Designer secrets for how to decorate a Christmas tree.

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Almost anyone can decorate a Christmas tree, but there are a few secrets that designers have learned to make a Christmas tree look like it belongs in a design magazine.

The best designers think outside the box and use creativity to set their Christmas tree apart from others.

They often follow some rules, but bend the rule a bit to add interest. Here are a few designer secrets that you can use to make your Christmas tree a show stopper this year. But feel free to put your own twist on it.

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The Tree:

Designers know that the secret to a good looking decorated Christmas tree is to start with a good looking tree.

The Christmas tree should look full and healthy with out any ornaments on it.

Real trees always look best, but are more challenging to decorate than artificial trees.

Taller and wider trees are more dramatic.

Your tree must look full, so make sure to fluff your artificial tree. If you are using a real tree, don’t purchase your tree too soon, it may dry out and look dead by Christmas.

If your tree is not as full as you would like, a designer secret is to add some fillers. You can add a greenery swag that is simple evergreen or something with flowers, berries, or pine cones.

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The Lights:

Christmas lights make your tree sparkle, so don’t skimp on the lights. It’s nearly impossible to us too many lights. White or clear lights are used most often, however you can get a designer look with colored lights.

A bare minimum number of lights to use is 1 strand of 100 lights per foot height of tree, so a 10 ft tree would get 10 strands of lights. Feel free to double or triple that amount. Even if you have a pre lit tree, feel free to add more lights. Make sure you put the lights towards the inside and outside of your tree.

One designer secret to make your tree sparkle is to use 1-2 strands of blinking lights that are spread throughout your tree, but don’t make all your lights blink.

Another designer secret is to use a few strands of larger bulbs to add dimension and depth.

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Garland:

There are many ways to put garland on a Christmas tree.

You can use ribbon garland, beaded garland, paper garland, or whatever you like.

In order to get your garland evenly on your tree and not knock off any ornaments, designers put it on after the lights.

Feel free to use more than one type of garland or ribbon with different colors or patterns.

When putting on garland, floral picks, ornaments, or amything to your tree, a designer secret is to stop every 5 min or so and stand back from the tree, evaluate how it looks, and make adjustments. Make sure you leave room for your ornaments when adding garland. Don’t over do it.

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Floral picks

In order to add a variety of texture to a Christmas tree (as well as fill in the holes, add color, and help the tree look more cohesive). designers use floral picks on a Christmas tree.

A designer secret is to put the floral picks in the Christmas tree in the same direction as the branches, not sticking up straight, for a more natural look. Spread floral picks through out the tree, but especially in any spots that might not look as full.

Ornaments

Simple round ornaments are great for creating a color story for your tree inexpensively.

A designer secret for decorating your Christmas tree with plain round ornaments is to group them together in clusters of 3. The ornament clusters are more dramatic than 3 standard sized ornaments by themselves.

Put some lesser expensive ornaments towards the inside of your tree to fill in the holes and nicer ornaments towards the outside of your tree to show them off.

Another designer secret is that the larger your tree is, the larger the ornaments you need. A 10′ tree needs bigger ornaments then a 6′ tree that can use standard sized ornaments.

Typically, smaller ornaments are placed towards the top of the tree and larger ornaments towards the bottom of the tree, however some designers have gone away from the rule in recent years i order to add drama.

Many designer Christmas trees have recently started using focal point ornaments that are 6″ to 12″ tall. Designers use about 1 focal point ornament per foot height of the tree. Ornaments over 12″ tall tend to look juvenile.

Yet another designer secret is to use ornaments of different textures. Shiny ornaments are nice, but also consider adding some that have a matte finish, are rough (like burlap), glittery, pearlescent, mirrored, or fluffy.

Typically, more is better when decorating a tree, but make sure to have a little bit of tree showing. Some people have gone overboard and have decorated tree that are comparable to someone wearing all of their jewelry at once- don’t do that!

Gifts

Designers know that gifts under a tree are part of your decorations. Purchase gift wrap of appropriate style that coordinates with your Christmas tree.

For a vintage style tree, consider using simple craft paper as wrapping paper.

For a more colorful tree, use 3 different wrapping papers and 3 different ribbons (that coordinate with your color scheme) used in different combinations for interest under your tree.

Larger graphic patterns (plaid, stripes, dots, ect) and solids work best.

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