From a priest:
Read the black, and do the red seems to work well. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] I am training a new liturgy coordinator. She will be in charge of the environment in the church. In the past that meant flowers and banners. Are there any Magisterial documents on this topic? How are we to decorate our church. We do have antependiums made with specific liturgical colors, what other criteria are there?
Good question. First, I’ll guess you are in the USA. The US bishops have a document about these matters called “Built of Living Stones“. I am not much impressed with certain aspects of it, such as their (purposely?) inaccurate rendering of GIRM 299 about the position of the altar. But that is not your main concern. BLS may be a little squishy but perhaps it could be a good starting point.
I will open this to the readership. Perhaps priests in parishes can help you out with this one. I’ll be interested to see the advice.
For my part, antependia are good. I would do things the old way and avoid flowers during Advent and Lent. Don’t overdo it at Christmas and Easter. Potted plants should be forbidden through interdicts and latae sententiae excommunications. If I hear that you have arranged pumpkins and dead branches and corn cobs around the place for Thanksgiving, I may have to hunt you down. If I ever hear that you have allowed the “reconciliation room” to be pimped out with a little table, a fat candle, and a little bowl of pebbles, I will hunt you down. At the first appearance of anything with a rainbow on it… well… it gets worse from there.
I think what you see in church should make you think about the Church Militant, Suffering and Triumphant and about the transcendence of God even before the humility of Christ and his Passion and Resurrection, pointing always back to the central position of the Eucharist in the church. Things which don’t do that … well… just get rid of them. And get rid of anyone who suggests pebbles anywhere, anything tie died or finger-painted, and just about anything that looks like it could have been worn in a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western.
Finally, depending on the space, sometimes less is more.
PS: Convert the reconciliation room immediately to a real confessional with a fixed barrier and grate.