The 6 Hottest Holiday Decorating Trends of 2021 (& 2 That Are Officially Over)

If there were ever a year to go all out with your holiday decor, this is it. After 2020’s (somewhat somber, often lackluster) micro-celebrations, it seems everybody’s making up for lost time with a more-is-more approach to decking the halls. And as they start planning their decor, a lot of people are taking things in one of two totally fresh directions, which reflect two major design movements over the past year: the colorful, retro Memphis aesthetic or the minimalist-but-make-it-natural organic modern approach. After culling trend reports from Etsy and home decor marketplace Riverbend Home and gleaning insights from The Great Christmas Light Fight host and designer Taniya Nayak, here are the top holiday decorating trends to consider as you start untangling those Christmas lights.

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This is the year we’re bucking tradition. Green and red are a classic holiday color combination, sure, but 2021 is all about expressing your individual tastes, right down to the garlands and ornaments on your tree. Etsy has seen searches for colorful, pastel and neon-hued holiday decor surge 47 percent year over year. That doesn’t mean green and red is dead; it simply underscores “there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate the season,” explains Etsy’s trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson. Think flecked pink wreaths, neon-and-gold-leaf metallic ornaments and holiday cards featuring the squiggly, abstract shapes popular in Memphis design.

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Remember how every millennial chic home on Instagram seemed to have a neon sign somewhere a few years ago? Well, neon signs are back—only not as everyday wall art. Etsy has seen searches for custom or personalized neon signs rise 228 percent this year. The most popular ones feature “Merry Christmas” in a retro-inspired script font, which is right in line with the next trend on our list.

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Pops of neon and abstract shapes are right in line with Memphis decor—and retro diners. Riverbend Home and Nayak dub the look “retro nostalgia,” since they’re seeing particular interest in 1950s-style glass ornaments, often in bright pastels and vintage chartreuse, blues and pinks. So basically, now’s the time to scour your attic for treasures you’ve long overlooked: “Decorations that were in your grandparents’ home are chic again,” the team at Riverbend Home shared (which shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s noticed the sudden rise in sales of floral sofas).

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Inflatables delight little kids, but having a six-foot-tall Minion in a Santa hat in your yard can get old fast (not to mention look like a pile of trash when it’s deflated during the day). If you want to make an impact in a new way, Nayak recommends trying giant ornaments instead. They have a retro-meets-Honey-I-Shrunk-the-Kids vibe that’s just as playful as the blow-up characters, only a smidge more sophisticated.

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If all of the glitz and in-your-face colors feels like too much for you, consider leaning into the organic modern look. It’s a toned-down take on holiday décor, focusing on creating a sense of calm in what can be a chaotic season. The palette is a mix of neutrals and earthy, muted hues (like greens and blues) that weave in elements of nature. Incorporate things like woodland creature ornaments (up 33 percent in search, according to Etsy), plant-patterned menorahs and driftwood tabletop trees.

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Dried florals have been trending all year long, so it makes sense that Etsy’s seeing skyrocketing interest in wreaths made out of them too (up 68 percent year over year, in case you’re curious). The colors are a little more muted, the overall look a little more rustic; though if you want a pop of color, consider a style that incorporates dried citrus or peonies and lavender.

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