The main objective of this work is the preparation of decorative zirconium oxynitride, ZrOxNy, thin films by dc reactive magnetron sputtering. Film properties were analyzed as a function of the reactive gas flow and were correlated with the observed structural changes. Measurements showed a systematic decrease in the deposition rate with the increase of the reactive gas flow and revealed three distinct modes: (i) a metallic mode, (ii) a transition mode (subdivided into three zones), and (iii) an oxide mode. The measurements of target potential were also consistent with these changes, revealing a systematic increase from 314 to 337 V. Structural characterization uncovered different behaviors within each of the different zones, with a strong dependence of film texture on the oxygen content. These structural changes were also confirmed by resistivity measurements, whose values ranged from 250 to 400 μΩ cm for low gas flows and up to 106 μΩ cm for the highest flow rates. Color measurements in the films revealed a change from bright yellow at low reactive gas flows to red brownish at intermediate flows and dark blue for the films prepared at the highest flows. Hardness measurements gave higher values for the region where larger grain sizes were found, showing that the grain growth hardening effect is one of the main parameters that can help explain the observed behavior. Also the peak intensity ratio and the residual stress states were found to be important factors for explaining this behavior.