How to decorate your Christmas tree

Real or artificial? Natural or sparkly? See our tips on styling your Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree 2

As the festive season draws closer, we all want our Christmas trees to look perfectly coordinated and on trend. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a beautifully decorated tree, but knowing where to start can be overwhelming. If you’re feeling inspired to create a stylish display with your Christmas tree, then look no further. Here’s our handy guide on how to decorate your Christmas tree like a professional.


Choosing a real Christmas tree

To start off, you need to choose the right tree for your space. There are, obviously, a few factors to consider here.

While the height is important, the width is another dimension that people often overlook.

Get around this by taking a length of string to measure the space you want to fill – you can then take this with you to assess the size of trees you’re looking at in store.

It’s also worth considering which type of tree you chose to take home, as each will respond differently to different conditions.

The needles on a Norway Spruce tree, for example, will drop soon after the tree is brought indoors, so it’s best purchased closer to Christmas. Ask the seller of the tree to advise on which is best for you and your family.


Choosing an artificial tree

If you’ve chosen to buy an artificial tree this Christmas, the choice can be equally overwhelming.

While it’s tempting to follow the latest tree trends, it’s good to remember that you’ll likely have the same artificial tree for a good few years. We advise choosing the most natural looking green tree. You can always add ornaments, flocking spray, ribbon, feather boas and tinsel to keep your tree up to date with trends.


Styling your Christmas tree

When you get the tree home, place it in the spot you want it to be and then trim the plastic netting. Avoid any temptation to do this outside prior to bringing it in – the journey indoors can damage the tree (hello, doorways!). You should then thoroughly check the base.

Normally, the tree is dressed from the angle we view it at, and while decorations may not weigh much, it’s amazing how much they can end up dragging a tree down to the floor. Get around this by attaching the top of the tree to the ceiling if it seems to wobble.


Spruce, spruce, spruce!

If your tree is artificial, sprucing is the most crucial step on the journey to a perfect natural looking tree.

We’re all guilty of opening out the branches without any real thought as to how a natural tree would look. Always make sure that you pull the branches out in different directions, some up, some to the side, some off at angles. If you’re struggling to figure it out, google real Christmas trees to get an idea of how it should look!

Plump it up

Sprucing is equally important for a real Christmas tree. If you’ve ever wondered why the trees styled by professionals seem fuller and lusher than the ones available to buy, don’t be fooled – these have been tweaked to perfection.

To achieve this look at home, don’t worry about clipping wayward branches – in fact, if you do have any bald spots, you can clip a branch or two from the back and then tie them to the trunk with some twine or floristry wire. Faux foliage (ie – ivy or, sprigs of eucalyptus) can be used to beef up the shape too.

Let it snow

If you’re planning to add some spray snow, the time is now. Don’t do it after the decorations (and especially the lights!) have been put on – the spray can end up clogging the twinkle. You should also let the snow dry for 30 minutes before proceeding.

Cover up

For artificial and real trees alike, you should hide the tree’s base. There is likely to be a period of a few weeks before any gifts are added, so hiding an untidy tree stand is essential.

For a professional finish, drape tweed throw or faux fur material around the base of the tree, or add stack of rustic logs. If you want to get even more creative, a hessian sack decorated with a large bow, a large log basket or even empty, wrapped parcels look amazing – plus, they can also be used to hide wires or plugs.


Lighting the tree

Pre-lit trees are great for those who struggle to light their Christmas tree evenly, although admittedly, half the fun is detangling the fairy lights, right?!

If you don’t have a pre-lit tree, make sure that your string of fairy lights is long enough for your tree. For a perfect tree you need at least 5-10m per 5ft tree. Wind lights from the top to the bottom, draping over and under branches. Don’t forget to drape the lights near the trunk of the tree – a professional Christmas tree will look lit from within, not just sparkly around the edges.

Choose a colour scheme

This step isn’t crucial, and we definitely don’t want anyone to throw away their treasured childhood decorations because they don’t fit the colour scheme, perfection is unique to us all!

In general, a sticking to a combination of two or three colours on your tree will help to tie each element together.

We recommend filling the inner branches with plain baubles and tree fillers – tinsel, beads, feather boas – of similar colours, and then placing your more decorative and sentimental ornaments on the outer branches.


Baubles, oh baubles!

Speaking of tree ornaments, there is a balance to be found when arranging the placement of your baubles. Try not to place too many large ornaments towards the top of your tree otherwise you may find it looks top-heavy.

Try to put sparkly/metallic things near fairy light bulbs as they will sparkle and shimmer in the glow of the lights.

Add a personal touch!

A beautiful tree is ultimately just a beautiful tree, but what makes it truly special is the decorations that you use – some can hold a lifetime of memories, some can make new memories. What makes it special is that it is your tree filled with things that make you smile and feel happy. Plus, don’t forget your pets (read how to pet proof your Christmas tree here) – they’re part of your house too, so get a special decoration just for them.

Personalised baubles can be found in many high-street and online stores, but to achieve the same impact at home for a fraction of the price, try using glitter glue and metallic permanent markers on existing ornaments to add your own stamp.

Handmade decorations can also inject personality into your tree. You can get as adventurous as you like, from crocheted ornaments to quilled masterpieces. For novice crafters, try buying 25mm wide organza ribbon and following a YouTube tutorial for bows then dot them around your tree – vintage but classic.


If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail

Although this statement doesn’t sound full of Christmas spirit, if you have a fake tree, always make sure that you pack it away as tidily as you can. This will prolong the life of your tree and ensure it looks great year after year. (This will also help to make it easier to put up, too).