16 Ways to Trim Your Christmas Tree Like a Pro

Give your Christmas tree and family gathering area that classic department store look with these easy designer decorating tips.

How to Achieve a Glam + Sophisticated Holiday Look

Design Star season 7 contestant Britany Simon and designer Brian Patrick Flynn spice up the family gathering area in this suburban Atlanta-based home. From large statement pieces on the Christmas tree to an unexpected color palette of black, white and red, see how Britany and Brian achieve a glam and sophisticated holiday look.

Add Glitz + Glam

Not sure what style of garland to add to your tree? Well, why not skip the garland and opt for metallic branches instead? Keep the overall look of your tree clean and clutter-free by interspersing metallic branches with assorted ornaments. Not only is this a cleaner, more contemporary alternative to traditional garland, it's much easier to put up, take down and store.

Bundle Pinecones for Texture

Some of the most textural, organic Christmas tree decorations can be found right outside your door. When adding clusters of ornaments to your tree, incorporate a few made from pinecones dipped in white paint. The paint adds a nice contrast while the rough texture of the pinecones themselves helps bring in an organic feel.

Mix Metallics to Create Sparkle

The use of metallics is a more sophisticated approach to holiday decorating. Once twinkle lights are illuminated at night, metallic accents dance with sparkle and sheen. Whether you're using the same color or mixing gold, silver and bronze, try to combine metallic ornaments featuring different finishes including matte, high-gloss reflective, glitzy and sparkly, and raw or coarse.

Use Natural Ornaments for Balance

Ornaments made of natural papers can add casualness to a tree. This is a great way to counterbalance more formal elements such as ornaments made of metallics and glass. In addition to their texture, the neutral tones help with the overall balance of a Christmas tree's color scheme.

Give Your Tree an Illuminating Display

Nowadays, most artificial Christmas trees come pre-lit; however, real trees still require lights applied by hand. To give your tree the most illumination, tuck twinkle lights inside the trunk, then use them to outline the outer edges of the tree's branches. Once all areas are covered, the inner glow from the tree will ensure all ornaments are properly illuminated.

Add Oversized Ornaments

Consider adding two or three oversized ornaments or embellishments to your Christmas tree. This is the best way to pull together a color scheme and play with pattern mixing. Designer Britany Simon created these black, white and red poinsettias from solid-colored felt and patterned cottons. Once added to the tree, they become the first thing guests notice then help draw the eye around the room to other coordinating design elements.

Add Depth With Clustered Ornaments

A designer trick for adding depth to your Christmas tree decor is to cluster similar ornaments together then hang them inside the tree and along the tips of branches. From a distance, the clusters will read much more graphically than tucked and partially-hidden single ornaments, plus they will help fill voids throughout the tree.

Find the Perfect Topper

Although many homeowners find tree toppers an integral part of Christmas tree decorating, they're often something interior designers skip altogether. When opting to add a topper to your Christmas tree, consider toppers made from organic elements such as wood, twine, woven materials and/or metal. These often have longer-lasting appeal than toppers made from plastic, fiberglass or molded materials.

Use a One-of-a-Kind Tree Skirt

When it comes to tree skirts, why not think outside the box? Consider a square tree skirt made from unexpected holiday materials, such as menswear fabric, rather than the round versions found in retail stores. This tree skirt, designed by Britany Simon, features a black-and-red plaid pattern and measures 4-feet-by-4-feet. Early in the season when the tree is void of gifts, the size of the skirt remains in view. As presents begin to stack underneath the tree, the graphic impact of the plaid pattern begins to peek through between gifts.

Finish Gifts With Simple Embellishments

It's just as important to add organic texture around your tree as it is on it. As gift wrapping is under way, add pinecones onto your wrapped boxes with ribbon as rustic embellishments. The rough, natural appeal of the pinecones will break up the straight-lined look of the boxes.

Combine Patterns + Hues

Although the Christmas tree is usually the main focal point of holiday decor, the presentation of gifts can be just as important. For the perfect mix, combine solid-colored gift wrap with patterned gift wrap. To ensure the mixed patterns do not become too busy, stick with a combination of small, medium and large patterns rather than patterns that are similar in scale.

Setup a Pretty Gift Arrangement

Arrange your gifts with a variation of heights and widths to achieve the best visual appearance. Keep large, bulky boxes sitting directly on the floor, then build temporary gift towers by piling smaller gifts on top. As each temporary gift tower is created, be sure that each one stands approximately 5 to 8 inches lower or higher than the one next to it. If you stick with this rule, by the time you stand back to take a look at your decked-out Christmas tree, the variation of heights will be perfectly balanced.

Mix Up the Display

To create a department store look, simply add a few large, unwrapped gifts around the Christmas tree. The juxtaposition of boxes with freestanding items, such as this tricycle, creates a nice mix. To bring holiday flair to your unwrapped items, stick with a simple bow tied around the top, or add a few strands of ribbon along the sides.

Spoil the Surprise

Of all the people on your Christmas list, the little ones are sure to be the most excited when it comes to unwrapping gifts around the tree. Give your wide-eyed tots the biggest surprise by leaving plush animals unwrapped and interspersed with gift-wrapped boxes. This adds a youthful touch to your decor and gives the little ones something to run and grab the moment they wake up. (Plus, there will be less wrapping paper to clean up!)

Offer a Cozy Place to Sit

As your family gathers on Christmas morning to unwrap gifts, ensure a comfortable spot for everyone with floor cushions or poufs in colors that coordinate with your holiday color scheme.

Create a Mobile Gift Wrap Station

Outfit a large woven basket with wrapping paper, ribbon and name tags, then take it from room to room as needed, or simply leave it by the tree until it's time to start wrapping your next round of gifts.

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