Daphne’s, Chelsea

With Christmas fast approaching, and decorations popping up across venues, we take a look at the big picture of how to dress F&B spaces for the festive season, the possibilities and the intentions behind decisions taken. 

With Christmas fast approaching, and decorations popping up across venues, we take a look at the big picture of how to dress F&B spaces for the festive season, the possibilities and the intentions behind decisions taken. 

Enhancing existing spaces with seasonal decorations is quickly becoming expected and the anticipation of the impact these have is growing. Christmas decorations are becoming a showcase of your brands personality and a display that becomes an extension of your thinking. 

Here are our top considerations for creating the perfect Christmas décor for your space – whether it is a bar, restaurant, café or hotel. 

Colour scheme

It doesn’t have to be red and green. There are many colour scheme possibilities, here are just a few:

  • Traditional twist – red, green, touches of gold, velvets, berries
  • Berry blush – pink & burgundy hues
  • Woodland luxe – jewel tones, royal blues, emeralds, woodland animals, coppers
  • Rainbow brights – neon clashes, full colour spectrum, disco balls
  • Playful pastels – soft hues, silvers, pastels, stains, ribbons
  • Au natural – neutrals, natural textures, dried flowers, clear glass, timber
  • Going for gold – stars, golds, champagnes, glitter
  • Candy cane dreams – white and red, candy canes, sweets

There’s always a new name for the theme as far as retailers are concerned, but mostly it bottles down to a category of themed items and a colour palette. For example, some twists on ‘going for gold’ are called ‘in the stars’ and sometimes ‘au natural’ is coined ‘evergreen bliss’ but the initial decision is to pick a scheme that compliments your space and your brand. 

Whether that’s through jumping on a trend and changing it up year by year to create a statement; by keeping it refined to a natural palette to visually present an eco-friendly message; or collaboration with a relevant brand or charity and theming to suit the mutual alignments you have. The decision you make must align with your values and intent to become a part of the space itself. 

Picking a Theme

Of course, you can stick to your brand palette, but you don’t have to. The form or the scheme can align with your naming or positioning instead. Called ‘Ellen’s Stardust Diner’? Go for gold and home in on those stars. Or are you a traditional sweet shop? Jump into your candy cane dreams. Give your decorations meaning and purpose. If your guests are invested in your brand, they’ll want to partake in the celebrations with you, and your decorations should reflect this. What’s better than your guests having their photo taken by the most desirable tree with their favourite cocktail in hand, stood beside their best friend? Them sharing it and tagging your location is easy user generated content!

If the space allows, why not zone your site into multiple themes? With some brands attracting different audiences with different wants and needs, zoning spaces to accommodate these guests can mean homing into smaller themes that will excite each of them. Not only does it allow you to target various guests but also provide a variety of experiences for those who revisit and want to experience something new each time. 


The Giving Tree, Aqua Shard


A great way to marry two brands in harmony during the festive season is charitable collaborations. For example, this year Aqua Shard have created “The Giving Tree, adorned with wooden toys and cuddly teddy bears – all destined to bring joy to the children at Great Ormond Street Hospital”. Guests can donate throughout December to bring some joy to those in the hospital over Christmas. 

Under the tree are essential food items ready to be gifted on to local food banks and they’ve also partnered with Bas Trimmer to keep the homeless warm this winter. A trio of giving brought together in one cohesive installation, representing a charitable attitude. 

Beyond the Tree 

Space and covers are critical at this time of year and finding the perfect home for the tree is just as difficult in F&B environments as your home itself. You don’t want to lose the best round table that’s always booked up, but you also want your guests to experience the decorations you’ve invested in. However, decorations go so much further than the tree itself, and they don’t have to include a tree if space isn’t something you have free. Just some of the alternatives are: 

  • The Façade
  •  Lights
  •  Adaptations to existing planting
  •  Ornaments
  •  Wreaths & garlands
  •  Messaging & comms

Albert Schloss, Manchester


Annabel's, Mayfair


Gotham, Manchester


The Churchill Arms, Kensington


A major one. Existing lighting within a space can vastly change the mood or feeling inside and outside that environment. But overlay Christmas lights and this can be even more impactful. From trailing lights in the windows, to wrapping existing structures or creating a lighting installation in its own right. 

Just as with your façade, consider the impact of these and the vision of these from all positions within the environment. Do you need to adjust your existing lighting scenes to accommodate these additions? The tone of the lighting is just as important as your colour scheme, it needs to align with your decorations and the tonality of your interior itself.

Adaptations to existing planting

Don’t have space for a tree, but already have a space dressed with planting? Treat this the same way! Add baubles and lighting to your planting. The greenery is your canvas, just like a tree would be. Play with the scale of these, dependent on the expanse of your planting, to create impact and a visual, seasonal change. 


The smaller touches, the moments to discover, the differing experiences. It’s not all about the big statement, some pieces can be more discrete, with ornaments cleverly placed within existing shelf dressing items, tucked between back bar bottles or just tabletop accessories. These smaller items can be varied throughout your environment and your inquisitive guests can revel in their discovery, which could be different to another’s. 

This could also become a storyline for social posts, with trends like ‘elf on the shelf’ taking front stage in recent years, your guests could follow along in one of your characters adventures both remotely to your venue and when they visit. 


PHD Terrace, Dream Midtown, NYC


Sushi Samba, Covent Garden


Duck & Waffle, Bishopsgate

Messaging & comms 

Treat the festive season with all the joy it deserves and have some fun, mix up your on-site comms and messaging (still in keeping with your tone of voice) but play into Christmas in all its glory. When determining your environmental theme/colour scheme, consider how you can adjust your comms of the season to align with this.

Comms don’t only have to be digital screens or printed collateral, they include the use of window graphics or even temporary LED neon signs, messaging can be added to enhance your scheme overall. 


Damson & Wilde, Bury St. Edmunds


Bills, Cambridge

The opportunity is vast, the possibilities are endless. It isn’t always ‘the bigger the better’, small additions to the space from lighting to ornaments can have a powerful impact both visually and on the overall experience. Consider scale, proportion, position, and the small touches, while enhancing your landscape for the festive season!

If you want help dressing your F&B space for seasonal occasions, get in touch. We love to add a seasonal flourish to add magic and memorability to hospitality spaces. 

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