Christmas tree ideas – 16 looks, from the timeless and traditional to the modern and unique
Explore our beautiful guide of Christmas tree ideas for inspiration on how to dress and style your Christmas tree this festive season
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Explore our collection of Christmas tree ideas so you can create a stand-out design for this festive focal point in the home.
A true symbol of Christmas, the Christmas tree is at the center of Christmas decor ideas, and is often the star of the show when we decorate our homes for the holidays. From traditional, real fir trees decorated with ornaments in the classic colors of Christmas, to more contemporary designs rich in color, texture and made from all manner of unique materials, you can tailor your Christmas tree ideas to perfectly suit your style.
When planning your Christmas tree ideas, there are so many fun ways you can be creative with your design, from the size of the tree, to the color scheme, ornaments, lights, tree toppers and tree skirts; all can bring a unique sense of style and a festive feel to your home.
Christmas tree ideas
Whether you want to use your tree as a platform for the brightest, merriest, and most outlandish festive design, or prefer a more relaxed, pared-back look, we’ve curated a collection of Christmas tree ideas to inspire both the minimalists, maximalists and everyone in between.
1. Take the lead from your existing decor
If you're unsure of where to start when decorating your home and Christmas tree, take the lead from your existing decor to establish a stylish and coherent theme.
While a Christmas tree is always going to stand out, we also want it to feel like part of the furniture, as if it grew up naturally through the floorboards. Taking into consideration your existing decor is the best way to make your tree feel like home, so think about using your room’s color palette as inspiration for everything from your topper to the skirt.
In this red living room with cool blue accents, the ornaments and even the wrapped presents under the tree perfectly complement and extend the color scheme, creating a cohesive look that feels elegant and well-thought-out.
2. Opt for a more rustic, natural look
A Christmas tree, especially a real fir, can stand elegantly just on its own, bringing in the natural beauty of the outdoors through rustic texture and a grounding, calming green palette.
If you want to create a more pared-back, natural look for your Christmas tree ideas, then decorate sparingly with decorations in the colors of nature, and let the natural green foliage take center stage.
Beautifully demonstrated in this Scandi space, the Christmas tree design effortlessly integrates with the neutral, wooden decor; with the selection of decorations from Layered Lounge (opens in new tab) adding subtle visual interest and calming character to the tree.
3. Decorate with ribbons and bows
There is something so pretty and decorative about ribbons and bows. Often used for Christmas gift-wrapping ideas, they can work wonderfully as decorations for your Christmas tree, adding beautiful texture, shape, and color.
In this stunning living room, belonging to Hannah de Gournay, founder of hand-painted wallpaper brand de Gournay (opens in new tab), the bow Christmas ornaments in pastels do not distract from the beautiful wallpaper, but instead, complement the bold design through a shared color palette and flowing shape and texture.
Whether you tie bows yourself with colorful ribbon, or hang luxurious velvet bow decorations, decorating a Christmas tree with bows and Christmas tree ribbon ideas is guaranteed to add a glamorous, vintage feel to your Christmas tree.
4. Embrace styles of the past with a retro tinsel tree
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'We have seen so many retro tinsel trees on social media this year, and can't help but love this nostalgic nod to a 70s style,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor at Homes & Gardens.
String tinsel, also known as lametta tinsel, can be elegantly layered on a Christmas tree to create a glorious, shimmering effect, as shown on this breathtaking tree by Lune (opens in new tab).
Whether you decide to cover the whole tree for maximum effect or hang a few strands for a glistening finishing touch, this style of tinsel can create a magnificent, magical design.
To help the environment, remember to reuse your tinsel year after year or opt for eco-friendly tinsel made from recycled PVC plastic.
5. Go ultra modern
If you’re a minimalist at heart or don’t have masses of space for a full-sized bushy spruce, a metal silhouette Christmas tree is the perfect solution.
This pared-back alternative tree is so versatile: dress it up with jewel-colored baubles and bright metallics, or keep it simple and Scandi with white and silver glass baubles – even totally bare for a sophisticated and sculptural look.
The freestanding tree can be moved around the home too if you need to make space for extra seating if unexpected guests arrive.
6. Choose a show-stopping tree topper
Of course, you cannot go wrong with a traditional star or angel for Christmas tree topper ideas, but many of us are using the top of our Christmas trees to make a more unique statement with fun and creative decoration.
A chance to finish off your tree decorations in show-stopping style, from last name toppers, such as this one on Etsy (opens in new tab), to toys and ornaments, as shown on the tree above, and homemade decorations – if you can find a way to attach it your tree, then anything goes.
5. And don’t forget a Christmas tree skirt or collar
Now you've planned out a design for the top of your tree, do not forget the bottom!
Christmas tree skirts were traditionally used to catch fallen needles and dripping wax from trees decorated with candles. Now, they range from anything to bright colored mats to light up present decorations, cozy sheepskins, baskets and much more.
A great way to extend you Christmas tree decor ideas, and make you tree feel fully grounded and connected to your space, do not forget this important finishing touch when planning your Christmas tree ideas.
6. Create a unique, faux flower tree
@danisdomain (opens in new tab) ♬ It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas - Michael Bublé (opens in new tab)
Forgo tradition and choose a Christmas tree idea styled with beautiful blooms; transporting you to those warmer days of spring and summer sunshine.
'Although this look may not be for everyone, we adore the colorful and creative design achieved through a dynamic display of bright faux flowers,' says Lucy Searle, Homes & Gardens' global editor in chief.
Here, TikTok user danisdomain shows us how colorful faux flowers from Amazon (opens in new tab), can be easily tied to Christmas tree branches to create a bold look rich with character.
No matter your style or preferred color palette, there are so many different types of artificial flowers you can use to decorate your tree to add an elegant, floral touch.
7. Make it personal
While it’s easy to be swayed by tradition on one side and Christmas tree trends on the other, ensuring your Christmas tree decor is authentic to you and your style is the most important design choice you can make.
‘Remember to have fun when decorating, and that your Christmas tree should be personal to you and what you love,’ says Daisy Coombes, marketing manager at Sass & Belle (opens in new tab).
If festive reds and golds aren’t your things, choose a color scheme that is. In this home, the tree is filled with blush pink and champagne-colored decorations from John Lewis (opens in new tab) and features quirky touches like feathers, butterflies, and even plush octopuses, as well as a sequined angel making a delicate landing for the Christmas tree topper ideas.
8. Follow a theme
For an ultra-stylish look, it’s important to keep your Christmas tree decor consistent.
‘Just like design, decorations must have one idea, one image bringing together various parts of the space being decorated,’ says Ana Agapova, creative director of O&A Designs (opens in new tab), and a strong advocate of Christmas tree themes. ‘It can be one color palette, pastel and light colors, traditional red and gold, vintage-style decor with vintage tree decorations, cards, and grandma’s tablecloth.’
Carry this color theme through to your wrapping and Christmas tree skirt ideas, too, for a strong, cohesive style.
9. Choose a traditional look with red decor
If you’re wondering how to decorate a Christmas tree stylishly without investing in an entire tree full of new decor, listen up.
Many of us have acquired an eclectic collection of Christmas tree ornaments over the years, and would rather use them to conjure memories of Christmases past than have a totally matching tree.
A mismatched look has a traditional feel, so bolster that by running color-blocking items of red and green decor throughout the tree. This will help create a sense of consistency, while still allowing you to enjoy your old favorites.
10. Keep it simple
It’s already a pretty big deal to have an actual tree inside your home, so sometimes keeping Christmas tree ideas simple is best.
A pared-back look can be incredibly elegant, especially if you invest in quality decorations. ‘I love mixing delicate, clear, hand-blown glass ornaments collected over years which add some sparkle, adding freshly cut winter foliage to layer the tree decoration, and not forgetting a few white accents,’ says Henry Miller-Robinson, co-founder of K&H Design (opens in new tab).
This simple tree design needs only three decor elements to create a stylish look: shimmering glass baubles, silver streamers at the tips of the branches, and light in the form of electric candles.
11. Stay sustainable
‘It’s very important to source a great tree,’ adds Miller-Robinson. ‘Hopefully, something that has been grown sustainably with a re-growing program.’
Staying sustainable at Christmas is increasingly on the agenda, and applies both to the tree itself and the decorations. ‘Small changes can make a big difference so enjoy an environmentally friendly Christmas this year with sustainable, hand-crafted, wood, recycled glass, and paper-mâché decorations,’ says Coombes.
Thinking outside the (plastic) box can inspire some alternative Christmas tree ideas too, such as this tree decorated with almost entirely paper ornaments.
12. Have a hygge holiday with Scandi style
One of the greatest joys to be found at Christmas time is cozying up by the fire, in full view of your Christmas tree – so why not take decor inspiration from the people who are perhaps the best at that in the world?
Embrace the Scandinavian tradition of ‘hygge’ this Christmas and channel softness and warmth in your tree decor, as well as in your wider soft furnishings. The palette of white, gold, and silver used on this Christmas tree perfectly complements the white living room scheme, working in unison to establish a comforting, relaxed space that feels soft and serene.
13. Immerse the senses with scented decor
‘For me, Christmas is hugely about fragrance,’ says florist Philippa Craddock (opens in new tab). ‘It’s the evocative scent of fresh spruce from the tree brought indoors, bundles of cinnamon, dried oranges, and the richness from cloves placed together in decorative bowls, their fragrance released with the warmth of the room.’
Take note of your Christmas wreath ideas and build on the scent of your pine branches with tree decorations that conjure Christmassy aromas.
This tree is decorated with the likes of both dried orange and apple slices, as well as pine cones and bunches of cinnamon sticks, a great way to make your home smell good for Christmas.
14. Stick to single color baubles
‘A fabulously modern way to style a tree and emphasize the healthy glossiness of those fir spruces is by painting all your baubles in one statement block color – ideally red, to contrast best against the green,’ says color and paint expert Annie Sloan (opens in new tab).
‘The single use of color is bold and looks terribly expensive, whilst the contrast between the sheen of pine needles and the velvet soft finish of matt baubles is deeply satisfying.’ The boldness of this contemporary choice is bolstered by the use of oversized red baubles, which are also a great way to make a Christmas tree look fuller.
15. Create a winter wonderland
Don’t just bring a tree into your living room this Christmas – bring the atmosphere of an entire snow-covered forest.
If you’re worried about how to keep a Christmas tree alive (or at least green) and leaning towards an artificial option, consider frost-effect trees that look like they’ve been plucked straight out of a frozen fjord.
To create a winter wonderland feeling, mirror it with frosted wreaths like in this room, and decorate exclusively with ornaments in icy white, silver, and blue.
16. Make your Christmas lights the star of the show
Christmas tree lights can take your Christmas tree from merry to bright in an instant! Helping to create a cozy and warming atmosphere, they are one of the main indoor Christmas lighting ideas and come in so many different styles and varieties.
From warm white string lights to colorful LEDs and twinkling garlands, Christmas tree lights can not only beautifully illuminate your tree, but there are many tips, tricks, and Christmas tree lighting hacks that can help to make your tree look fuller and professionally lit.
What’s trending in Christmas trees?
The biggest Christmas tree themes we’re seeing include an increasing focus on sustainability. Recycled and biodegradable materials are, quite rightly, the designs of choice for this year and beyond. Revelers are choosing to invest in handmade, high-quality decorations that will last for years to come, rather than swapping them out for new decorations every year.
There is also a huge resurgence in more retro, vintage Christmas tree ideas, from beautiful bows to tinsel to old-fashioned glass ornaments and lights, styles of the past always find a way to come back to the present and influence the future.
How do I arrange my Christmas tree ornaments?
Whether you’re going for a maximalist look and cramming every inch of green with decorations, or championing a more simple design, arranging Christmas tree decorations is all about achieving a consistent and even spread.
This means no part of the tree should be filled with more decorations per inch than any other area, and you should also try to ensure that the same approach is put towards decorations by type. For example, don’t have all your baubles in one corner and all your angels in another – make sure they intersperse one another
You may be inclined to not put as much effort into lesser-seen parts of the tree, but make sure every visible angle is covered. If your Christmas tree backs onto a window, remember not to leave the reverse side without decoration – you want it to look good from out the window too!
How do you decorate a Christmas tree so it looks full?
There are many ways you can decorate a Christmas tree so it looks full.
From carefully positioning your ornaments and lights, to fluffing the branches and adding extra foliage, if you're Christmas tree looks a little flat, consult our guide on how to make a Christmas tree look fuller.
Ailis started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. She then spent three years at the London Evening Standard, covering restaurants and bars. After a period of freelancing, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures, she started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing her to fully indulge her love of good interior design. She is now a fully fledged food PR but still writes for Homes & Gardens as a contributing editor.
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