For Calgary’s Neelam Gurm, the holidays present the perfect opportunity to experiment. “I love getting to play around with different colours and different looks,” she says.

And though her Christmas decor is usually more traditional, the interior decorator and blogger decided to take a much simpler approach this year: “In the past I’ve used more golds and traditional colours, a lot of ornaments and decorations on the table, but this year was much more pared down.”“I really wanted to see if I could create a space that was warm and inviting and yet still expressed who I was,” she says.

The result? A cool, navy blue and white space that’s filled with natural elements (We can’t get enough of her birch Christmas tree!) and hints of glam metallic details.

6 Ways to Get This Cool Christmas Look



1. Think Outside the Box

“I quite like the challenge of choosing an unexpected colour and trying to make it look festive” says Gurm. This year, after stumbling upon a gorgeous salad plate at Homesense, she opted for navy blue. “It’s definitely more of a cooler palette, but it still feels warm and inviting,” she says. To prevent the look from being too dark, the colour only appears in select places (the velvet throw pillows, the dining table, and the gifts under the tree).


2. Play with Texture

To create interest in an otherwise neutral space, Gurm’s peppered her home with textural elements like the glossy ceramic plates that hang on the wall above the bar cart and the soft feathers that protrude from the African juju hat.  “I wanted a bright, white and open space,” she says.


3. Lighten Up

Gurm didn’t want a traditional fir or spruce tree. “It just felt like so much work,” she says. Birch trees proved to be a much simpler (read: lighter) option, allowing the pile of gifts to take centre stage. “I love how it turned out,” she says. The tree stump coffee table further adds to this natural, outdoorsy vibe.

4. Show Some Restraint

“I think it’s human nature to want to add more,” Gurm says, “but sometimes exercising a bit of restraint makes a space look more elegant.” Divide your holiday decor into different rooms or select only a few key accent pieces to showcase each year, she suggests.



5. Make It Cozy

Wanting your guests to feel comfortable is inherent to the holidays, says Gurm, who layered her sofa (and dining room chairs) with plush blankets, pillows and fur throws. Gold and brass elements also lend warmth—and a touch of glam—to the space.


6. Be Flexible

Each of the side tables in Gurm’s home can be used as extra seating: “Having furniture pieces that can move around is a bonus,” she says. Even though people tend to congregate in the kitchen, it’s nice to give them the option of sitting elsewhere (e.g. in front of the fireplace).

Originally published December 2016