How To Make A Tree Look Expensive

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My favorite part about the holiday season is absolutely, positively, 100% decorating my Christmas tree(s). I’ve got some really easy, and might I add, cost-effective ways to make a Christmas tree look expensive for you today.

A Christmas tree decorated in red and white candy ornaments.

First things first, let’s talk about the base

I think there’s a misconception out there that you have to have a really expensive, grand Christmas tree to make it look full and styled, but I’m here to tell you, that simply isn’t the case. You can make any tree, any size, any color look a-mazing and I’ll show you how.

In fact, I didn’t even put up my “big” tree this year. The pictures in this post are of a tree I’ve owned for years, which has been my secondary tree. It’s nothing special. It’s the Black Friday tree from Home Depot several years ago. I think I paid $89.00 for it. It’s a smaller tree, only 7 feet tall, but it’s pre-lit with white and multicolored LED lights, which is a nice bonus.

I used this tree because I wanted to show you that it’s not about the tree, my friends. So, now that we’ve covered the fact that any tree will do, let’s talk about how to make a Christmas tree look expensive and beautifully styled.

Red and white candy cane ornaments hanging on a Christmas tree.

Number 1: Ornament hooks

  1. The first, and probably most important task is to upgrade your ornament hooks. It’s time to ditch the super cheap, plain Jane (or mismatched) ornament hooks for something consistent and a little classier.

Why this is important:

Ornament hooks can either work with you or against you in Christmas tree decor. You don’t want them to be distracting or gaudy, but you don’t want them to look cheap either. Something simple and uniform will do the trick.

The swirl ornament hooks you see pictured add just enough fanciness and uniformity to the tree without being too much to pull the eye away from the actual decor.

My favorite swirl hooks can be bought at Hobby Lobby or Walmart and come in silver or gold. Both are around $1 for 15-20 hooks.

Don’t freak out on me here, but yes, this means you’ll need to replace every hook on every single ornament, even if they already have a way to hang them. I know, eek, but trust me, it’s worth it.

If the ornament has twine or ribbon attached, cut it, tie it in a knot, and slip the hook through the knot. If it’s a something that doesn’t have a way to hang it, like a pinecone for example, hot glue a hook directly onto the ornament itself. The main thing here is to replace every hook. Think of it as craft time. 😁

Burlap and ribbon wrapped around a Christmas tree.

Number 2: Ribbon

  1. The second way to make a Christmas tree look expensive is to add texture with ribbon. And not just one ribbon, two, or three, or even four different kinds of ribbon is ideal.

why this is important:

Layering ribbons and loosely tucking them in and around the tree will add texture, dimension, and color to the tree. This alone goes a long way in upgrading your tree decor and makes it look professional.

When adding ribbon to the tree, bunch them all up together and start at the top of the tree, working your way down and around the tree. I like to secure them with a twist tie (to each other and then to the tree).

Christmas tree ribbon isn’t about perfection either, let the ribbons separate and bend as naturally as possible. Every foot or so, I re-bunch the ribbons and secure them to a branch by bending the branch around all the ribbons. Don’t be afraid to try different ribbon sizes too; anything goes.

You can see here, I layered wide 4 inch burlap with a much thinner 1.5 inch striped ribbon and it works.

Red and white candy cane ornaments hanging on a Christmas tree.

Number 3: Use a mixture of ornaments

  1. While staying within your chosen color scheme, incorporate a variety of ornament shapes, shades, and sizes. Don’t overuse one shape. You see how if had only used candy canes (versus using suckers and peppermints too), this tree wouldn’t be as fun to look at? The different shapes and textures cause your eyes to wander around and look at everything because there’s not a lot of uniformity to focus on.

why this is important:

Visual interest is HUGE when decorating a Christmas tree. Adding different shapes and sizes will make your tree visually exciting to look at. Choose a main theme and branch out from there. I went with candy this year (with candy canes being most prominent), so I collected several varieties, sizes, and textures of candy canes and then added a few different peppermint ornaments.

The candy canes are long and narrow, so I looked for peppermints that were round and compact. You get the idea?

Pro tip: Always fill in with (plastic) balls. After you get the lights, the ribbon, and the main ornaments hung, use balls to fill in the gaps. Giant ones, smaller ones, sparkly ones, matte ones; any that fit within your colors. Those big variety packs you see at Target or Walmart; those are perfect. I also like to look for texture in balls. Balls that are covered in material, wrapped in ribbon or twine, or dipped in glitter or sequins are great options.

A red ornament hanging on a Christmas tree.

That’s a wrap

That’s it. Just by implementing these three things, you’ll be able to make your Christmas tree look expensive, and styled, and absolutely stunning. I’d love to see your tree, so make sure to tag me on social media (@kristineinbetween) and if you have Christmas tree decorating questions, leave them below and I’ll answer them. Happiest holidays, my friends!

Christmas tree decorating how-to’s for you


Kristine Underwood standing in her kitchen with her dog.

About Kristine

Kristine is a self-taught cookie baker and photographer. She's passionate about finding time for everything and making baking, crafting and homemaking simple. More...

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