Kitchen Christmas decor ideas – 25 festive design tips
Give your cooking space the festive treatment with these kitchen Christmas decor ideas
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Kitchen Christmas decor ideas are easily overlooked – but as the engine room of the festivities, the kitchen should feel as merry as every other room in the house.
The kitchen is often called the heart of the home, and this statement is at its most true at Christmas time. This central hub is not only where meals are prepared and eaten, but also where the family gathers to partake in traditions, where guests mingle during a party, or where you steal a second to enjoy a coffee and a mince pie. With the kitchen playing such a vital role in the celebrations, it is important that you don't forget to incorporate Christmas decor into your kitchen ideas.
Kitchen Christmas decor ideas
As the big day approaches, your kitchen will be in overdrive – whether that's prepping the turkey or baking mince pies. From generous garlands draped from the shelving to displaying your holiday crockery, we’ve put together a host of kitchen Christmas decor ideas to give you some inspiration and have also asked the experts for their Christmas decorating ideas.
‘The heart of the home, the kitchen sees the most foot traffic throughout the day, particularly during the most wonderful time of the year, whether that is for Christmas dinner prep, festive drinks, or celebratory meals,’ says Melissa Klink, head of design at Harvey Jones (opens in new tab). ‘No longer serving as just the space to prepare food, the kitchen is where the fondest and most meaningful memories can be made.’
1. Go all out with a Christmas tree
If you have the space then adding a Christmas tree is one of the best kitchen Christmas decor ideas and will instantly imbue your kitchen with seasonal cheer. Accessorize shelving with foliage placed in festive crockery along with cookware and linens in a red and white scheme.
'We spend so much time decorating the rest of our homes at Christmas that the kitchen can feel, comparatively, a little unloved,’ says Ben Burbidge, managing director of Kitchen Makers (opens in new tab). ‘Embellish the surfaces with a handful of carefully chosen decorations or artfully arrange sprigs of seasonal foliage to lift the space.’
2. Make a display from your tableware
When it comes to kitchen Christmas decor ideas, start by using the items that are already in play in your kitchen. 'I typically use more colorful tableware for Christmas, so putting pieces in more prominent places, such as on a dresser or shelving, can add a subtle touch of color that feels festive,’ says Kevin O’Gara from Kevin Francis Design (opens in new tab).
Bringing out a festive dinner set for a Christmas meal is a joy – and while they will eventually end up among your Christmas table ideas on the big day, let them charm your guests in the days prior by putting them on display in the kitchen.
To add a further decorative edge, intertwine shelves with fairy lights and fill a terrine with jewel-colored sweets or a dish with clementines. ‘Citrus is one of my favorite decorating tools during the winter as the colors are so beautiful at this time of year. Keeping a bowl of citrus on an island or dresser makes a beautiful and easy feature.’
3. Create a bar area for festive tipples
No festive celebrations are complete without a tipple or two, so keep the drinks cupboard well stocked and easily accessible. By storing drinks and nibbles away from the main cooking area, you will also ensure that guests don’t get under your feet while you are cooking. Then give the space a festive flair with red glassware and candlelight.
If you don't have the space for a dedicated drinks cabinet consider dressing up bar cart ideas or home bar ideas.
4. Dress the windows
Even the practical rooms of the home shouldn’t escape the festive cheer. Decorate your windows with Christmas garland ideas and swags of foliage that will brighten your home both inside and out. You can even make a garland yourself from Christmas foliage ideas.
If you’re lucky enough to have a window seat in your kitchen, pair it with Christmas window decor ideas such as jewel-toned cushions in sumptuous velvets to create a cozy nook – ideal for taking a moment with a cup of coffee.
5. Get out the paint
If you are seeking a last-minute way to refresh the look of your kitchen, then it’s time to pick up the paintbrush. There are plenty of great painted kitchen ideas that will reinvigorate the space before the festive season.
‘There is no quicker, easier, more affordable way to wow over the festive season. Any plain surface is an opportunity for decoration. Echo the color palette of small design touches, such as painted vases, with bigger items like walls and cupboards, to create a well-considered space,’ says Annie Sloan (opens in new tab). ‘Here, we used Satin Paint in Knightsbridge Green on cabinets, and designed a geometric pattern, made with Chalk Paint in Primer Red on the flooring for a stylish yet comfortable space.’
6. Don't forget to add decorative details
One of the simplest yet most effective ways to incorporate kitchen Christmas decor ideas into your space is to take time to create decorative vignettes filled with cheer. Giving the kitchen a festive feel is a great way to bring warmth into what is typically a functional space. Here, vases of winter blooms, surrounded by a selection of Christmas card ideas and baubles, all lit by candlelight, make for a pretty display when the island is not in use.
Take your kitchen Christmas decor ideas to the next level by learning how to create a winter flower arrangement with this expert guide from Philippa Craddock.
7. Hang decorations from beams
Small kitchens should not be excluded from the kitchen Christmas decor ideas.
'The kitchen is an incredibly busy space, and while we may want to introduce festive elements to this interactive space, if your kitchen is small then it is worth keeping Christmas ornaments away from kitchen countertops and food prep areas,' says Suzy Humphreys, founder of Layered Lounge (opens in new tab). 'Instead, hang foliage and decorations from the ceiling or beams for a festive scheme that won't encroach on Christmas dining prep.'
8. Incorporate social areas into your kitchen
If you're hosting Christmas parties this year, ensure that your kitchen Christmas decor ideas give guests a warm welcome. Factor in plenty of social spaces so that the kitchen doesn’t feel disconnected from celebrations.
‘Guests at a dinner party will want to interact with the host while they prepare the food, so ensure the seating area around the island counter does not interfere with the cooking stations,’ says Tom Howley (opens in new tab), design director at the eponymous kitchen design company. Create zones through the layout and lighting schemes, as well as with décor. Food displayed on trays and stands invites guests into the space, subtly shepherding them away from the chaos of the cooking area.
9. Add festive houseplants
Houseplants are a great addition to the kitchen all year round, however, come Christmas they will be particularly welcome. From the best winter house plants to the best Christmas flowers and plants, the greenery and colorful blooms will help to breathe new life into your kitchen.
One of our favorites is the Christmas cactus. If you already know how to grow a Christmas cactus, then you'll know that they are perfect for the kitchen due to their low maintenance and durability.
Whichever varieties you choose, make sure you know how to care for house plants in winter to ensure you get the best from them.
10. Look to nature for decorative inspiration
‘I always think it’s best to deck your halls from the garden,’ says florist Nikki Tibbles of Wild at Heart (opens in new tab). ‘Rather than cliched poinsettia, I like a big vase of branches – a mass of holly, lichen, pine or something evergreen – in the entrance hall or on the kitchen table.’
Incorporating winter’s natural bounty into your holiday decorations is a tried and tested winner. Choosing individual branches of eucalyptus or other evergreen foliage and arranging them in a relaxed way works well in more contemporary homes, but also adds a modern touch to farmhouse Christmas decor ideas.
11. Set a festive tone with mood lighting
‘Get creative with lighting,’ suggests Mike Head, Director at Atlas Ceramics (opens in new tab). ‘You can now buy adhesive strip LED lights, which are perfect to create atmosphere in your kitchen when you are hosting. You can place them above your hob, or under your cupboards for a cheap alternative to installing downlighters.’
Using lighting to set a festive mood can also be done with fairy lights. Here, strings of lights are weaved around the Christmas mantel decor ideas in a kitchen – alternatively, ball them up into mason jars and intersperse them among your storage jars. ‘Because mason jars and small light accents are so popular, you can even consider hanging them up with twine – helping to spread that homespun, Christmassy feeling throughout the entire house,’ says Michael Meiser, President at Lumilum (opens in new tab).
12. Drape your kitchen shelves with garlands
Long rows of shelving, the tops of kitchen cupboards, alcoves for stoves and windows looking out onto the garden – there are so many elements of kitchen architecture that are just crying out for a garland to decorate them this holiday season. Learn how to make a Christmas garland yourself for a totally unique addition to your kitchen, or invest in a readymade slug of pine sprigs (artificial or otherwise), dried oranges, pine cones, festive ornaments and more.
13. Cook up some scented magic
'My aunt is Swedish and at Christmas she always makes a traditional spicy drink called Glogg,’ says Angus Buchanan, Creative Director of Buchanan Studio (opens in new tab). ‘It is a type of mulled wine with the addition of ginger, cardamon and bourbon which permeates the house with the most incredible aroma – it’s been a staple on our Christmas table for years.’
Why wait until the big day to fill your kitchen with festive smells? Cooking up festive treats will not only taste good, but will also make your home smell nice as you await guests. Gingerbread is another winner – here, gingerbread stars have been used to create a culinary wreath for the kitchen.
14. Spruce up a cupboard door with a wreath
Wreaths are not just for your Christmas door decor ideas – nor are they strictly for Christmas wall decor ideas. In the kitchen, think about attaching one to the doors of your cupboards for an unexpected piece of festive detail. If you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in pantry, the door to this is also an excellent location for Christmas wreath ideas – perhaps scented with cinnamon and dried oranges to hint at the tasty Christmas treats located inside.
'As the kitchen is the heart of the home, and where you will most likely spend your time either entertaining or prepping, make sure that this space is merry and bright, says Andrea Childs, editor of Country Homes & Interiors.
15. Get the glow with candles
Christmas is also the optimum time to whip out your best candles. They’re a great way to add a sense of drama to a kitchen when it is being used as an entertaining space, or just as a little bit of luxury for yourself while cooking.
‘Candles, of course, never fail to please, mixed in displays with pretty, small bud vases which bounce the light beautifully,’ says Chrisse Rucker, Founder of The White Company (opens in new tab). ‘And don’t forget that lovely glass vases can often double up as storm lanterns too when you pop a candle inside. I use lots of scented candles throughout the house.’
16. Create a cozy seating area
During a long day of Christmas cooking, you deserve to give yourself a rest. For those little bits of time in between the next turkey-brining session and blind-baking the mince pies, create a corner of your kitchen dedicated to kicking back.
Borrow some pointers from your Christmas living room decor ideas and pile up an armchair with blankets and surround it with candles – place it near the range to ensure a cozy spot for a repose in the days leading up to Christmas.
17. Fill your kitchen with festive prints
Kitchens are filled with more soft furnishings than you might expect – and this means plenty of opportunities to inject a little bit of festive pattern. Swap your teatowels, oven gloves, seat cushions and aprons for seasonal alternatives, looking to Scandi-style for stylish inspiration. Enhance your kitchen Christmas decor ideas by swapping in a blind with a fun festive print, and do the same with your seat cushions if you want to go all out.
18. Set a dazzling dining table
If your kitchen is open plan, you’ll likely need to think about your kitchen decorations and Christmas dining room decor all at once. A dazzling dining table is an absolute must for a festive meal, but ensure it ties in well with your decoration scheme at the more functional end of the room. This has been done in this room with the continual use of lush evergreen branches.
‘Fresh green foliage makes a beautiful centrepiece, especially when paired with white or cream candles,’ says home stylist Kerry Lockwood (opens in new tab), who is partnering with ProCook (opens in new tab) this year. ‘Eucalyptus is always a favourite of mine, but you can also add seasonal texture with holly and ivy. It’s so simple to style, just ask your florist for around 8 stems of your favourite greenery and carefully arrange down the centre of the table.’
19. Ensure the island is an entertaining center
‘With numerous events taking place around the festive season, it is vital that the layout of the kitchen is both functional and allows for socialising,’ says Klink. ‘Creating a space that is adaptable for all occasions is key, from large family gatherings to smaller intimate meals with a loved one.’
As both Christmas traditions and kitchens modernize, more and more of us find ourselves entertaining in the kitchen at Christmas – with our kitchen island at the heart of the fun.
‘A kitchen island is ideal to create a center point in which all the guests can gather and the hosts can entertain. Whether toasting the new year or enjoying delicious canapés, an island is the perfect piece to combine cooking, dining and entertaining in an open-plan space.’
20. Use red for splashes of festive color
Kitchens don’t tend to be the most colorful parts of our homes – but Christmas is the perfect time to change that. An instant way to easily inject festive fun into a neutral kitchen is to add details in red – from cookware put on display to bows and flowers. It’s an emblem of Christmas that catches the eye instantly, is rarely seen in kitchens, and is a great way to signal a sense of magic falling upon the space over the holiday season.
21. Source a tree that can fit on the countertop
Make every room in your home festive with small details and decorative designs that work in any size space. Here, a delightful miniature Christmas tree nearly fits into an unused corner on the kitchen countertop.
'How charming does this dark blue kitchen look with its tabletop Christmas tree decor! It is possible to find small potted ones and you can decorate them using mini baubles. A simple garland across the range is also really effective. Pop candles and mince pies on your island and make up a few cocktails ready for guests,' says Andrea Childs, editor, Country Homes & Interiors.
22. Adorn your kitchen with twinkling lights
'This season we look to introduce a soft color palette of pine sprigs and sparkling gold accents for a simple yet traditional look this holiday,' says Emily Kelsey, Lights4Fun (opens in new tab). 'We bring festive touches into the heart of our homes with twinkling gold stars, wreaths, and garlands, decorating the kitchen for Christmas.
Adorn windowsills with warm white micro lights wrapped, forest green garlands, dotting ivory TruGlow candles in and around the foliage for a cozy display. Thread the warm glow throughout your kitchen with miniature snowy Christmas trees and votive TruGlow candles placed upon kitchen shelves, for the ultimate festive finishing touch.'
23. Use berries and eucalyptus to decorate platters
One of the easiest kitchen Christmas decor ideas is to add festive foliage to your kitchen. 'I am a great believer that we shouldn’t all wear ourselves out producing all the meals at Christmas time, it's much more important to have fun together,' says Mark Winstanley, chief creative officer at The White Company (opens in new tab).
'There are so many great delis and supermarkets that make things that are both delicious and ready to go. I often opt for simple things that work easily for larger numbers and then present them well on lovely big plates, platters, and glass-footed bowls. And while you’re prepping in the kitchen give yourself some festive cheer with the beautiful scent of eucalyptus and iconic berries that can be used to decorate the grazing boards later.'
24. Utilize the tops of cabinets and kitchen island
'If you don't have space for a tree in your kitchen Christmas decor ideas, you can still add a touch of festive style,' says Rebecca Nokes, head of design and brand creative at John Lewis of Hungerford (opens in new tab). 'Think about grouping candles in varying heights on a kitchen island to make a stunning centerpiece or draping festive foliage and twinkling lights over cabinetry. Hanging groups of baubles from shelves and utensil racks are also a quick and easy idea to add some holiday season charm to your kitchen.'
25. Fill a cake stand full of festive decorations
If you have a kitchen island, or even have some spare space after organizing your kitchen countertops, then use these areas to embrace kitchen Christmas decor ideas.
'We love to use a large lantern in the middle paired with a statement wreath, a beautiful glass bowl filled with baubles, or an elegant cake stand with a glass cover filled with Christmas ornaments,' says Suzy Humphreys, founder of Layered Lounge (opens in new tab). 'They can be easily moved if you need the space back but add a focal point to an area where people will usually gather around.'
How can I decorate my kitchen for Christmas?
As a highly functional part of the home, any kitchen Christmas decor ideas need to be well planned so as not to interfere with your – occasionally frantic – festive cooking. While there may be oodles of worktop space that can be filled with vases of holly branches and more, you’ll have to position these carefully to lesser-used parts of the room. Wall decor, like wreaths, is great for decor that is easy to maneuver around, while garlands strung along display-focused shelving, interjected with candles is another excellent choice.
What rooms do you decorate for Christmas?
The answer to this is simple – any and as many rooms as you want! While the likes of the living room, the dining room, and hallway Christmas decor ideas tend to be the areas that people think of first, there is no reason to stop there. The kitchen deserves some attention, whether it’s used as a space for entertaining, or simply to cheer the area for those who are tasked with all the cooking. You can even look to decorate your bedrooms to delight any overnight guests or children, and even the bathroom can benefit from a vase of baubles on the window sill.
What do you put on top of cabinets for Christmas?
You should put string lights on top of cabinets for Christmas. This will give the whole space a festive ambience. You could go a step further and decorate the space on top of cabinets with garlands or tinsel.
How can I decorate my kitchen for Christmas?
The easiest way to decorate your kitchen for Christmas is with festive foliage – think garlands, wreathes, vases of winter greenery and even Christmas house plants. This will instantly give your kitchen a Christmas ambience without overwhelming the space. You can take the look a step further by adding string lights to create a cozy atmosphere.
Ailis started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. She then spent three years at the London Evening Standard, covering restaurants and bars. After a period of freelancing, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures, she started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing her to fully indulge her love of good interior design. She is now a fully fledged food PR but still writes for Homes & Gardens as a contributing editor.
- Holly ReaneyContent Editor and Sub-editor
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