Top tips for decorating your Christmas tree

Top tips for decorating your Christmas tree

Trudging home on a gloomy December night, you glance into a window and are cheered by a twinkling Christmas tree brightening the evening. Sound familiar? It's safe to assume that, unless you keep your blinds closed whenever your tree is lit up, others are wandering by taking in the charm of your tree too. So, obviously, you want it to look striking, not just for your enjoyment but for others too.

neutral & country christmas decor

We have plenty of Christmas tree ideas to complement your holiday décor.

The Christmas tree is the focal point of your festive décor and, of course, you want it to look incredible. But everyone has a different idea of what 'incredible' looks like. Some people love a colourful tree glistening with excitement, while others prefer a more muted colour scheme that oozes sophistication.

There is no right or wrong answer to what makes a Christmas tree stand out. However, there are some tips you can follow to get the best results, no matter your preferred style.

Whether you need inspiration for styles of décor or need to know where to start when decorating a Christmas tree, we have everything you need to know right here on this page.

golden bauble in xmas tree

At Christmas Trees Direct, we have all the Christmas tree decorating advice you'll need.

Christmas tree decorating ideas

Whatever style of décor you choose for your tree, you'll want it to make a statement. Christmas tree decorations or ornaments are ideal for ensuring your tree not only looks fabulous but also complements the rest of your festive (and everyday) décor.

If you're struggling for inspiration for your tree this year, look no further. Whatever your preferred aesthetic, we have some ideas for making your fresh cut or potted Christmas tree look its finest.

mini xmas tree inside of xmas bauble

Cheerful baubles in every colour or opulent gold ornaments, whatever your preference our guide will help you decorate a fabulous Christmas tree.


Multi-coloured lights and bright baubles are the key to a bold and beautiful Christmas tree and family room. For many people, colourful Christmas décor promotes festive cheer and the spirit of the Christmas season.

Colourful ornaments, tinsel and lights can have a maximalist feel that gives family and visitors a warm fuzzy glow inside.

This theme is ideal for families with young children and looks great in a family room. Not only will the kids delight in the rainbow of colours, but you'll also be able to incorporate all those homemade decorations they enjoy making.

Add something new every year, and your fun tree will soon become alive with precious memories of Christmases past.


If the whole idea of bringing an evergreen tree indoors strikes a chord with you, then you may appreciate a natural theme. This look is all about texture and using the natural colours of the season to create a look inspired by woodland walks.

natural christmas decor

Decorate your Christmas tree branches with natural elements for a real conversation starter.

Choose natural elements such as dried fruit (dried orange slices work particularly well), pine cones, holly and berries. Don't be afraid to experiment and mix natural textures, such as ivy and holly sprigs to create depth and interest.

This Christmas tree theme is perfect for blending with wreaths and garlands, creating a cohesive style throughout your decor.


Sometimes less is more, and a Christmas tree decorated in a simple fashion can look absolutely stunning. Stick to just one or two colours, use a beaded garland and add just a few well-placed baubles.

If you have a real tree, this is an excellent way to show it off. Limiting the number of decorations you place on the branches will allow the beauty of the tree itself to shine through.

woman holding a clear christmas bauble

Simple Christmas decorating can be incredibly effective.

Metallic tones, such as silver, gold, and copper, are ideal for bringing shine to a simple tree, and you'll find a little goes a long way.


A luxurious Christmas tree starts with the tree itself. Choose a variety like the Fraser Fir, which boasts dense, bushy foliage and shimmering silvery-green needles. The right tree will give you an excellent base for sumptuous decor.

Choose your colour scheme carefully - jewel hues such as sapphire and ruby work well with gold ornaments. Hang plenty of baubles to give the illusion that the tree is dripping in precious stones and metals.

Rich tones in a range of textures will add depth and interest, giving your festive décor a warm feel that is sublime when you come in from the cold.

This look is ideal if you love to entertain over the festive season. What better way to wow your guests than a lavish Christmas tree resplendent in beautiful shining ornaments?


For a classic-looking Christmas tree, you can't go far wrong with a red and green colour scheme.

One of the great things about a red and green colour scheme is that you can create a look that will fit in any style of home, whether you're decorating a charming cottage or a chic new build.

For an elegant effect, the tree's foliage can act as green and be accentuated by shiny red baubles and warm glowing lights. Add candy canes, ribbon and quirky ornaments for a whimsical and fun look.

Traditional red and green plaid ribbon wrapped around the tree forms an excellent base for your ornaments and baubles. Red and green tartan is synonymous with Christmas and brings a cosy festive feel to any room. Tie your tree in with table runners and place settings to connect your decor throughout the home.

classic xmas decor red bauble

A Christmas tree decorated in traditional red and green ornaments has a classic look that will never go out of style.

Use a variety of sizes and textures to create an eye-catching effect. Trendy colour schemes may come and go, but you can be sure that a classic look will never go out of style.


Some things become traditional for a good reason. And the old-fashioned Christmas tree is one of them. Whether you have an affection for A Christmas Carol or enjoy harking back to simpler times, a traditional tree will remind you of families gathering around on Christmas eve.

Have fun scouring antique shops for traditional baubles and ornaments, and end up with an elegant Christmas tree different from your neighbours. Add paper ornaments, dried fruits, nuts and popcorn garlands for an authentic feel that is full of vintage charm.

mini house christmas bauble

Decorate your tree with old fashioned ornaments for a truly traditional look.

For obvious reasons, we'd never suggest lighting real candles on your Christmas tree. But if you're aiming for a truly traditional look, then faux candles are the answer. Electric candles won't be a fire hazard but will give your tree a sense of old-time appeal.

Decorate the rest of the home with vintage Christmas cards, oil lanterns and natural greenery to tie the theme together.

Winter wonderland

If you like to go all out when it comes to decorating your Christmas tree, turn it into a Winter wonderland. Place a moving train on the floor 'choo-chooing' its way around the tree stand, cover the tree in fake snow to create flocked branches and add lots of silver and white ribbons, tinsel and baubles.

White christmas tree in golden furniture living room

Create a white Christmas indoors by flocking your Christmas tree and decorating with silver ornaments.

A flocked tree can look incredibly effective, particularly in rooms with dark-coloured walls. For a truly white Christmas effect, stick to wintry hues such as aquamarine, ice blue and cool metallics.

A flocked Christmas tree effect is most easily accomplished with an artificial tree. However, with some Christmas tree flocking powder and a spray bottle of water, it isn't difficult to get the exact effect you're looking for on a freshly cut tree.

Even if we don't get to experience a white Christmas outside, you can bring it inside with a winter-themed, snowy white tree.

Tips for choosing a style

One of the key elements to a stunning tree is ensuring it fits with its setting. While you want your tree to stand out, you don't want it to jar with the rest of the room and look out of place.

santa bauble

Christmas tree ideas should fit with existing décor for the best effect.

  • Pick out colours from your everyday décor and use them in your tree to complement your living space.
  • Likewise, if you live in a country cottage-styled home, continue that theme with your tree decorations.

  • Match your lights to your décor. Warm glow lights are deliciously cosy in smaller rooms, while cool white LEDs are perfect for large contemporary spaces.

When to decorate the Christmas tree

Deciding when to decorate the Christmas tree will largely depend on the variety of trees you choose. Some species of real Christmas trees last longer indoors than others. If you wish to decorate in early December, a Nordmann Fir is ideal as these hold needles well for longer. But perhaps you prefer the rounded shape of the Norway Spruce or the shimmery needles of the Korean Fir. In this case, it's best to wait until mid to late December to bring the tree inside and let loose with all your decorating ideas.

xmas tree with kid in background

Christmas tree decorations can take longer than you expect to put up.

The one recommendation we would give is to wait until you have plenty of time. It's easy to underestimate how long Christmas tree decorating will take, so ensure you have at least a few hours to spare. If you get it all finished early, you can always use the extra time to snuggle up with a hot chocolate and enjoy a Christmassy film in the twinkling glow of your tree lights.

Decorating the tree

Once you've chosen your preferred style and set aside the time, it's easy to jump straight in and start decorating. But sometimes it pays to act a little slower. Here are our top tips for making Christmas tree decorating as simple and enjoyable as possible.

Be prepared

It's time to channel your inner boy scout and gather together everything you're going to need. After all, you don't want to be almost finished and realise you've forgotten to put the lights on!

If you still need to buy some materials, make a list before you hit the shops. Doing this will help keep you focussed and means you're less likely to come home without an essential item.

Before you start to decorate the Christmas tree, make sure you have the following things ready:

  • The tree. It goes without saying that you'll need to set the tree up before decorating it, but don't forget to fluff out the branches, top up the water levels and straighten the tree up before you start.

  • Lights. Plug the lights in to ensure they all work correctly before winding them around the tree.

  • Ornaments. Take all your baubles, tinsel, ribbons, etc out and inspect them for imperfections. Discard any that have cracks or holes that may become jagged.

  • Accessories. You might need string, florists wire and scissors to help attach decorations to the tree. Keep them handy so you don't have to go off to hunt for them halfway through the job.

  • A step ladder. This is essential for reaching the high branches of a tall tree safely.

snowman bauble

Inspect all your tree décor before placing it on the holiday tree.

Where to start

Most professionals would advise starting with the lights. It's much easier to place lights on the tree when it's bare rather than when it's adorned with breakable baubles and ornaments.

Ensure the tree is close enough to a power socket (or a suitable extension lead) before you start, and plug the lights in without turning them on. Doing this means you won't realise the cord doesn't reach the socket after you're finished.

The general rule of lights is 100 bulbs per 1ft of the tree. So, for example, a 6ft tree would hold 600 lights. However, this is down to personal taste, as well as the type of lights you choose for your tree. Use this number as a guide and add more or take some off as you see fit.

Start at the bottom of the tree and slowly wind the lights around it, moving upwards. Weave string lights in and out of the branches (close to the inside) all the way to the top and back down again (nearer the edges). Try to space the bulbs out evenly for a more considered look.

There is a myriad of tree lights available these days, but if you have a real Christmas tree, we'd recommend using LEDs. These give off a pretty twinkle but don't produce as much heat as some alternatives.

christmas tree lights close up

Christmas tree decorating should always begin with the lights.

Tinsel and garlands

Next, add anything else that gets wrapped or wound around the tree. Whether you prefer shiny tinsel or a discrete garland, now is the time to add it.

Like string lights, it's much easier to place these on the tree before fragile baubles are added.


Next, it's time to hang the baubles on the tree. Stand back to take in the entire tree and decide where the baubles would sit best. Ideally, have a collection of baubles and ornaments in a range of sizes. Larger ones can go near the centre of the tree and on the stronger branches close to the bottom. Meanwhile, smaller ornaments work well at the ends of branches, where they create depth, as well as towards the top where the tree begins to thin out.

Place your favourite or special baubles at eye level. This way they'll draw the eye and have a much bigger impact.

Top tip

Hang glass and precious baubles near the top of the tree to keep them out of reach of small children and pets.

Tree skirt

A tree skirt will hide your Christmas tree stand and any unsightly wires. Choose the right one, and it will bring the look of your tree together, complementing the decorations. Tree skirts also help protect the floor from fallen needles and provide a soft surface for Santa to leave all those presents under the tree.

Tree topper

Finally, the tree topper. Tradition dictates that this is the last thing to go on. The icing on the cake, as it were.

Whether you've opted for a star, an angel, a bow or another decorative piece, choose a lucky family member to add the finishing touch, then sit back and enjoy your newly decorated tree.

No rules

Other than not placing any fire hazards on your tree, there are no rules when it comes to decorating the Christmas tree. Use your imagination and be as creative as you like. Mix things up with home-crafted and store-bought decorations, incorporate as many colours as you fancy and make your tree a reflection of your own personal taste.

One person's 'tacky' is someone else's 'fun'. Likewise, one person's 'classy' is another's 'pretentious'. The world would be extremely boring if we all liked the same things, so pick your preferred taste and run with it. Don't worry about what anyone else might think.

After all, Christmas is all about family. Your tree should always reflect the people who live in the home.

The perfect Christmas tree

Remember that Christmas tree decorating is supposed to be a fun family occasion and your tree doesn't need to be meticulously embellished to look fantastic. Embrace the spirit of Christmas, and your personality will shine through the tree.

family decorating a christmas tree

Our Christmas tree decorating ideas should fill you will inspiration for your own tree.

A Christmas tree doesn't have to look like it has been decorated by a professional to be Insta-worthy. More often than not, it's those little personal touches, such as children's homemade decorations, that give a Christmas tree its charm. But with some thoughtful planning, you can decorate a Christmas tree that is both delightful and beautiful - the ideal setting for those festive family photos.

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