Holiday & Christmas
Tree Decorating Ideas

Running out of Christmas tree decorating ideas? Want to update the look of your tree but aren't sure where to start? Short of running out and buying all new ornaments which can get costly, consider some of these simple, thrifty solutions.

A Pencil Tree Takes Up Less Space In Smaller Rooms

First of all, do you have a tree? If not, check Craigslist for some great bargains. I have even seen them listed for free numerous times. The local thrift shops occasionally get them as well.

Determine what size you need before you buy. Height is important but diameter can be just as important. You do not want a tree that is "smushed" in the corner between pieces of furniture. I've had issues with wide trees in the past and prefer going tall and narrow with my choices these days. A narrower tree will also give the illusion of height. A good trick for smaller spaces.

Speaking of smaller spaces, consider pencil trees (seen right). These trees allow for quick, easy set-up, are lightweight, and require minimal storage space when not in use. A great choice for an apartment. A set of three Alpine artificial trees, typically used for outdoor displays, can be a neat indoor alternative to a large tree.

TIP: Remember scale when choosing a fresh or live tree. Outdoor trees seem BIGGER once you get them inside. Bring a tape measure along before committing to a monstrosity.

Ornament Color Ideas

The colors you choose for your tree can help portray certain design styles. Burgundy and gold can read traditional while silver and black say modern. There are even trendy, contemporary colors popping up as a result of popular room color schemes. Light blue or pink with brown and bronze for instance.

I typically choose ornaments that pull from the existing colors of a room. This allows the tree to become a cohesive, decorative element for the space. Consider picking one color and then choosing varying shades or finishes of that color in all the ornaments and accents you add. This monochromatic approach creates instant impact. Imagine the boldness of a tree covered in all pink accents. A few pink balls or baubles may get lost among other ornaments but a mass amount of the same color will get noticed.

Want some variation? Introduce a second, complementary color. If we proceed with the pink idea above, a great second color to introduce would be a pearl or iridescent white or champagne color.

If you already have a lot of ornaments or balls but want to change it up a bit, simply pick out all the ornaments in one color family, store the rest away for another year and purchase a few sets of coordinating or complementing glass or shatter-proof balls to give your tree a new look. This is an inexpensive solution.

I have silver glass ball ornaments that were originally chosen for a silver/blue theme and then were reused with a silver/gold theme. Just switching one color will create a whole new look.

Contemporary Color Example

Trendy Ornament Color Themes
This is a nice example of a contemporary color scheme of complementary pear green and bronze in varying finishes.

Coordinating Ornament Color Sets
I like sets that contain the same color ball in a shiny and matte finish. Purchase lots of them for mass coverage. Splurge on a few specialty ornaments to dot around the tree.

Ice Crystal Effect Ornaments
Mix in more elaborate ornaments, such as the "iced" or "sugared" one shown above to add variation and opulence. Choose decorations that reflect light or have a twinkling quality for drama, depth and dimension.

Thrifty Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas

When it comes to Christmas tree decorating ideas, it's best to think outside-of-the-box. What items do you already own that could be used as ornaments or repurposed as tree decor? One thrifty item I like to use is ribbon. Purchase numerous spools of ribbon to use in place of garland or as an additional element. This gives the tree a more elaborate, fanciful appearance.

Stock up on "fillers" at the DollarTree®. Fillers are ornaments or other decorative accents that you can place deeper into the branches or in bare spots that have a backstage presence yet contribute to the overall finished result. They give your tree more detail and fullness.

Consider purchasing packs of small, pre-made bows. They already have a twist tie so you can simple affix them to branch tips. Gift-wrapping ribbon cut to consistent lengths and curled with scissors creates a quick filler in place of tinsel. Choose those with an iridescent finish or silver and gold. Bundles of faux grapes, berries or fruit look nice placed upon branches and add another element.

Blue And Silver Themed Tree

Blue and silver make a classy statement. This tree uses ribbon both horizontally (wound around the tree like garland) and vertically (strewn downward from the top).

Dried flowers in blue and willow twigs spray-painted silver are jutting out of the tree around a central focal area.

Although this tree could use more fillers, it is a nice example of ways to use ribbon. The brown you see are lit grapevine balls. An organic element to match that of the room's decor.

Themed Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas

Themed Christmas tree decorating ideas can be fun and easy and there are so many directions you can go. The other nice thing is that the theme typically will dictate your color palette. Your theme may be specific to your room or a design motif found within it; a fleur-de-lis for instance.

One year I did a tree with a celestial theme. All the decorations I found were either in gold or silver so I just stuck with those two colors. I found a ton of celestial items that were not ornaments but were easy to incorporate as such.

Since I spoke of faux grape bundles above, perhaps you are a wine aficionado and love all things vino. Find wine related elements or functional items to repurpose on your tree as decor. You may start seeing a lot of reds and purples in the items you are choosing so go that color direction. Are you starting to like this wine theme? If so, consider some of these wine-related Christmas tree decorating ideas.

  • Hang wine glass charms from the ends of the branch tips or bundle them together (since they are so small) to make your own ornaments. Tip: You can get packs of 6 or more at DollarTree®.

  • Sting wine charms together to create a garland or hang them on top of a solid, shiny ball so they stand out better.

  • Hang wine corks from the branches. Attach them with glued on loops of twine or simply stick an ornament hook into the backside of the cork.

  • String corks together on fish line to again create some custom garland.

  • Press corks lengthwise onto metal skewers until full and place them around the top of the tree like a star or randomly jutting out from branches.

  • Hang wine glasses upside down by their stems as ornaments.

  • Place empty wine bottles, facing outward from the trunk, on stronger branches. Wrap twine around the center of the bottle and attach.

  • Place or hang bundles of faux grapes from the branches.

I came up with these ideas off the top of my head so I'm sure you could do the same with any theme you choose. Have FUN and be CREATIVE when developing your Christmas tree decorating ideas.

If you need suggestions for your theme, contact me
via the "envelope icon" at the top right column.

Classic Charm

Burgundy and Gold Nutcracker Theme Tree
A Nutcracker theme tree utilizes a classy, traditional color palette of burgundy, gold and navy blue. Multi-packs of tassels are used as thrifty fillers.

Going Green

It's no secret that Frugal Interior Design enjoys leaning toward green living and decorating initiatives, but what about going "green" with your tree.

Green and Bronze Tree
A tree's color direction stays in compliance with this formal dining room's accent colors. The green and bronze ornaments shown earlier are put to use.

Green and Bronze Tree
Staying in the bronze family is the addition of gold/champagne-colored accents and decor. This trio of colors coordinates perfectly with this space, retaining its formality.

Additional Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas and Tips

Use mass amounts of miniature lights on your tree to achieve the best look. Wrap lights around the trunk and work outward so they are visible the whole way through. In the tree above, a few strands of green lights were used along with white. I typically prefer white for a clean, timeless look, or coordinate your lights with your room. Some colored lights look too dark on trees so adding white helps brighten the final result. As always, consider eco-friendly LED lighting options.

Want a timeless look that coordinates with any room color? Consider these classy Christmas tree decorating ideas. Use crystal and glass ornaments only with white lights. Look for vintage, crystal chandelier prisms and tear-drops to hang from the branches. These repurposed items add luxurious style.

Go organic. Choose free items from nature to adorn your tree. Wrap grapevine around it like garland. Hang pinecones from the branches. Place sprigs of holly or other berry clippings throughout. Dried orange slices can be hung as well as small bundles of cinnamon sticks tied with twine. Glue assorted nuts together to create ornaments. Place large woven grapevine spheres strategically within the branches.

If you need a skirt for your tree, consider purchasing a few yards of fabric and simply wrapping it around the base. Do you have an old flat sheet or drape? What about an unused canvas drop cloth or old burlap sacks and feed bags?

Get elaborate at the top of the tree. Add protruding elements such as twig sprays, painted willow branches or other faux branches that have an "iced" or "sugared" finish in your color palette. Peacock feathers and sprays of flowers could be a good option too.

Consider other unique elements such as dove, birds, bird nests and so forth. Have little surprises and details that become more apparent the longer the tree is observed.

Perhaps some of these Christmas tree decorating ideas will come in handy and give you a few directions to go this year when you are getting ready to trim-the-tree. See my other budget-friendly, Christmas decorating ideas and my page on Homemade Christmas Ornaments.

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