Neutral Christmas decor — how to ace the minimalistic aesthetic, according to interior experts

Think neutral Christmas decor is a snooze fest? Well then, you're seriously mistaken

Neutral living room with nesting tables
(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

We certainly don't intend to disrespect red and green, but neutral Christmas decor is making its way onto the scene for a new take on holiday celebrations. And no, that doesn't mean "boring." 

Even if you decide to ditch the kitschy quintessential tokens and opt for a more sophisticated look, Santa will still make his annual pitstop. If anything, he'll appreciate the glow-up, as it probably creates a clearer path to the milk and cookies.

So while you're planning out apartment Christmas decor ideas, why not allow the Scandi-inspired aesthetic to bring a white Christmas indoors? (Even if there's no snow in sight outdoors.)

How to use neutral Christmas decor this holiday season

Although we might equate softer tones to something dull, when done right, they're a lovely take on seasonal festivities. 

"The elegance of neutral-toned Christmas decor brings a sense of understated luxury," says Jamie Young, the founder of Jamie Young Co. "It’s incredibly versatile and can seamlessly blend with your existing furniture and décor easier than bolder Christmas colors."

Trust us, you're going to be rocking around the Christmas tree when you see how gorgeous your place looks thanks to these genius tips. But since it's the year of Barbie, we wouldn't blame you for stocking up on some pink Christmas decorations, too, for good measure.

Jamie Young

For over two decades, the husband and wife team of Jamie Young Jeter and David Jeter have worked together as Jamie Young Co., using their love of art, architecture, and adventure to craft approachable, design-driven pieces to bring together a wide range of handcrafted designs inspired by near and far.

1. Incorporate textures

a shelf of neutral christmas decor with a variety of textures from blythe interiors

(Image credit: Blythe Interiors + Natalia Robert)

If your ceramic trees, candle jars, and ornaments err on the side of ivory, it's important to incorporate textures to give the look a little pop and add depth, according to Young.

"Mix in soft plush throws, rustic wood, and metallic accents to add depth and visual interest," she recommends. "Also consider bringing in natural elements like pinecones, birch branches, and holly that can create the ambiance of the winter holidays without being too commercial."

All food for thought while you peruse the lovely Nordstrom holiday gift shop and Anthropologie holiday collection

2. Add gold

neutral christmas decor with gold accents from jamie young co.

(Image credit: Jamie Young Co.)

It's time to get a little sparkly! Neutral definitely doesn't mean colorless, and you should consider silver and gold the perfect underscore to those cream-colored knickknacks. 

"Don’t be afraid to add some subtle silver and gold sparkle with ornaments and other accents to introduce a touch of holiday glimmer," Young adds. 

3. Mix colors

netural christmas decor on a black shelf by jamie young co.

(Image credit: Jamie Young Co.)

Yes, colors are allowed when attempting a neutral scheme, but you have to be intentional about it. 

"As a rule of thumb, aim for two to three key colors as a theme, even if they’re different tones of the same color," says Annica Wallin, executive creative director at Desenio. "When choosing these colors, it’s good to consider the color scheme of the room first. Select shades that harmonize with your wall color, furniture, and accessories."

Getting a little crazy with color is definitely one of the Christmas decorating mistakes to avoid this year, folks.

Annica Wallin

Annica Wallin is the executive creative director at Desenio, an online retailer for stylish and affordable wall art with a Scandinavian touch.

4. Don't overpower the room

neutral christmas decor on a shelf

(Image credit: Blythe Interiors + Natalia Robert)

Though it seems our endorphins are in overdrive during the holiday season, it is definitely OK to scale back in the decor realm. 

"Overcrowding with holiday items can look cluttered and overwhelming," says Jennifer Verruto, founder and CEO of Blythe Interiors. "Less is more and editing is key!"

While yes, the idea is definitely to go for what you love, that doesn't necessarily mean you need to walk out of the store with everything in your cart. Leave some for the others attempting a minimalist approach, too. 

 “Choose decor that brings you joy during the holiday season and makes guests feel welcome without too many kitschy holiday-themed decorations," Verruto adds. "I see you, dancing Santa collection and singing, blinking reindeer!"

Jennifer Verruto

Jennifer Verruto is the founder and CEO of Blythe Interiors, a West Coast-based interiors that caters directly to clients: "From modern, to transitional, to coastal and anything in between, [Blythe Interiors] tailors designs to suit your preferences and needs, ensuring a space that's uniquely yours!"

5. Think long-term

anthropologie candle blue capri

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

Try to find a way of incorporating your neutral Christmas decor into your mix of fall aesthetics, whether it's thanks to a candle or a cute garland. Might as well try to get as much bang for your buck as possible! 

"By incorporating decor with longevity, you'll save time, space, and money," Verruto adds. "Invest in decor that isn't just for a specific holiday, but rather that can last you from fall through winter and even into the new year!"

Shop neutral Christmas decor

Feeling inspired? We don't know about you, but that Anthro candle is *definitely* calling our name. We'll catch you on the check-out line.


What are neutral holiday colors?

Neutral tones include whites, beiges, and even golds. The important thing to remember, though, is that you should aim for two to three key colors as a theme, even if they’re different tones of the same color, according to Annica Wallin, executive creative director at Desenio

Jennifer Verruto, founder and CEO of Blythe Interiors, says: "Ditch that bright red vase for a simple gold one instead. Something neutral, yet festive like gold, can easily transition to the following season’s decor."

This year, her business is turning tradition on its head, in terms of colors. 

"Our holiday decor embraces a more neutral, and whimsical vibe. Blush pinks, shades of soft greens, winter whites, and pops of gold blend together to create a fresh, unexpected yet striking display ideal for festive celebrations," she adds. 

What do neutral colors symbolize?

"Neutral-toned Christmas decor is very aligned with Scandi minimalism meeting the pure winter aesthetic in cool tones," says Annica Wallin, executive creative director at Desenio. "It evokes a sense of serenity and hope."

Why do people prefer neutral colors for their holiday decor?

It's all about preference, but some people prefer to switch things up on Christmas and opt for something with a cleaner feel — one that feels incredibly elegant and different from the rest. 

"Soft or warm white Christmas lights create a sophisticated holiday mood," says Jamie Young, the founder of Jamie Young Co.

In search of more holiday inspo? Now is the time to take a gander at fun Christmas tree themes and get planning so you don't end up like Charlie Brown. If you're feeling extra adventurous this holiday season, Coastal Christmas decor might be worth trying!

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.