Hmm, more ornaments? More sparkle. Oh, more lights! If you’re wondering how to up the wow factor on your Christmas tree decor, interior designer Michael Smith Boyd suggests adding more color—after all, the mood of the season is supposed to be merry and bright.
“One of my favorite things to do as a designer is to create unconventional pairings with colors and just experiment,” says Boyd. “We do it in fashion and give ourselves license there. Why not with holiday décor too?” He and fellow interior designer Rayman Boozer both created elevated looks using trees from Treetopia in the unexpected shade of orange. “Christmas is a time for things to be a little bit more glamorous so I wanted something that would feel like a fantasy,” says Boozer. “It’s special to have something like an orange tree.”
Here, they give decorating tips to help you go chicer, brighter, bolder with your Christmas tree’s decor—even if your tree of choice is good old green.
Match your existing design. “Use your favorite things in your permanent décor to inspire your seasonal décor,” explains Smith Boyd. “It’s a surefire way to always have something you’re comfortable with for the holiday.” Pull colors from elements around the room like artwork and furniture. If you decide to go with a tree of a unique shade, you’ve got options—from red to yellow, blue, black, and even rainbow. You can also consider complementary colors. “I used an orange tree this year because my apartment is mainly blue,” says Boozer. Blue and orange are opposite each other on the color wheel and work well together.
Stick to a theme. Boozer centered his around decorating. He used wallpaper scraps to create a chain garland to wrap around the tree. Your theme could be whatever speaks to you, from your favorite color or city to a beloved hobby. Having a theme will just help you streamline the decorating direction.
Call to nature. “There’s something about adding florals to a tree that makes it feel more real,” says Smith Boyd. He suggests using big blooms that won’t get lost in the tree, like hydrangeas or magnolias, and putting them on before ornaments so you can fill in any holes on the tree. “It’s one more layer of luxury.” Pinecones are another classic option: “There’s no tacky way to do a pinecone,” says Boozer. (Oprah agrees.)
Consider changing your skirt. To add a skirt or not to add a skirt? Both Smith Boyd and Boozer prefer to go the unconventional route. Smith Boyd laid a bolt of leopard fabric around his tree. Placing presents in baskets also makes for a nice skirtless presentation. If you definitely prefer a traditional skirt, make sure that it’s a round one big enough to wrap around the entire base of your tree.
Yes, definitely add more lights. If your tree doesn’t come with lights as some artificial trees do, get more than you think you need, says Boozer. “So maybe five strings of 100 lights. That’s like 500 lights—and that’s when it looks really good.” Wrap the strands around each branch and work your way up the tree.
Play with texture. Christmas balls are one of those universally adored adornments. Make things more interesting with an assortment of finishes. “I would suggest that everyone has a mixture between bulbs that are matte and some that are shiny to create dimension in the tree,” says Smith Boyd. Beaded and feathered bulbs are also zippy options.
Be selective. If opting for a bold tree, you may need to scale back on the variety of ornaments you use. Choose just a few different types in just a few hues within your planned color palette. On Boozer’s tree, there are only three types of ornaments—white sphere ornaments in two sizes, purple glitter pinecones, and tassels.
Use ribbon instead of hooks. “For every single ornament, I put a ribbon on and I tied it really tight to the branches because I like when it looks like they are growing out of the tree versus just hanging,” says Boozer. He went with ribbon in pink, lilac, and baby blue for a soft contrast to the vibrant orange tree.
Consider a unique topper. Classic stars or sentimental angels make a fine finishing touch, but getting creative will really turn your tree into a statement piece. “You can make it just about anything you want to,” says Smith Boyd. “I love the idea of creating a flower arrangement at the top of your tree.” He even affixed fans one year.
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