The Kentucky Derby is one of the most iconic and beloved sporting events in American culture. Held annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, the Derby brings together mint juleps, fancy hats, and the finest Thoroughbred horses for an exciting day at the races. If you can’t make it to Churchill Downs, bringing some Kentucky Derby flair into your home is the next best thing. With a few easy decor updates, you can capture the refinement and Southern charm of the Run for the Roses. Here are some tips for grooming your rooms with Kentucky Derby decor.
Classic Kentucky Derby Colors
The traditional colors of the Kentucky Derby are royal blue, bright white, and golden yellow. Incorporate these preppy, equestrian-inspired hues into your decor to evoke the spirit of the races.
Blue and White Scheme
A classic blue and white color palette is easy to achieve. Add pops of royal blue using pillows, throws, table runners, or fresh flowers like hydrangeas. Crisp white walls, curtains, furniture, and accents will provide a fresh, bright contrast. For a nautical vibe, try navy blue and white stripes paired with polished nickel or brass accents.
Warm up the blue and white with golden yellow accents. Floral arrangements of yellow roses or sunflowers, yellow throw pillows or blankets, and golden candlesticks are sophisticated touches. Visit antique shops for treasured finds like gilded picture frames and glittering vintage julep cups.
Unique Color Combinations
Put a modern twist on the traditional palette by mixing shades like blush pink, mint green, peach, lavender, or coral with classic blue and white. The unique color combinations will give your space a fun, Derby-inspired look.
What better way to channel the Kentucky Derby than with horse-themed accessories? Tasteful equestrian decor lends a refined racing spirit.
Framed vintage horse racing posters make excellent Kentucky Derby wall art. Look for reproductions of posters advertising past Derbies or stakes races at famous tracks like Churchill Downs, Pimlico, and Belmont Park.
Horse Statues and Figurines
An elegant horse statue or figurine is perfect for bookshelves, end tables, and other display spots. Look for options made of bronze, porcelain, or fiberglass in graceful poses like heads bowed, rearing up, or mid-gallop.
Incorporate lucky horseshoes around your home or garden. Horseshoe-shaped throw pillows or wall hooks add flair while metal shoes can hold votive candles or potted plants. Above doorways is a traditional place to hang a horseshoe.
Custom art is a fantastic way to highlight your favorite thoroughbred champions. Order a portrait or print featuring legendary Kentucky Derby winners like Secretariat, Seattle Slew, or American Pharoah. Black and white photography of majestic racehorses captures their beauty and spirit.
Southern Hospitality Touches
Charm guests with decor details inspired by Kentucky hospitality and Derby traditions. These can be placed around your home prior to hosting a race day watch party.
Fresh Mint Centerpiece
A rustic mint julep centerpiece anchors your Derby decor. Display mint sprigs and metal julep cups filled with lemons and limes in a wooden mint julep bucket or galvanized tub.
Bourbon Bottle Decor
Bourbon is Kentucky’s signature spirit and a Derby mainstay. Upcycle empty premium bourbon bottles into unique candle holders or table vases with blooms like red roses peeking out. Group bottles together for a pretty display.
Set your table with crisp white or pastel linen napkins folded in elaborate shapes like roses, bow ties, or the iconic Kentucky Derby twin spires fold. This elegant touch adds Southern refinement.
Fun Paper Products
Paper plates, napkins, and cups featuring horse prints, jockeys, and the Kentucky Derby logo keep decor playful. Stock up on mint julep straws and cocktail stirrers too.
Derby Fashion Accents
The outlandish hats and dapper bowties of Kentucky Derby goers are iconic. Model the look in your home with:
- Vintage hats on display like wide brim straw sun hats.
- Framed ascots, neck ties, and men’s pocket squares mounted on the wall.
- Pretty pastel dresses displayed on mannequins.
- Hat boxes and hat stands holding your collection of stylish toppers.
Decorating By Room
Certain rooms like an entryway, living room, or dining room may be better suited for bold Kentucky Derby decor. Tailor the theme to the purpose of the space.
Greet guests with Derby spirit in your entryway. Hang a horseshoe wreath on the front door and line the walls with framed race posters. Set out mint julep candles and a basket of Derby Party welcome favors.
Build your Derby design around an anchor like an equine statue on the console table or an oil painting of horses over the mantle. Accent with touches like a plaid throw blanket, a mint julep pillow, and stacks of horse racing books.
The dining room is ideal for displaying Kentucky Derby entertaining essentials. Drape a horse race checkered table runner down the center of the table and top with a floral centerpiece. Hang bold jockey silks on the walls and display your best Derby dishes and linens.
When is the Kentucky Derby held?
The Kentucky Derby takes place annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky.
What are the traditional Kentucky Derby colors?
Royal blue, bright white, and golden yellow are the signature Triple Crown colors associated with the Kentucky Derby.
How can I incorporate horses into my Kentucky Derby decor?
Horse statues, framed race posters, thoroughbred artwork, horseshoe accents, and jockey silks are some ways to work equine themes into your decor.
What are popular Kentucky Derby entertaining ideas?
Mint julep centerpieces, bourbon bottle decor, elaborate napkin folds, Derby-themed paper products, and dishes that reflect Southern hospitality and charm are great for Kentucky Derby celebrations.
Should I decorate my whole house for the Kentucky Derby?
You can tailor your decor to specific rooms like an entryway, living room, or dining room where guests will be entertained without going overboard. Focus on anchor pieces in key areas.
With its refined traditions, excitement, and Southern charm, the magic of the Kentucky Derby can be brought into any space with the right decor details. Incorporating the classic regal blue, bright white, and golden yellow colors, horse-inspired accents, and hospitality-minded touches channels the spirit of the Run for the Roses. Decorate with your favorite pieces to throw a delightful Kentucky Derby watch party, showcase your equestrian style, or capture the elegance of this iconic American sporting event.