From midcentury-inspired style to boho-style stunners, these tannenbaums reign supreme.

By Caroline Biggs
November 04, 2020
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white Christmas tree in a dining room
Credit: Zeke Ruelas Photography / Courtesy of John McClain Design

'Tis the season for decking the halls of your home for the holidays, and few things are more festive than decorating a Christmas tree. "A well-designed tree can become the focal point of a room," says interior designer Bachman Brown. "When a tree is beautifully layered and draped with the right lighting, it turns into the centerpiece of a space."

Of course, every well-designed Christmas tree starts with a game plan. "Whether you prefer an eclectic, multicolored tree or a cohesive, monochromatic vibe, gather all the decorations, including lights, ornaments, and garlands, ahead of time to be sure you can achieve the desired look," interior designer Marie Flanigan says. "As opposed to decorating for your everyday life, a Christmas tree gives you the opportunity to be much more playful and take chances!"

Interested in learning more about how different designers decorate their own Christmas trees at home? We asked a handful of interior designers to share their favorite Christmas tree designs and their tips for decorating your own.

Mid-Century Modern Drama

For John McClain, a simple white Christmas tree clad in colorful Christmas ornaments, as seen above, is a chic way to make a festive statement in room. "A midcentury-inspired white Christmas tree, with lots of bright colors, looks bold yet sophisticated at the same time," he says. "I like to weave a blue ribbon in and out of the tree to draw the hues of the ornaments together."

white flocked Christmas tree
Credit: Courtesy of Marie Flanigan Interiors

Elegant and Impactful Tree

If you ask Flanigan, the best Christmas trees are ones that evoke fond memories of past holidays. "No matter the style, a Christmas tree should bring joy and ambiance to the room," she explains. "Our family's main Christmas tree is always filled with heirloom and handmade ornaments from my children. However, I also like to create an elegant Christmas tree for my guest home, complete with metallic glass ornaments, pine cones, and touches of holly."

Christmas tree in a living room
Credit: Jenny Antill / Courtesy of Creative Tonic Design

Flocked Trees

Courtnay Tartt Elias of Creative Tonic Design says she approaches her Christmas tree décor the same way she does when designing a home. "I select a base color (I love unexpected holiday colors like orange and purple) and then layer it up," she explains. "Flocking provides the ideal foundation for building out a colorful tree design and I adore how white tree lights really make the flocked texture glow. You can also speckle bows in fresh, dramatic colors throughout the tree for a dash of nostalgia with a twist!"

Christmas tree with silver presents
Credit: Ali Keshmiri / Courtesy of Bachman Brown Design

Big and Beautiful Tree

If you're hoping to decorate a Christmas tree that will leave a lasting impression on guests, Brown says to go big or go home. "Just shy of 11 feet, this tree wouldn't fit in any of my clients' homes, but our office at the time had 14-foot ceilings and despite my better judgement, I couldn't resist," he explains. "I hid the tree down the hall in a friend's office until everyone left for the day and stayed until 3 in the morning putting the finishing touches on. It was overwhelmingly large in our very petite office, but it was breathtaking. Needless to say, I got a few teary eyes the next day."

Christmas tree
Credit: Courtesy of Kendall Wilkinson

Classic Christmas Tree

According to Kendall Wilkinson, you can't go wrong with a Christmas tree resplendent in festive colors, smells, and lighting. "I design my holiday decorations to mix easily into my home," she says. "I like crisp white lights, the scent of fresh pine, and lots of gold, silver, and metallic elements. I add beautiful French wire ribbons and bows, fresh white flowers over my mantle, and throughout the living and dining rooms. Don't forget, lots of candles. My holiday style is timeless elegance with a side of Hollywood regency!"

modern Christmas tree
Credit: Courtesy of Becky Shea

Mementos Matter

Becky Shea says that Christmas trees are a great way to showcase meaningful objects that you've collected from previous years. "We always pick an ornament that embodies the year in review, and we always trim the trunk and note the year of that specific tree," she explains. "For the tree we designed last year for our own home, we focused on recycled goods and chose elements from throughout the space to hang on the branches. From vintage brushes to old love letters from when my husband, Jake, and I first started dating."

pom-poms on a Christmas tree
Credit: Zeke Ruelas Photography / Courtesy of John McClain

Boho-Style Stunner

For those with a bohemian sense of style, McClain designed the Christmas tree for you. "A boho-style tree highlighted by yarn pom-poms and braided white yarn is super simple but effective," he explains. "We made all of the ornaments, as well as the braided yarn garland, and then accented with ready-made ornaments before topping it off with a larger white pom-pom."

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