Putting up a Christmas tree isn’t rocket science, but there are a few secrets for how to decorate a stunning Christmas tree.
I always get compliments on our tree, and have friends who want help decorating their trees. Decorating the Christmas tree is totally my thing. It’s an event, and I get all giddy about it.
My stepmom used to pick out the biggest tree on the lot, and decorate it beautifully. Her trees were show-stoppers, and I definitely borrow some of my inspiration from her.
I also spent some time working with a local florist installing elaborate, themed Christmas trees at upscale shops and boutiques during the holidays where I learned the art of decorating a tree for maximum effect.
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This year, I might have gone a little overboard with three big Christmas trees. But really, is overdoing Christmas even possible? Nah.
We’ve got our main tree in the living room, a live tree from our first visit to a Christmas tree farm in the foyer, and a new flocked tree in our bedroom- and we’ll use the same method for decorating for three totally different looks.
These decorating secrets are simple, and can be applied to any tree, of any size, with any theme.
And, as you can see here, it’s super easy. This tree took about 45 minutes from start to finish including taking everything out out of the box, and a snack break for the kids.
Secret #1: It’s All About That Fluff
Make sure your tree is set up. If you have a live tree, check it out from all angles to find the best angle to be the front of the tree. If you have an artificial tree, spend some time fluffing the branches. Even if your tree says it has “magic” branches that don’t need fluffing, go ahead and fluff them anyway.
Investing your time in fluffing will pay off in the overall look of your tree in the end. Start at the bottom and fluff each branch making sure that the tips are alternating up and down to give the tree its full appearance.
Secret #2: Classic White Lights
If your tree isn’t pre-lit, you’ll want to add lights next. I always go with white lights (soft white if LED, NOT “daylight”). They’re classic and go with any theme. They provide a glow that showcases the ornaments without disguising them in random colors.
Make sure you’ve got enough lights on the tree. Don’t skimp on fluffing the branches or the lights- these two things set the stage for your awe-inspiring tree! Leave the lights on while you decorate.
Secret #3: Add Filler
If you’ve got some big gaps or have a tree that isn’t very full, adding some filler can make a big difference. Floral picks and sprays or nature items like pinecones or twigs are great for filling in gaps.
If you are doing a flocked tree, you can use polyfill to add extra “snow” and add dimension to the tree. The bigger the tree, the more filler you’ll need.
Secret #4: Add Garland
A garland is necessary for a stunning tree. It’s like putting clothes on the tree before putting the jewelry on. You can use actual Christmas tree garland, ribbon, burlap, metallic mesh, beads, popcorn…the options are endless! Get creative with what type of garland, but definitely use one.
Start at the top of the tree, and attach the garland with floral wire or pipe cleaners.
Secret #4: Make a Statement
A few oversized statement ornaments can give any tree a designer feel. I like to add 3-5 statement ornaments to smaller trees under 7 feet and 5-7 statement ornaments for trees taller than 7 feet.
Statement ornaments are a fantastic way to change up the theme of your tree from year to year or to establish a color scheme. I found these oversized glitter stars that are the perfect statement ornaments for my flocked tree.
Secret #5: Categorize
I like to separate ornaments into groups based on size, weight, material, color, and quality. If you do this when you take down the tree, it’s ready for next year!
Smaller, lighter ornaments go closer to the top. Bigger, heavier ornaments go toward the bottom. Special ornaments go toward the outside of the tree, but not hanging right on the tip of the branch. Felt or fabric ornaments go near the bottom if there are little ones.
Secret #6: Reach In
I love unique ornaments, and have quite the collection. I still like to have some standard round ornaments on hand because they are the key for adding depth to the tree. The first ornaments I hang are the ones that go deep inside the tree. Reach in and make sure there is some color or sparkle peeking through all over the tree.
Secret #7: Hang With Care
Hang ornaments as close to the tree branch as possible. If the ornament has a pretty string, you can use it and wrap the excess around the branch. Use floral wire, bobby pins, or pipe cleaners to attach the ornaments for a cleaner look than traditional hooks.
Ornaments should hang and not rest on branches, except for those obviously meant to perch on top of a branch like clip-on ornaments.
Secret #8: Mix & Match
Place ornaments on the tree with the big picture in mind. Hang ornaments with regard to color, size, shape, and texture. Aim to vary the placement so two of the same/similar ornaments are not next to each other.
Secret #9: Step Back
Take a step, and look at your tree often. You’ll spot clusters of the same color, bare spots, and changes to make more easily when you’re looking at the tree from afar.
Secret #10: Add More Filler
When the ornaments are in place, you may need more filler. Tuck in floral picks for color and sparkle wherever you need it.
Secret #11: Dress Up The Bottom
I’ve had a few tree skirts, but my style constantly changes from year to year so I don’t want to buy an expensive skirt that won’t last. I prefer to use a throw blanket or a tablecloth instead. Another inexpensive option would be to use a large basket you already have on hand and set the tree inside like a tree collar.
Secret #12: Finish Strong
Put the finishing touch on the tree with a topper. We have an heirloom angel that tops our main tree, but it’s fun to try different options too. Use ribbon to make a big bow or floral sprays and leftover filler items to create a splash of fun and wow-factor at the top.
And now my secrets are out. I’d love to see your tree- share with me over on Instagram!