Spread holiday cheer with your lights and outdoor displays, according to a professional decorator.

By Caroline Biggs
November 17, 2020
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Credit: Greg Pease / Getty Images

The only thing better than a home decked out in Christmas lights is a whole block dazzling in complementary holiday décor. "A neighborhood with coordinating holiday décor can look like a storybook winter wonderland," says Erin Swift of the Holiday Workroom. "Whether you and your neighbors all use the same size or color of lights, or simply hang the same wreaths on your door, it can make a big impact from a distance."

However, since decorating for the holidays is often personal, coordinating your Christmas décor with the neighbors isn't always as easy as it is attractive. "While some people steer clear of colorful blinking lights and over-the-top decorations, others love them," Swift explains. "The trick is to strike a balance by using a consistent color, item, or theme."

Interested in hearing more about how you can coordinate your exterior holiday décor with your neighbors? We asked Swift to lend her expertise and here's what she had to say. 

Plan ahead (with an open mind).

Swift says communication is key when coordinating holiday décor with your neighbors. "Make sure everyone you are working with is on the same page and has the same vision for decorating," she says. "Work with your neighbors to develop a concept and name your expectations sooner than later. Complementary decorations can be as simple as coordinating colors, so try not to overcomplicate the details to make things easier for everyone."

Pick a consistent color palette.

If you're having trouble getting your neighbors to agree on a coordinating Christmas décor concept, Swift suggests selecting a consistent color palette, like all gold or red and green, and then letting everyone do their own thing. "Once you've settled on a theme, everyone can move forward fearlessly with their own ideas," she says. "Once you do, you'll find ways to tie all the décor together with details like garland, tinsel, a bow or decorative accents."

Use similar Christmas lights.

For a simple way to coordinate your exterior décor with your neighbors, Swift recommends that everyone use the same kind of Christmas lights. "Lights that are uniform in size or style will help create continuation between houses, while allowing for creative freedom," she explains. "After you decide on coordinating lights, you can focus on your own home's unique architecture and landscaping when choosing where to display them."

Consider similar porch decor.

If you aren't feeling the idea of complementary Christmas lights, Swift says to consider coordinating some of your porch décor with your neighbors. "Whether it's garlands, ornaments, or a holiday wreath, using the same (or similar) decorative items and accessories on your porch creates consistency with your neighbors," she says. "The options are endless and once you pick an accent, you can decorate with it as much or as little as you see fit."

Don't neglect the driveway.

When all else fails, Swift says you can always count on coordinating driveway décor to make a festive holiday statement from afar. "Lining the driveway with lights or 'boxing out' the driveway (with pathway lights) can make an automatic impact," she says. "Additionally, consider having everyone do a chalk mural, to create consistency while allowing your inner artists to run wild."

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