A Vancouver, BC-based interior plantscaping design professional surrounded by a stunning landscape of mountains, forests and oceans, I am constantly bringing elements of nature into my designs. As I visit with dozens of businesses in the hospitality, retail, transportation, and commercial real estate industries, the trend for the 2012 holiday season clearly favors bold colors that are creative and playful and convey positivity and environmentally-friendly design.
Deck your halls this Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa season and delight and surprise your guests by transforming your space into a breathtaking environment that embodies the holiday spirit.
When designing your holiday theme, begin with the main focal point feature and start with the large decor piece first and then add smaller accent pieces around it to complement and enhance the space. Focus on less travelled areas for the most visual impact. Some key focal features to consider in your holiday décor mix include:
- Glass vases filled a 1/4 with ornaments
- Package/gift boxes stacked (tower) 5-feet tall
- Cascading ornaments suspended from ceiling
- Dogwood branches lit with LED "brown cord" lights adorned with clear round ornament balls filled with orchids/floral stems
- Live potted Norfolk Island Pines which can thrive afterwards for many more years indoors- great for sustainability
- Engage the senses with fragrance and texture with Eucalyptus and cinnamon sticks
- Consider using ribbons instead of bows as ribbons cascade naturally over trees and other decor
Incorporate the following suggestions into your eco-friendly holiday design:
- Theme and Color Come First: Determine your theme and preferred colors as step one in building a holiday environment. Pantone, the authorities on color, dubbed Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange hue as the color of 2012. This holiday season, we are following Pantone’s cue with a lot of vibrant colors that convey happiness and positivity. Rich jewel tones, fuchsia, electric blue, turquoise, apple green also create a positive happy synergy.
- Lighting: Crystal chandeliers and battery operated candles are hot trends for holiday 2012 as people look for warmth, sparkle and shine. Chandeliers created from flowing crystals and rhinestones dripping off metal tree stands, branches and floral arrangements add elegance and a sense of arrival. The reflective quality of the material brings depth and interest to any design.
- Organic Cheer: A naturalistic trend—mixing permanent botanically-accurate replica plants made with authentic, dried stems and flowers from natural plant materials or with silk and plastics alongside live plants— is taking root this holiday. Hydrangea, yarrow, moss balls, bamboo and reindeer moss are some of the permanent botanicals on trend this season.
- Nature inspired: Holiday trends include recycling old ornaments by wrapping fabric around them and tying with ribbon, and using burlap ribbon, leaves, berries, pinecones and recycled paper. The organic trend also favors celebrating nature with artificial birds including owls being popular this season.
- White Goes with Everything: White is seen as clean, pure, fresh when paired with most any color and it can bring a fresh new look to almost any color imaginable.
- Mini Matters: Replica tabletop Christmas trees can define the splendor of the season without harming the environment. Pairing a mini tree with glass vases quarter filled with ornaments and holiday spice fragrances is transformative. A four to five foot tall table top permanent botanical tree lit with LED lights in containers can be placed on coffee tables to brighten up even the smallest spaces.
- Antique Pastels: Reawakening, insight, dreamy are just a few descriptive words to describe the renaissance of pastels including soft, robin-egg-blue that are taking hold this holiday.
About the author: Joanne Craft is an Ambient Designer, Pacific Northwest Region for Ambius the world’s leading provider of plants for the workplace. Prior to joining Ambius, Craft worked in the hospitality sector for over a decade. She can be reached at
Images: Joanne Craft