clean-lined furniture and decorations for your Christmas design.
  • An uncluttered feeling: Select a few striking and sleek decorations rather than putting out every Christmas-themed item you can find. For example, a painting of Santa smiling wistfully would fit better in a minimalist room than a picture of Santa supervising a room full of elves working frantically.
  • Uncomplicated color themes: Rather than decorating with a rainbow of color, reduce your color scheme to just one or two colors. You might want to use traditional red and green or a cool wintery blue and white. Feel free to use a variety of shades within your chosen color palette to bring depth to your design. Subtle metallic accents of gold and silver further enhance the holiday mood without becoming overwhelming.

A Minimalist, Modern Christmas Tree

For most people, it would be unimaginable to decorate for Christmas without putting up a Christmas tree. The challenge with a minimalist approach is to design a tree that doesn’t look cold and severe or one so busy that it distracts attention from your uncluttered design. Here are a few suggestions for a minimalist Christmas tree that still looks warm and festive:

  • Make your tree the focal point of your design. If you place it near another strong element of your room such as a mantle, keep the mantle decoration especially spare so as not to deflect attention from your tree.
  • Consider a pre-lit artificial tree with no dangling wires for a clean, uncluttered look.
  • Choose a natural or artificial tree with a simple, geometric profile. Both soft and severe profiles work well for minimalist decorating as long as the tree is clean-lined (not lumpy) and fairly symmetrical.

  • Be selective about your ornaments and don’t overload the tree. Smooth round bulbs or jagged icicle-styles both work. Avoid stuffed animals or overly complicated ornaments.
  • For a fun, very minimalist selection of ornaments, hang small, simple metal cookie cutters tied with ribbon to your tree.
  • To add a little warmth, hang a few ornaments that are distinctly personal such as representations of a family member’s hobby or perhaps a memento of an anniversary or vacation.
  • If your space is limited, a large tree may overwhelm a minimalist display. Consider a small tree, perhaps one that fits on a table or in a window.

Minimalist Garlands & Wreaths

A minimalist approach doesn’t mean having to give up traditional wreaths and garlands:

  • Wreaths: With their simple geometric shape, wreaths are often perfectly suited to minimalist décor. Choose one that conforms to your chosen color scheme and is unique in texture or structure. You might want to display a wreath decorated with winter blossoms, feathers, vines or berries.
  • Garlands: When used sparingly, garlands are also nice minimalist accents. Choose one or two that fit your color palette and are made from interesting materials. You might want to hang one over the top of a window or around a railing.

Uncluttered Christmas Lights

Feel free to use lighting in your minimalist design; the trick is not to overdo it. A few simple strands of white Christmas lights bordering a room won’t distract the way flashing multicolored lights wound around every single piece of furniture would. If you prefer natural lighting, a few strategically placed white candles and a roaring fireplace create a calm and gentle effect.

Finishing Touches

To complete your Christmas design, add a few artfully arranged Christmas accents:

  • Hang a Christmas stocking for each family member. Choose solid colored or very simple patterned stockings in your color palette.
  • Arrange a spare, elegant Nativity scene that fits your color scheme and the general feel of the room.
  • Display a simple wooden bowl filled with scented pinecones, berries and sleigh bells.
  • Remove non-holiday pictures from their frames and replace them with simple Christmas-themed art.
  • Hang a few paper snowflakes in your windows.
  • Fill a tall glass vase with Christmas balls for a centerpiece.
  • Tie a simple, elegant ribbon around the stem of each wineglass you use for serving.

With an uncluttered, minimalist decorating plan, your home will look festive while still remaining calm and sophisticated. Buy choosing fewer and more simple design elements, you’ll also be able to get your home ready for the holidays with a lot less time and effort, setting the stage for a peaceful and stress-free Christmas.



Last Updated: December 13, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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