The white Christmas tree trend is prevailing this festive season. Giving off a look of kitschy glamor, while providing a clean alternative to pine-dropping real trees, it’s all part of this wider trend that sees faux trees as the best festive choice. Picking a tree that comes down from the loft every year has quickly become the environmentally friendly option, so we’re all for this look.
‘For years I was an evangelist about decorating with a real tree (yes, they’re a mess and yes, I prefer not to think about the impact on the environment), but as always I reserve the right to change my mind,’ says Jonathan Adler.
But with white as the foundation of color on your tree, it begs the question of how to decorate it, and how to use the white Christmas tree idea throughout the home. We’ve spoken to the designers and brands who are going all out on the white Christmas tree this year, to find out their favorite ways to decorate the festive staple.
Oonagh is a homes and interiors writer and editor. For this festive trends story, she’s spoken to brands and designers to find out just how to decorate a white tree, and exactly why this style is proving popular this Christmas.
White Christmas tree ideas – how to decorate them?
The white Christmas tree trend is really taking over our homes this season, with their retro look adding playfulness to our living rooms. But how do we decorate them? Going for a different color to the traditional green tree means we’ve got to rethink what colors work alongside the bright white. It’s also about thinking what form the white tree might take, is it taking over a large corner? Is it frost tipped or have a metallic look? Or are your white trees reserved to the tablescape where they make for a cute centerpiece? We talk to those in the know to find out more about this year’s Christmas tree trend.
1. Go for the less bushy look
As an alternative to Christmas excess, why not make a statement and choose a stark and unadorned tree? This bold touch can really act as a counterpoint to the festive bacchanalia whirling around it. Should you wish to add interest to this look, choose a birch tree style with lovely ribbed details on the trunk and winter white branches.
Add your own decor – off white or cream lights work well – and maybe the occasional perfectly positioned bauble or two. ‘A white tree really glows when you add string lights and the neutral colour can work with virtually any scheme, offering the perfect blank canvas. If you prefer a boho feel with a simple, natural look that perfectly captures wintertime, a simple white tree is the perfect base for natural rattan ornaments, feathery lit pampas grasses and glass baubles filled with dried flowers and grasses,’ says Dani Taylor, creative director at Cox & Cox (opens in new tab).
Keeping with the Scandinavian Christmas decor, a snowy carpet underneath – or sheepskin rug – can add to the magical feel, allowing the tree to stand apart majestically from the hubbub. Wrapping your Christmas presents in white or silver paper will keep with the theme.
2. Go for bold baubles
When considering how to decorate your Christmas tree, try nestling bold, jewel-toned baubles into your snowy pine. This is sure to create a modern but eclectic feel to your festive display, and inject a real dose of magic into your tree design. Adding colored baubles can help bring warmth to an otherwise frosty white look too, so think yellows, bright pinks and electric blues to add some unconventional Christmas colors to your tree. ‘Whatever you do, don’t skimp. Nothing’s sadder than an under-accessorized tree,’ says Jonathan Adler (opens in new tab).
Another Christmas tree trend is to go metallic. This silvery-looking Christmas tree is a stylish take on the white Christmas tree trend and adds more shine to your Christmas scheme. ‘The holidays not a time to hold back,’ says Jonathan. ‘The more twinkle the better. And what’s twinklier than a silver tree?’ This gives a little eclecticism to your scheme and can bring some magic to a corner of the room. Just make sure not to decorate with tinsel, instead go for simple paper decorations and let the tree itself do the talking.
4. Opt for frosty white tips
For a more alternative Christmas tree look, try frost-white tips. You can either buy your tree with these white tips as is, or get crafty this Christmas with a green faux tree that you color yourself. You can buy Christmas tree flocking spray (opens in new tab) or flocking powder (opens in new tab), both will give you that coveted Christmas greenery a winter wonderland vibe with ease.
This look also works if you don’t want to go down the fake tree route, and want to have the scent and freshness given off by a real Christmas tree in the corner of your living room.
5. Go for mini white trees on a tablescape
When decorating the home for Christmas, you might want to create a beautiful festive tablescape to usher in the magic of Christmas. First and foremost, think about what kind of look you want for your table. Instead of an indulgent spread rich in color and candles, why not go simple with an all-white look with Christmas trees dotted throughout the center of your table. Bringing height to your scheme, they make for a cute centerpiece, and aren’t too tall to make dinner conversation tricky.
‘Twinkling with magical lights, a row of little white brush trees adds a Nordic touch and makes the perfect easy Christmas table centerpiece or mantel display,’ says Dani.
6. Use white lights on your tree
The magic of Christmas may remind us of our childhood days, but that doesn’t have to mean masses of multicolored, blinking tree lights piled on the tree in an artless manner. White Christmas tree lights – whether twinkling or not – styled over your Christmas tree branches look beautiful and stand out more than colored ones which can get lost among the foliage and other decorations. This monochrome option allows for you to be more adventurous with the shape of the bulbs – tiny lightbulbs, little Moroccan souk-style lamps or even icicles work well to denote a wintry theme.
If not choosing a natural Christmas tree, white, creamy or off-white light son a white Christmas tree also work well together, the glacial lights and pale branches enhancing your tree’s snowy aura.
7. Take it outside
Christmas trees aren’t just for the living room, why not make the most of any garden space with outdoor Christmas decor bound to bring cheer to the neighborhood and create a magical welcome. You can place a garden Christmas tree on your porch, or go all out and line them either side of your driveway. Invest in lights that work for an exterior setting that are fully waterproof and adorn your white tree.
Or use what you already have in your front garden, says Kat Aul Cervoni, landscape designer and founder of Staghorn NYC and The Cultivation by Kat. ‘If you have a tree (or trees) in your front yard, wrapping their trunks and branches with string lights is another lovely way to brighten things up for the holiday season.’
8. Finally, for the top of the tree
Last, but certainly not least is your white Christmas tree topper – the final decorative flourish on your white Christmas tree. More traditionally, a twinkly star or angel sits atop your tree, but a white Christmas tree gives you the license to be a bit more experimental in your crowning glory. This silver-frosted Christmas tree laden with blue and silver baubles and china ornaments is topped with a playful – and unexpected – swan. You might think this idea is a little off the wall, but you’re free as a bird to choose your own topper, and there are plenty of fun and unique ideas that will make you as proud as a peacock of your festive display.
How can I make a cheap Christmas tree look expensive?
The thing with going for a fake tree is that it always looks, well, a bit fake, and really, we don’t want a plastic-looking tree in the corner of a beautiful living room as it can really cheapen the space. The best thing to do to make your cheap Christmas tree look expensive is to firstly establish a theme. If you’re going all out with homemade baubles gathered after years of kids’ Christmasses, you could end up with an overly colorful look which might be too much on the eye. Pick your colors and stick to them. Sumptuous browns and plum colors can help make your tree look rich and give it some depth.
Don’t go for the colorful lights. This is another factor which really cheapens the space with too much color drawing the eye and together with a plastic tree – giving a garish toy town vibe. Pick soft white or gold when putting the lights on.
Staying away from tinsel is another top tip. Instead, pick ribbon and tie cute bows on the end of each branch, or get individual strands of tinsel and lay them neatly and equally spaced across the branches.
Investing in your baubles is also important in making sure your scheme is clean and luxurious looking. It’s tempting to buy a bargain box of eight, but Christmas should be a time for tradition. Each year, make a day of your bauble purchasing. Head into town and make the buying process part of a tradition. You’ll soon gather together a beautiful collection.
Tricking the eye into thinking that your Christmas tree was expensive or real is not about making your Christmas tree look fuller and filling it with as much as possible. Keep things calm, pared-back, single color scheme and you can’t go far wrong.