A beautifully decorated Christmas tree is seen by many as an essential part of any home during the festive period, helping to create a sense of occasion for friends and family.
Many will have put theirs up this weekend – or plan to this week – but it may not be the success you hope for if your decorations are not up to scratch.
We’ve turned to a professional stylist – the ‘Mary Berry of Christmas trees’ – who reveals how to best dress yours to make it the envy of your neighbours, or your Instagram followers.
She also highlighted how to avoid the Christmas tree pitfalls that blight some British homes during the festive period.
From naked Christmas tree to beautifully decorated by Alexander James Interiors
Jane Briggs, a stylist at Alexander James Interiors, exclusively told MailOnline Property that there are some key dos and don’ts of decorating a Christmas tree.
Every year, Jane is hired to decorate ones found in multi-million pound homes in some of the most expensive parts of the country to ensure they are well-dressed and presentable.
Here’s six top tips on how to make yours look as good as possible, no matter how big or small the budget.
1. Use an artificial tree with lights
While artificial trees may have once had an unsophisticated reputation, their quality has vastly improved and they have now become much more fashionable.
Indeed, Jane now advises avoiding real Christmas trees altogether and beginning with an artificial tree instead.
Jane Briggs, a stylist at Alexander James Interiors, reveals how best to decorate a tree
She said: ‘If you buy a real tree, they dry out too quickly because of underfloor heating, central heating and open fires.’
And she added: ‘Try to buy with the lights already involved in it because it’s so much easier, with the lights distributed correctly.
‘If you put your own lights on the tree, you have the wires and lights everywhere to deal with.’
2. Large baubles
Once you start adding items to the tree, the key is making sure they are big enough, according to Jane.
She said: ‘Try not to buy items that are too little. They just blend in and you don’t see them. You need some good sized, larger baubles. Then you add in the little interesting bits you’ve collected over the years.’
3. Use colours in the room
Try to use the colours in the room where the Christmas is going to stand. In our session, the room had orange cushions, and this was the accent colour used on the tree.
Jane said: ‘The cushions in this room are orange. You don’t want too much orange, but you want the tree to look right in the room, so we’ve just brought in a little bit of orange to pull in the colours of room.
‘This makes it look balanced and dressed.’
Top tips include using large baubles – and plenty of them, to ensure the tree looks well dressed
4. Use natural twigs
One of the biggest pitfalls of decorating a Christmas tree is leaving it too sparse, Jane suggested.
‘If you can’t afford baubles, then get ribbon and you can put them around the tree as it fills up the space,’ she said.
She also suggests using feathers or natural twigs to fill up the space on your Christmas tree. Spray them gold or silver, before ‘poking’ them into your Christmas tree, Jane suggested.
‘Whatever you want to put on will look good, but you need to put enough on or it will lose the effect,’ she said.
One of the biggest pitfalls of decorating a Christmas tree is leaving it too sparse
5. Start at the top
Jane begins decorating a Christmas tree by starting at the top and then ‘zig-zagging her way down’.
She says: ‘You always have to do a bit at the back, because you can see through a tree. But if you’re going putting it up against a wall, I’d only do a bit either side so that it looks dressed.’
During our Christmas tree decorating session, Jane collects baubles of a similar size and colour, and starts adding them to the tree.
‘Make sure they are in a place they can actual dangle,’ she advises. ‘And don’t spend a fortune on Christmas baubles because they’ll break. The cat is bound to go up the tree and smash a few, or someone will fall against it.
‘Unless they are memories, I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on baubles.’
6. Use odd numbers
As is best with most interior design and gardening, it is best to use colours in odd numbers.
Jane explained: ‘If you’re doing any colour, it is always best to odd numbers. So do three, or five, or seven, different colours because it just works as they are odd.
‘Working in twos or fours is never quite as easy as working with odd numbers.’
Jane finishes decorating the Christmas tree, creating a look that is worthy of any social media star’s Instagram:
It is best to use colours in odd numbers when you’re decorating a Christmas tree