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  • Writer's pictureJenny Whittingham

Top tips for decorating your tree like a pro!

1st December definitely means tree shopping for me! It feels like this year people have been putting up their festive decorations earlier than normal but if like me you held off until at least December here are a few tips for getting that splendid look! Don’t forget have your favourite Christmas tunes ready to play whilst decorating for that extra festive spirit…

Tree Selection

Real Tree: I love a real tree, the smell is gorgeous, it’s like Christmas has already arrived. Remember to measure the height of your room before you go shopping and pick a tree slightly shorter as you want to make sure the decoration at the top of your tree will fit, also make height allowances for the stand it will go in too as this will make it taller. You’ll also need to measure the maximum width you want the tree to sit in. I always go off this first, it’s a bit like sofa shopping they all look relatively small then you take them home to find your lounge has turned into Jumanji! It’s ok if one side is a little less branchy as this side can be hidden in the corner unless of course you have a beautiful bay window to display your tree in! Look for symmetry, strength of branches (you don’t want decorations falling off easily), choose one that doesn’t shed too badly either (You don’t want a naked tree for Christmas Day) and check the water regularly especially on those extra cosy nights in when you crank up the fire.

Artificial Tree: If you’d rather go artificial that’s fine just make sure you invest in a good quality one, Balsam Hill do a fab artificial tree and we’re voted best artificial tree by Ideal Home. Opt for a traditional tree as opposed to a trend led one to make sure it’s an invested purchase. Pre-lit Trees are becoming a firm favourite. For any thrifty shoppers out there late December/January is a great time to pick up a good quality bargain.


Real Tree: Fit your tree base into your holder with the netting still attached, make sure you do this with another person so you can align it as vertically as possible, you don’t want a wonky (tree) donkey. Once secured fill the base container with water and cut the netting, starting from the most unreachable parts first so you don’t end up getting trapped when the branches explode outwards. Let the tree rest for 12-24 hours before decorating. This will allow your tree to settle into its resting pose.

Artificial Tree: Don’t forget to take time to fluff out all those branches, separate each branch so it fans out to cover as much area as possible and don’t hesitate to bend individual stems to fill in the gaps. It takes time, but trust me, the end result is worth it. A properly shaped tree is appealing however minimal your embellishments may be.

Pick a theme

Like with all design, consistency is key here and picking a theme will help you tie all the elements together. If you need inspiration John Lewis has some fantastic Christmas themes this year. I usually tie it into my lounge décor as that’s where the tree will be featured. So take your time and find your style. Blush pink is the key decor colour for 2020. I’d recommend sticking to around 3 colours, maximum of 5 if you’re feeling super adventurous. I love the metallic (gold, silver and rose gold) and the jewel coloured tones (forest green, plum, royal blue, ruby red, mustard gold) are a personal favourite of mine at the moment. (Image below) Bouka Baubles - Indigo from

Lights, Camera, Action

You’ll need lights if you don’t already have a pre-lit Christmas tree. As a general rule you should aim for 100 bulbs or 5m of lights per 2ft of tree. For example, a 6ft tree will require 300 bulbs or 15 metres of lights. Lights4fun have a lovely lighting catalogue selection to choose from.

The most important element when decorating your tree, always start with your lights first, it’s a nightmare to do it the other way around. Start at the plug as your starting point, wrapping in around the tree trunk and working your way up from the centre of the base of your tree. Continue wrapping the lights evenly around the branches nearest to the trunk and then weave it upwards from the middle of the crown. Whilst weaving the bulb should be positioned first under a branch then over a branch. When you reach the crown, weave your lights back down arranging the lights further out from the branches. Keep weaving until you reach the tips of the branches. I also make sure there’s at least 1 bulb at the top of the tree too.


So earlier you selected a theme, you’ve done your research…. now it’s time to choose the accents that fit your theme, opt for tree decorations that will complement the overall appearance of your tree. Many bauble sets include different shapes and sizes finishes and designs. Combining feature pieces with these traditional bauble sets will give you more freedom to focus on your theme. Clustering 3 different sized baubles to add flair and visual appeal. Think like a florist and buy baubles in 3’s, 6’s or 12’s. How many decorations will you need? The White Company recommend 80 baubles for a 7.5ft tree.

Balancing Act

Given the quantity of decorations for your tree, you’ll need to make sure everything is well balanced. Lay out all the baubles into similar pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle, you can order them by colour or shape or both, just work with what you’ve got. Start at the top of the tree and work towards the bottom, adding one set at a time so that the colour or shapes can be spaced equally will give it a fabulous overall look.

Hang larger baubles closer to the centre of the tree to add depth and small ones will do better at the end of branches for weight purposes. Delicate baubles should be placed near the top to prevent breakage and add special one last to ensure prime position.

The finale...

To finish the look, complete your tree with an eye-catching Christmas tree topper. It’s a great way to finish off your tree. Again choose one that fits your theme, proportion and weight is just as important, you don’t want to have difficulty getting it to stay in place. I love the giant bow detail rather than a gold star, especially as I have a young cat who still loves climbing! You can find them on Etsy, and this one in particular comes in blush pink, claret red, sunshine gold, midnight blue, and raspberry red.

Merry Christmas & happy decorating,


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