How to decorate your Christmas tree

Christmas is a magical time of the year and the festive season truly begins when you take a trip to get your Christmas tree. Once you have it, gather the whole family together to decorate the branches for a special experience that the kids will cherish. Getting creative is all part of the fun when you are counting down to Christmas Day, so transform your living room into a winter wonderland this year. From ornaments to lights and colour schemes, follow our useful tips to find the perfect festive centrepiece.

Choosing your Christmas tree

The Christmas tree is your festive canvas, so it's worth taking a little time to make sure you pick the right one for your household. There is certainly no shortage of choice out there from pre-lit trees to frosted ones, meaning artificial trees can look as good as the real thing.

Artificial Christmas trees

The main benefit of an artificial Christmas tree is that you don't need to replace it every year. A well looked after artificial Christmas tree can last for several years. Artificial trees also don't drop their needles, so will stay looking great year after year.

Trees come in a host of styles, from frosted to coloured, and some are even built with fibre-optic or LED lights. Frosted trees usually have a snow covered, frozen effect, since they are white, but there are gold-frosted trees too, which add a touch of glamour to your home. Read our guide to Christmas trees to find out more about tree sizes, needles and assembly.

Number of Christmas tree ornaments

There are no rules to decorating a tree and you will want to give it your own flair. In order to create the perfect tree, simply trust your instincts and go for a number of decorations that doesn't look too regimented and doesn't overwhelm your tree. Hang enough decorations around the whole tree so that it does not look uneven. You might want to balance homemade decorations with baubles and accessories that you have bought for a unique finish. Tinsel can be draped around the branches and, if you want the best effect, try to pick just one or two colours that blend well together.

Christmas tree lights

A must-have item for any Christmas tree display, Christmas tree lights and fairy lights are available in lots of different styles. The vast majority of modern lights are LED and tend to last much longer before they need to be replaced. If you have a busy lifestyle invest in a timer that automatically turns Christmas tree lights off after a period of time, or choose a battery operated model that will simply run out if it's left on.

Most Christmas tree lights are string lights that can be easily draped across your tree. One way to add a little extra elegance is to go for smaller bulbed lights. Lights are made to give your tree a subtle glow and they should not overwhelm it. Smaller lights are a fantastic way to achieve this effect.

The colour you opt for should match the colour scheme you've selected for your tree. If your tree has a frosted frozen theme, then blue or white lights are perfect, or if you've chosen a more traditional red and green look, then red and green LEDs are the way to go. For trees that don't have a particular theme, white or off-white lights offer a perfect, neutral choice.

It is easier to string the lights from the bottom up, and if you're not sure whether there are dark spots on the tree just take a step back and trust your eye.

Lots of different makes and models of Christmas tree lights have a variety of settings, so you can choose to have blinking, flashing, or even moving lights. Some lights can also be remotely operated, which gives you more control when they light up on Christmas morning.

Christmas tree colour schemes

For a lot of people Christmas decorations are something that we accrue over time, either from friends and family, or by purchasing a few new ones every year. While this is sure to give your tree plenty of personality, it might not necessarily fit with your living room's aesthetic.

One way to achieve a more coordinated look for your Christmas tree is to select a particular colour scheme from the start. This gives your tree extra elegance and doesn't stop you hanging up a few sentimental decorations.

Types of Christmas tree decorations

Baubles are the most common type of Christmas tree decoration and as such they are extremely affordable. They come in a range of shapes, sizes and materials and most have a shiny or shimmering surface that reflects the Christmas tree lights. Along with tinsel and Christmas tree toppers, baubles can be found on most Christmas trees, but there is a world of decorating out there beyond that.

Number of Christmas decorations per tree

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to decorating your tree. It's entirely up to you how you do it. To help you get started, we've put together a chart to give you a rough guide to the optimum number of decorations on your tree depending on its height.

Tree Lights quantity (pcs) Baubles quantity (pcs) Length of tinsel Length of bead chains
2ft 20 10 2m 1.8m
3ft 20 20 2m 2.7m
4ft 50 40 2m 2.7m
6ft 200-250 80 2m x 2 pieces 5m x 2pcs
6.5ft 250-300 90 2m x 2 pieces 5m x 2pcs
7ft 350 100 2m x 2 pieces 5m x 2pcs
8ft 600 120 2m x 3 pieces 5m x 2pcs
10ft 800 200 2m x 4 pieces 5m x 3pcs
15ft 1200 400 2m x 4 pieces 5m x 3pcs