Do More With Holiday Décor

by Katie Lee

Holiday trends in today’s retail design and interior plantscaping.

By Laura Burns-Lambert

With the holidays right around the corner, retailers across the country are getting into the holiday spirit. Designing holiday décor that adheres to specific retail brands during the season will create an environment where shoppers want to spend time and money, so it’s important to get a design perfect. While certain staples may remain in style year after year, each holiday season brings new trends that evoke a modern appeal. Stores looking to stay ahead of the curve this holiday season will have shoppers captivated with these evocative holiday design trends.

Greenery & Crystal

Pantone’s 2017 color of the year is not just one green, but all shades of the color. Their choice is spot-on for what many designers are focusing on for this year’s holiday installations, many of which will feature stunning work with a very organic appeal from designers who specialize in plants. Those working with this modern motif can take advantage of a variety of foliage — cypress, pine, magnolia, bay, succulents, salvia and more. Some of the most inspired and on-trend designs we’ll see this season will be like floral bouquets without the flowers — just a melody of greenery. Retail stores can brighten and add some shine to these flowerless designs highlighted by crystal and crystalline jewels. These more organic displays may also include other natural looking materials, such as burlap and unbleached paper, leaving out the showy bows and ribbons featured in more traditional holiday décor.

Holidays Abroad

For stores looking to draw in a worldly customer, a bohemian, international theme is emerging as a favorite this holiday season. A mixture of old and new textures and colors evokes the feeling of being in a far-off marketplace or bazaar. This theme can be accented with tree skirts made from vintage, printed rugs and handmade decorations with fabric garland. Packages around the tree should be wrapped in fabric, eschewing the traditional bows or wrapping paper. Designers working with this motif can use warm metals mixed with faded jewel tones to accent their décor, appealing to customers looking to expand their horizons.

Vintage Floral

Retail locations with a classic appeal can accent dark interiors with vintage-inspired floral arrangements and other decorations that help those colors stand out. With this design think rich velvets, fur, textures and deep, cozy colors with a pop of flowers and bright metallics that leap off the display. Designers with an eye for botany will make use of flowers of all shapes and colors, evoking a feeling of old luxury by combining these floral arrangements with dark wood accents, glass vases, terrariums and other antique features for classic installations that evoke classic, comfortable surroundings.

Hygge Holiday

A trend we’ve seen in a variety of places in recent years — the Danish philosophy of hygge (pronounced HUE-gah) — is making its way into holiday décor for 2017. The minimalist concept involves making spaces more welcoming and accommodating while keeping things simple. This translates to holiday décor utilizing woods, plain pine greens, and light yet solid color concepts. Through the use of clean lines with no frills, this design creates a simple, yet warm and inviting feel. Designers will take cues from Nordic winters, making use of minimalistic design composed of soft greys mixed with navy and a pop of red. Installations featuring this theme can be accented with cedar wood, woven baskets, fur, felt and yarn.

Plaid Mountains

Another throwback trend this holiday season is design that conjures images of cozy mountain getaways from the decades past. Imagine yourself at a ski lodge in a snow capped mountain village, dressed in warm knits and holding a cup of hot chocolate, then picture that aesthetic applied to the retail environment. Designers can capture this feeling by using warm plaids and a color palette of reds, hunter green, dark blue, and a touch of black. Accents for this motif can be made from weathered wood, matte metals, fresh pines, and pine cones to create a nostalgic feel straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalog from 1980. This type design conjures cozy holiday memories for shoppers old enough to remember that time while providing a hip-retro feel for millennial customers.

No matter what feeling retailers are trying to capture this holiday season, there’s a trend to help them stand out from the competition and create an environment shoppers want to walk into and remain for long enough to make a purchase. By considering the demographic of their target shoppers, decision makers can pick the look that’s right for them and their stores and craft an experience that creates a happy holiday shopping season for their customers and their bottom line.


— Laura Burns-Lambert is an award-winning sensory designer for Ambius, specializing in commercial holiday décor and floral design. She recently won a Platinum Award at the 2017 International Plantscape Awards for her work on the holiday installation at the Westfield Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, California. For more information, view her portfolio at

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