Want to learn how to decorate a Christmas Tree like the pros? Check out the 7 secrets to properly designing the BEST tree ever!
This post is all about How To Decorate A Christmas Tree (Like A Professional)
Believe it or not, many design techniques go into decorating a stunning Christmas tree. Often it’s the centerpiece of the home for holiday gatherings and, if decorated just right, a hot topic of conversation.
Whether you’re decorating a 12, 9, or 7.5-foot tree, these SEVEN SECRET TIPS from the experts will help you make a bold statement this season while also calming any perfectionistic design tendencies you may have. And, if you’ve ever spent hours (or days) on Amazon looking for the perfect artificial tree but settled for one with Charlie Brown vibes, then you’ll also benefit from these tips that will help bring a lifeless-looking tree to LIFE.
While owning a grand Christmas tree is lovely, it’s certainly not mandatory. Let’s get into the SEVEN SECRET TIPS so you can begin decorating a tree that appears to have full branches, tons of bright lights, and drips with Christmas cheer.
How To Decorate A Christmas Tree (Like A Professional)
Tip #1: Buy A High-Quality Artificial Tree And Fluff, Fluff, Fluff!
If you want to decorate a designer Christmas tree, start investing in a high-quality artificial tree and spend the time fluffing its branches. The biggest secret behind tip #1 is that you DO NOT have to pay tons of money when purchasing a high-quality tree.
Of course, the bigger the tree, the more money, but there are a few ways to get around this. First off, if you find a tree you love, purchase it unlit. Often you can get a great deal this way, and tree lights are not expensive. Because a great tree is known for its sturdy branches and ability to withstand time, the lights on the tree should be the least of your worries.
Michaels has a sale every year starting in November, where you can get great deals on Christmas trees, and I’ve owned one of them for seven years now. Not one light has burnt out on the tree, and its branches easily fluff back to life when I take it out of the box. I donated that tree this year and invested in another Michaels Christmas tree with LED lights (7.5-foot), and I only spent $139! Let me tell you; it is gorgeous.
Fluffing Tree Tips:
Now, getting back to the fluffing. There are also many beautiful and affordable trees on Amazon but beware of some consumer reviews because if you haven’t already noticed, many will say they “wish the tree looked fuller” or “it doesn’t have enough branches.”
Often this is a quick fix that involves fluffing. Depending on the size of your Christmas tree, you should be spending 30 minutes to 2 hours fluffing those branches before anything else. My parents have a 12-foot tree, and we break the tree up into three sections, fluffing the bottom piece first, middle, and finally the top.
The experts say to fluff each branch of the tree. Pro Tip: Use work gloves to avoid poking, cuts, and skin irritations.
Looking to invest in a five-star Christmas tree? Check out King of Christmas. They are more expensive, but they come dripping with tons and tons of lights, but they also give you the option to purchase unlit trees. Once you read the reviews on their site, you’ll understand why I say five-star. And hurry, they always sell out fast!
Shop Best Artificial Christmas Trees According To The New York Times Below:
“Best Realistic and Most Attractive Tree,” Purchase the 7.5-foot National Tree Douglas Fir on AMAZON.
“Runner-Up,” Purchase the Puleo Spruce Tree on AMAZON.
“The Cadillac of Christmas Trees,” Purchase the Balsam Hill Tree on AMAZON.
“Dreaming of a White Christmas,” Purchase the National Tree in White on AMAZON.
“Slim Christmas Tree,” Purchase the Douglas Fir National Tree on AMAZON.
Tip #2: How To Decorate A Christmas Tree With Lights
You can NEVER have too many Christmas lights on your tree, like NEVER. So what’s the secret behind tip #2? String more lights onto your tree even if it’s prelit. The more, the merrier, promise!
How Many Christmas Lights Should I Buy?
If you want a Show-Stopping Rockefeller tree in your home, the experts suggest doubling the number of lights to 200 per foot of tree. That is, if you own an 8-foot tree, you’ll need about 16 boxes (100-light strands) of lights.
But the general rule of thumb from Christmas decorators for a classic tree is 100 lights per foot of tree. If you want a minimalist look, it’s 50 lights per foot of a tree, but it’s recommended to use a globe string light for this look.
If your tree already has lights do the math accordingly for how many boxes you’ll need. This is another reason why some people invest more money into their Christmas tree because more expensive trees come with more lights.
Is There A Stringing Technique I Should Follow?
Yes! Before you go stringing lights around that tree, there are a couple of techniques to choose from that will ensure each branch is lit to perfection.
Hang Your Christmas Lights Horizontally
If you want to hang lights on your tree horizontally (the most popular way), stretch out your hand and pretend it is a tree branch for practice. With the string of lights, wrap each finger starting at its base with lights, going in and out.
With an actual tree’s branch, you want to start at the branch’s base (deep inside the tree) and weave in and out until the stems are covered with lights. Then you’ll move on to the next branch in a horizontal direction.
Hang Your Christmas Lights Vertically
The vertical technique is relatively new and has gained popularity over the past few years. With this approach, you’ll start stringing the non-plug end of the lights at the top of the tree and weave the lights down into the tree until you reach the bottom. Next, turn the lights back in the other direction to continue. Repeat this until the whole tree is filled.
What Kind Of Lights Are Best?
Some designers swear by incorporating multiple-sized light bulbs on the Christmas tree for a dramatic effect! For example, consider decorating the tree’s base with mini lights and then adding strings of a larger bulb for dimension. Below are some popular lights used to decorate Christmas trees.
Tip #3: Pick A Christmas Tree Theme
Picking a Christmas theme for your tree should be fun and speak to your personality! You can copy the leopard tree above by clicking here. Or, if you’d like to read up on this year’s Christmas trends, click here.
But can you guess the secret behind tip #3? Never underestimate the power a traditional theme can have on your tree and heart at Christmas. Do you enjoy honoring family heirloom ornaments by hanging them on your tree? Often these are great conversation starters, and people LOVE feeling nostalgic, especially at Christmas time.
If you’re not sure what Christmas theme to pick, HGTV came out with a list of 30 theme ideas for inspiration. Most importantly, make sure the theme you choose sets the tone for other Christmas decorations in your home, so they all tie together.
Tip #4: How To Decorate A Christmas Tree With Ribbon
The leopard ribbon above was used to decorate a leopard Christmas tree. Be sure to pick a wired ribbon and colors that match your Christmas tree theme. The secret behind tip #4? To keep things merry and RIGHT, use more than one ribbon, but make sure they complement each other. For example, I chose a wired gold mesh ribbon to run alongside the leopard ribbon above.
3 Ways To Decorate A Christmas Tree With Ribbon
1. Decorate The Ribbon Vertically Down The Christmas Tree
Once you’ve picked your Christmas ribbon, design experts suggest cutting six to eight pieces of ribbon that are about a foot longer than the height of your tree. For example, if you have an 8-foot tree, cut at least six strips that are nine feet long. Also, for a fuller effect, pick a ribbon at least four to five inches wide.
Next, take one strip and clip it at the top of the tree. You can use tree clips, or as long as the ribbon is wired, you can tie and secure it into one of the tree’s branches. Once the ribbon is secure at the top, cascade the ribbon down the tree vertically and tuck it into the spots where you’d like to fill in holes or gaps. Check out this video for more assistance.
2. Drape The Ribbon Around the Tree Horizontally
Tie or use a tree clip to secure the ribbon at the top and wind your way around the tree. As you make your way around and down the tree, be sure to stuff the ribbon where there are visible holes and gaps. When you run out of ribbon, clip or tie the end onto a tree branch and start up with a new roll until you’ve added ribbon around the whole Christmas tree.
3. Make Tree-Topper Bows With Ribbon
The best tree toppers are made with ribbon, so if you want a show-stopping tree, invest in some wire ribbon and follow this step-by-step tutorial. And DO NOT be intimidated by making bows. When I was around eight years old, my mom taught me how, so trust me, you’ve got this!
Shop Best-Selling Christmas Ribbon:
Storing Christmas Ribbon Tip:
Since some ribbons can be pricey, be sure to store your ribbon for the following year safely. Yes, you can reuse the ribbon repeatedly as long as you keep it covered and stored in a cool, dry place.
Tip #5: Fill In Holes With Christmas Tree Garland And Picks
Modern Christmas Tree Garland
The secret behind tip #5? Ball garland. And this garland will work with any theme you choose. If you want a tree that’s dripping with Christmas cheer, this is the magic component.
Whether you’re looking to decorate a traditional or modern Christmas tree, these garland ball ornaments are everything! Not only do they fill in gaps and sparse holes, but they will finish off your tree just like a professional would, making it look DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS.
Purchase Ball Garland on AMAZON.
Christmas Tree Picks
Picks also fill in holes and gaps in the tree. If you want to add height to your Christmas tree, stick the picks around your tree topper for a substantial effect.
Purchase Christmas Tree Picks on AMAZON.
Tip #6: Decorate A Christmas Tree With Ornaments (Like A Professional Would)
The secret behind tip #6? A Christmas ornament can NEVER be too big, so be sure to mix large ornaments with medium and smaller-sized Christmas decor to balance the scales. Hang your most oversized ornaments first so you can fill in holes, and be sure to place them deep inside the tree. Home Depot suggests placing 20 ornaments for every foot of the tree.
Also, if you didn’t invest much in your Christmas tree and it’s still looking a bit sparse after flocking, large Christmas ornaments will help tremendously. After hanging the most significant tree decorations, hang medium-sized ornaments and, lastly, your smallest.
Shop Best-Selling Christmas Ornaments:
Tip #7: Tree Skirt Or Tree Collar?
This is entirely up to you! However, the secret behind tip #7 is a TREE COLLAR. This year’s popular Christmas trend won’t be going out of style any Christmas soon. So, if you want a trending tree, invest in a tree collar.
Shop Best-Selling Tree Collars & Skirts:
Purchase A Bash Christmas Tree Collar from CRATE & BARREL.
Purchase A Hammered Christmas Tree Collar from AMAZON.
Purchase A White Faux Fur Christmas Tree Skirt from AMAZON.
Purchase A Champagne Sparkle Tree Skirt from AMAZON.
FAQ’s On How To Decorate A Christmas Tree (Like A Professional)
Start With A Christmas Tree Decorations List
Before you can start decorating a Christmas tree like a professional, it’s essential to make a list of everything you will need. Go through the seven tips in this article and create a list that will ultimately become your checklist.
How Do You Decorate A Christmas Tree Step-By-Step?
Sometimes, if you have a huge tree, it helps to break the tree decorating down into three sections (top, middle, bottom). Divide up your ornaments, garland, and ribbon for each section before you begin.
- Step 1: Fluff the Christmas tree.
- Step 2: Add tons of lights.
- Step 3: If you’re using garland or the ball garland, wrap this around the tree to fill in holes.
- Step 4: Add ribbon vertically or horizontally.
- Step 5: Add largest ornaments or oversized-decorations first.
- Step 6: Next, add medium-sized ornaments.
- Step 7: Add smallest ornaments.
- Step 8: Use tree picks to add height and dimension.
- Step 9: Lastly, add your tree collar or tree skirt.
What Order Do You Put Decorations On A Christmas Tree?
Again, you’ll want to add your most oversized ornaments or decorations first, then medium size, and lastly, the smallest. Make sure to place some of the large ornaments deep inside the tree to give a fuller effect.
How To Decorate A REAL Christmas Tree?
Follow these seven tips in this article for decorating a REAL Christmas tree. The same rules apply, but you’ll want to be more careful to secure fragile ornaments since the branches won’t be as sturdy as a fake tree.
Christmas Tree Decorators?
If you prefer hiring a professional Christmas tree decorator, start researching a pro around the summertime. They often get booked quickly, and if they’re in high demand, you need to be okay with your Christmas tree or trees being decorated around October.
How To Decorate A Christmas Tree With Lights?
Refer to tip #2 in this article for every detail on how to decorate with lights. Also, if you need new lights, there are shopping links included.
How To Decorate A Christmas Tree With Ribbon Vertically?
Refer to tip #4 on how to decorate a Christmas tree with a ribbon vertically. If you prefer to drape around the tree horizontally, that’s discussed as well.
How To Decorate A Christmas Tree To Look Full?
For a full Christmas tree, follow all of the seven steps. Include garland, ribbon, picks, and large to small ornaments. Remember, you can make any lifeless tree come to life by following these tips!
Final Thoughts On How To Decorate A Christmas Tree (Like A Professional)
I hope you found this article to be helpful when decorating your Christmas tree! There is so much technique involved in decorating, like the pros, but remember to follow your heart when decorating your own Christmas tree. This time of year is all about honoring old traditions and starting new ones, so always do what feels right to YOU.
Happy Holidays! Be sure to follow career girl meets… on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more home decor ideas, recipes, and gift guides.
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