How Tos & Expert Tips

How to Decorate Your Christmas Tree Like a Professional

A Christmas tree is the centerpiece of every holiday home. Want to learn how to decorate a Christmas tree like a professional? Decorating experts Dagmar Obert and Brad Schmidt share tips on how to make your tree look spectacular.

In this video, Dagmar shares her process on how to decorate a Balsam Hill Christmas tree.

Show Transcription

Dagmar Obert:You’ve set up your tree and now you’re ready to decorate, but not quite sure where to start. Today, I’m going to walk you through how to decorate this tree. From choosing the theme to placing the floral picks and finally, putting on the topper. Before you start decorating your tree, you’ll want to decide on a theme. A theme can be as simple as a color scheme, or a special collection, or even one of your own interests. For this tree, I’ve used Balsam Hills red, white, and sparkle collection. I love the look of this theme. It’s traditional colors of red and white with a modern twist of simple clean line ornaments and the addition of sparkle and chain of silver.

Now, when I decorate the tree, I think of the tree in sections. Sometimes top, middle, and bottom. Sometimes in quarters, vertically quarters, or even thirds. This time I’ve paired the snowy branch with the velvet plum blossoms to set off the red flowers against the darker green foliage. This gives you a bit more of an impact than if you were to place the flower picks alone. The glitter jingle bell picks are displayed in a more traditional way. The bells and spheres dangle down like silver ornaments as I place the pick toward the back of the tree.

After finishing with the picks, I hang larger ornaments as background. I hung the longer red ornaments first because we knew we needed more space for them. Then we started to add texture and detail with ribbon and the rest of the ornaments. I used the jewel white ribbon as ornament by tying it into a traditional bow. This ribbon with silver jewels looks great no matter how you tie it.

Decorating a tree is always a process. Step back from time to time to see if the tree might be missing something. In this case, I realized that everything looked a bit heavy and I needed something airy and delicate. I took the silver stretch net ribbon and paired it with the ice glitter twig picks. For the topper, I wanted to show off the velvet plum blossoms in a dense way bringing out the red in the rest of the tree. Since I used the wire net in the tree, I added it to the top as a collar with loops of red velvet ribbon.

That’s how I went about decorating with the red, white, and sparkle collection. At balsamhill.com, you can find various decorating themes with ornaments, picks, and ribbon all sorted into collections. Putting together a look is easier than ever.

We break down how to decorate a Christmas tree like a professional in 11 simple steps.

1. Build a theme

Featured: Vermont White Spruce® Narrow | Large Bethlehem Star Beaded Tree Topper | Brilliant Bordeaux Ornament Set | Jeweled Christmas Tree Garland | Capiz Tree Collar

For a Christmas tree to look professionally decorated, it needs an element that ties everything together. Dagmar suggests basing your Christmas tree theme on a certain color palette, an ornament collection, or one of your interests. Then, get style inspiration from designer blogs, home décor sites, or Pinterest. Finally, create a mood board to bring your vision to life. This will help you pick out the decorations that you need.

2. Start with classic ornaments

Featured: Silver and Gold Glass Ornament Set | BH Essentials Classic Ornament Set

When trimming your tree, start with ornaments in a classic color scheme like silver, gold, white, red, and green. These hues mix and match well with other tree decorations to create a different theme every year.

3. Fluff and shape

Fluffing and shaping your tree may take a while, but they’re an essential part of the decorating process. This will help you achieve a lush and lifelike look for your centerpiece.

If you want to save time doing this, check out Balsam Hill’s exclusive Pre-fluffed® Artificial Christmas Trees. These trees feature memory wire branches that adjust into place upon unboxing. Best of all, the branches retain much of their shape after the first setup. This means that it will be easier to set up the tree in future years.

Watch the video below for a detailed step-by-step on how to fluff and shape an artificial Christmas tree.

In addition, Dagmar highlights the following tips to make the process easier:

  • Ask family or friends to help shape your tree.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands.
  • Refer to the product photo of the tree to easily recreate the look of the branches.
  • When fluffing each branch, start from the inner branches and work your way outward.
  • Shape the tree by section, starting from the bottom. For taller trees, fluff the top section before attaching it to the tree to avoid having to use a ladder.

4. String the lights

Before stringing lights on a tree, check that they’re in working order. Begin at the bottom of the tree and circle your way upwards, weaving in and out of the branches.

Skip this step with Balsam Hill’s pre-lit Christmas trees. Many of these trees come equipped with our exclusive Easy Plug® technology, which features pre-made light connections inside the trunk. Lighting your tree will be as easy as plugging it into a wall socket.

5. Divide the tree into sections

Featured: Pinecone Picks | Red Berry Picks | Frosted Branch Picks | Nordic Frost Ornament Set

To decorate like a professional, view your Christmas tree in sections: top, middle, and bottom. Style each section, starting from the top, and then work your way down.

For a more balanced look, Dagmar suggests further segmenting your tree into quadrants. This ensures no two similar items are too close together. As an example, Dagmar used two styles of tree picks to mark the divisions while achieving a dramatic effect.

6. Combine large and small ornaments for depth

There are no hard and fast rules to hanging ornaments. However, experts tend to begin with larger ones. They tuck them deeper within the foliage to add depth. As a result, they achieve a beautiful, layered look.

On the other hand, smaller ornaments look best when hung on the tips of the branches. Designers do this to create a draping effect. Brad likes combining different ornament sizes for a bold statement.

Featured: BH Essentials Mercury Glass Ornament Set | Capiz Star Lighted Garland

Another way to style ornaments is to cluster them together. For instance, group ornaments of the same style together for a seamless look. Or, achieve a playful contrast by using various designs instead.

7. Style with ribbons

Decorate your Christmas tree like a professional by using Christmas tree ribbons as ornaments. Brad recommends using wired ones because they’re easier to shape and style. As demonstrated in the video, choose two ribbons with different styles and widths. Layer them to create texture. Then, finish the ribbon with a creative twist at the ends.

8. Fill in gaps with picks

Featured: Red Magnolia Picks | Small Gold Berry Picks | Christmas Cheer Ornament Set | Red Merry Christmas Velvet Ribbon

Using Christmas tree picks and sprays is a creative way to fill in the sparse areas of your tree. Also, they bring a different kind of texture to the whole look. If you want a more natural feel for your display, choose picks like berries, flowers, or pinecones. On the other hand, achieve a more sophisticated effect with fancier ones embellished with crystals or pearls.

9. Bring in interesting details

Intricate accents are a great way to elevate the look of your tree. If you have some prized heirloom ornaments with gorgeous details, now is the time to use them. For vivid pops of color, take your cue from Brad and group several floral picks to create points of interest.

10. Add a tree topper

Featured: Small Natural Double-Sided Starburst Tree Topper | Classic Star Capiz Tree Topper | Large Lit Capiz Star Tree Topper | Capiz Angel Tree Topper | Small Capiz Snowflake Lighted Tree Topper | Christmas Bouquet Tree Topper

Polish your display with a tree topper to complement your theme. However, if you want a designer look for your tree, improvising is key. For instance, Dagmar likes to tie picks together in an elegant bouquet. Similarly, Brad ties ornaments together using floral wire, then adds picks for drama. Using a custom topper adds personality to your tree which sets it apart from the rest.

11. Dress it up with a skirt or collar

Featured: Red Merry Christmas Felt Tree Skirt | Nordic Snowflake Tree Skirt | Christmas Village Embroidered Tree Skirt | Capiz Tree Collar

Finally, set the perfect backdrop for presents with a Christmas tree skirt that matches your theme. However, if you want a unique base, a decorative tree collar is a stylish alternative. These collars are crafted from various materials like galvanized metal, wicker, capiz shells, and many others. They easily wrap around the tree stand for a quick and easy finishing touch.


We hope that these expert techniques and creative touches help you pull off a professionally decorated tree that you can be proud of.

For easier tree styling, check out Balsam Hill’s themed holiday décor collections below. Find coordinated ornaments, tree accents, and other decorations to create a cohesive look for your display.


Be Inspired

For more Christmas tree decorating ideas, check out the articles below.


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