Trim Your Best Tree Ever
Learn what it takes to dress up a knockout, photo-ready Christmas tree from start to finish. Our designer takes you step by step through decorating a festive fir like this one.
Find out what it takes to dress up a knockout, photo-ready Christmas tree from start to finish.
MAKE IT TRULY YOUR OWN
Choose an individual color scheme or personality-filled ornaments to create a tree that really reflects your style. You’ll enjoy it more.
1. Make It Glow
Once you’ve picked the perfect tree and situated it securely in a stand that can handle the height of the tree and width of its trunk, wrap the branches with strands of lights. Choose your preferred style of bulb and make sure you pick a strand color that matches your tree. For example, if you have a white tree, look for white strands of lights. Also choose your bulb type. Traditional incandescent lights come in a variety of sizes and colors and produce a slight amount of heat, which helps release the pine scent of a real tree. Newer LED lights don’t produce heat; they are flameproof and fireproof, so they are good for homes with small children or pets. Wrap the strands from the bottom to the top of the tree. Push some lights closer to the trunk, and pull some out toward the tips of the branches to give the tree depth and dimension.
NOTE: One mistake people often make is not using enough lights; a good rule of thumb is 100 bulbs per each vertical foot of your tree.
2. Drape a Garland
Garlands are a fun way to add texture and enhance the body of your tree. Pick a garland that sets your desired theme; it can be made of rope, strands of popcorn and cranberries, or strings of beads, pom-poms, pinecones, twigs or other materials. Wrap the garland around the tree, from top to bottom, in a loose but even scallop shape. Slowly increase the amount of garland between each wave as you work your way down.
NOTE: Keep in mind that you’ll need approximately 9 feet of garland per 1 foot of tree height. 3. Wrap a Ribbon
Strands of ribbon can act as a second, complementary garland. Keep within your theme and choose either patterned or solid-colored ribbon of a different texture than your garland: felt, silk, mesh or even burlap. Twirl the ribbon around your tree in the same direction as the garland. As you work with the two different types of garlands, remember that thin beaded garlands look better draped from branch to branch, whereas thicker paper or ribbon garlands work best wrapped loosely around the tree.
4. Add Fillers and Hang Large Ornaments If
your tree looks a little sparse—or you just want a bit more glam—stick some fillers in among the branches. Floral picks, pinecones, berries and twigs all work wonderfully to fill holes and add extra texture, color and sparkle. If you find it easier, you could also insert fillers before stringing on the lights. Next, hang your largest ornaments on the branches and distribute them evenly. Don’t be afraid of very large ornaments, but keep them to a minimum: two to three oversize ornaments on a 6' tree, and three to four on a 9' tree. Hang larger ornaments in the open spaces and toward the trunk to add depth to your decorating.
5. Hang All Your Smaller Ornaments
All around the tree, hang the remaining smaller ornaments. Go for a variety of sizes, styles, shapes and colors to give your tree personality. Don’t cluster ornaments that are similar in color or size too close together. Hang lighter ornaments on the ends of branches and heavier ornaments closer to the trunk.
DON’T BE IN THE DARK
Be sure to test your light strands to make sure they work before placing them on the tree.
REMEMBER TO FLUFF
It’s important to let a real tree open up before decorating, or to fluff and expand the branches of an artificial tree when you take it out of storage.
6. Top It Off
Complete your tree by adorning it with a topper. This can be almost anything, made from almost any material: a burlap bow, a glass star, a wooden snowflake, a felt Santa hat, feathery angel wings—think outside the box here and express your creativity! Whatever item you choose, be sure it’s positioned safely and securely atop the highest branch. You may also want to add some decorative picks coming out the top of your tree to enhance your chosen topper.
7. Dress It Up
Give your tree a decorative base to finish the look. Wrap a tree skirt around the bottom to cozy it up and hide the tree stand. You could use a traditional skirt, or try something unique like a basket, galvanized bucket, scarf, tablecloth or even a simple swath of festive fabric.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
If you have a real tree, position it in the coolest part of your room. Keep it away from heating vents and radiators to prevent it from drying out too soon.