Designers Love This Trendy, Controversial Color of Christmas Tree, and It’s Not What I Expected at All

published Dec 16, 2021
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If you think that jazzing up your space for Christmas means sticking to traditional reds and greens, allow me to expand your horizons. While last year might have been all about gold Christmas trees, this year there’s an orange effect taking place, at least on these designer-decorated trees by Michel Smith Boyd of SMITHBOYD Interiors and Rayman Boozer of Apartment 48.

Certainly an unconventional color choice for a tree — and maybe even a little controversial because it veers so far from tradition — orange provides a lot of creative freedom when it comes to styling. You can go the elegant or playful route, and if you’re a more is more type of person when it comes to decorating for holidays, you can put your orange tree up at the start of October and allow it to evolve throughout the rest of the year. Go spooky for Halloween, harvest-themed for Thanksgiving in November, and then find a new colorful but still festive take on Christmas for the month of December.

“I thought an orange tree would be a great compliment to the bright blues and grays in my space,” says Boozer of his Treetopia orange tree, which you can see the picture above. “Also, I’m obsessed with Hermès, and I thought it would be fun to throw some orange boxes under the tree.” Boozer did decide to keep his ornament selection relatively simple, and he incorporated three types into his setup: classic ball ornaments in a pearlized finish in two sizes, glittered pinecones, and tassels. “This will make your tree more constant and look more put together,” he says on the tight curation.

Living in a space that’s outfitted with many blue pieces, Boozer chose an orange tree because he knew it would make a statement and play up his existing decor. “My apartment is mainly blue,” he shares. “Blue and orange are complementary colors, meaning they are opposite on the color wheel and work well together. Look around your surroundings and try to see if you could tie in a fun colored tree this year.”

Boyd, too, believes that bold is the way to go in terms of Christmas trees. “You only get to decorate a tree once a year, so why not go all out?” he says. “I prefer a maximalist tree, packed with color and whimsy. I suggest adding layers with unexpected elements like florals, which make natural bald spots look full and luxurious.”

What else has orange tones and is full of whimsy? Leopard print! Boyd utilized this classic pattern in the form of a spicy tree skirt — now mostly covered by gifts. “As an interior designer, it’s hard for me not to incorporate a print somewhere,” he says. “I decided to let my favorite leopard [pattern] live low as the tree skirt this year. The tonal browns of the leopard work perfectly pared back to the rich chocolates in the art and tree.”

That’s the nice thing about orange: It’s quite the chameleon. You can use it as the base for a more technicolor tree, like Boozer did, or it can read as neutral if you stick to accents in the brown and beige family, which is how Boyd decked out his tree. It might be too late to jump on the orange bandwagon this year, but it’s a color to consider for the future, especially if you see an orange tree on clearance come Dec. 26.

Finally, Boyd says, be sure to be strategic about the way in which gifts are displayed under your tree to enhance your setup, no matter what color tree you have. “Why build this beautiful tree and then let tacky holiday paper ruin it?” he says. “Use the same principles from your tree for your gift wrapping.” For Boyd specifically, this means starting with neutral gift paper and then adding ribbon that complements the colors on the tree. “For added depth, I use velvet ribbon to bring the same sumptuousness as the tree to the gifts as well,” he says.