Quite a few of my clients haven't gotten around to putting up their Christmas tree yet.
Here's a few quick tips to get you started.
1. First select your tree.
There are so many options to choose from:
2. Choose a suitable Tree stand.
Whichever stand you choose, ensure that you select the proper tree stand that will give you stability and hold a generous amount of water if necessary.
3. Tree skirts
They add a decorative touch and provide coverage for any planters or non-decorative tree stands. Great backdrop to those pretty parcels!
4. Tree lights
We now have three options to choose from:
If you choose LED white lights - ensure that you select the warm white which is usually 2700 to 3000 Kelvin units . This will ensure you have a warm glow. The cool LED lights often give a very bluish and harsh looking light.
Incandescent lights are the most beautiful lights but they are hard to find now and produce heat which can lead to fire hazards on dry trees.
Mini battery pack lights or Fairy lights are a beautiful option, especially on smaller and more delicate trees, or tree branches. If you go this route ensure that you select the mini or fairy lights that include either a remote option or a timer option, so you are not digging through the tree to find the battery pack.
Depending upon which type of lights you use, I tend to use 100 lights for each foot of Christmas tree.
5. Hanging your Christmas tree lights.
Note this is the most controversial aspect of this post as there are many methods to do this, but I prefer the "branch wrap “approach.
Make your starting point of lights at the bottom of the tree near the trunk. Pull the string of Christmas lights taut to the tip of the branch, then work back toward the trunk, wrapping the cord circularly over itself and the branch, while working your way to the top of the tree. Make sure to select the largest branches to wrap first. Ensure there are more lights at the trunk area of the tree as this provides depth to your design. You will know your tree is "all wrapped up" when you finish at the top lone branch.
Start with the largest ornaments first, placing them near the tree trunk with a few coming through to the branch tips. Then start with the medium sized ornaments, filling in the gaps and lastly the smallest and most delicate ornaments should be placed near the branch tips. Rarely do I place ornaments on the tips of the branches, it tends to look unbalanced that way.
Placing the ornaments more in the centre of the tree, gives dimension to your tree and draws the eyes from the base to the branch outwards to allow others to enjoy your ornaments. Hanging your ornaments only on the outside of your tree can make it looked cluttered and less 3 dimensional. I've got to say I see this all the time where people only decorate the 'edges' of the trees and it's difficult to resist the urge to tuck a few ornaments into the background to provide depth.
Plan on at least 10 ornaments per foot of tree.
i.e.. 6' tree needs 60 ornaments.
Ensure your most precious ornaments are placed where they can be viewed easily. I have a special light bulb which we had only one of. It's now burned out so I've put it in a large plastic ball ornament, hung it on fishline and added a little 'snow' to it. Now I can enjoy that special blue bulb to this day, nice way to protect those keepsake ornaments!
7. Garland. Some people like to use garland. If this is the case, use it sparingly. I find it can overwhelm the tree so I tend to stay away from it.
8. Tinsel. This is optional and time consuming. Each piece needs to be placed singularly by itself. Try avoiding throwing your tinsel on by the handfuls, as I did as a child! It is truly beautiful to look at a tinseled tree, it reflects the lights and ornaments as well! It's one reason I love the aluminum trees so much. No Tinsel needed!
9. Tree Topper. Your final touch is applying the Christmas star, angel or Christmas spire to the top of the Christmas tree. Make sure the branch is strong enough to support your topper and can be seen above the rest of the tree facing the most viewed angle.
10. Almost done! Now, look at your beautiful tree that you wonderfully decorated, and see if there are any bare patches or empty spaces in the tree. Ask yourself if you may need to add more ornaments or perhaps move a few items. It's your preference on how full you want your tree to look. Some prefer a sparse looking tree while others prefer a full and colorful tree.
With all these considerations you can decide what kind of Christmas design theme you choose for this year. It all starts with your tree. Take your inspiration from the tree and dress up your mantel and a few table tops!
My preference is to put on my favorite Christmas music, have a nice glass of wine, nibble on a few (OK several) chocolates and dance around the house while decorating the tree.
Have a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy your decorating!
Merry Christmas from all of us at Jil Sonia Interior Designs.
Would you like a few quick tips on how to calculate the correct size chandelier or pendant light for over your dining room table?
Here we go!
Add the width and length of your dining room ie. 10' + 14' = 24.
We need a light approximately 24" wide!
Or here are a few general dining room table sizes, and the width of lights that would complement the table nicely.
Oval table 42" long - light should be 18-20" wide.
Oval table 48" long - light should be 24" wide.
Square tables? Just take the table size and subtract 12" off each side.
ie. 42" sq. table. -12" and -12" = 18" wide light.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Of course there are variables, but this will get you in the right ballpark!
Wondering how to sketch a simple floor plan?
Look no further. Although it may seem daunting, it's really quite easy.
Here's a quick review!
If the interior wall has no doors, windows, or partitions, just measure from one side to the other, the total width of the room.
If we have a window in the way - starting from one corner, measure towards the window casing (not the inside window metal frame), jot that figure down, keep going to include the rest of the wall.
Move onto the next wall space, jot it down and keep going.
Tip: to double check, just measure the full wall width (ignoring windows/doors) from one side to the other, and compare that measurement to the total of all of the smaller measurements. I.e. on the sketch below, the wall measures, 1'6" + 4'6" + 8' + 4'6" + 2' = 20'6"'.
Double check that the wall in its entirety is 20'6".
Be sure to include anything that is not a wall - a niche, step back in the wall, etc. Anything you think we need to know. If you are just making a rough sketch, round up to the nearest inch.
Remember to check the height as well - this is useful for determining the length of drapery, art, etc.
Now you are all set to hand this sketch off to your interior designer, or tackle it on your own!
In our last series 15 steps to designing your dream home, we covered all aspects of home design. In this series we're looking at different aspects of lighting. Today we'll focus on hanging chandeliers, like this beautiful chandelier available here.
Lighting affects our moods drastically. Imagine a dimly lit dining room filled with good food, great company and perhaps a little champagne? Yummy.
Now imagine that same room with bright, glaring lights - yup, fully lit. Quite a difference isn't it? Sometimes we need a room with strong lighting and sometimes soft, diffused light is what's needed. Dining room chandeliers that throw bright light straight down onto a person’s face while they are eating, will cast harsh shadows and create glare and also heat up a dining area.
For the best results use a chandelier with 200-400 total wattage spread among the light bulbs. This works well for a medium to generous dining room.
In general to determine the size of the lighting fixture needed, add up the length and width of the room, convert this to inches, and this is the diameter of the light you'll be needing.
i.e. if your foyer is 10' x 8'. Add 10 + 8 = 18. You need an 18" wide light fixture.
A common problem is under sizing your lighting, go big or go home!
Overhead lighting can also be put on a dimmer switch (also known as a rheostat), which allows you to control the brightness. Changing the wall switch should done only by a licensed electrician. (If you change the wall switch yourself and it's done improperly, it might start a fire, and your home owner's insurance will probably not cover the loss.)
If a dining room is less than 10 feet high, I like to hang my chandeliers from between 30" - 34" above the dining room table. If your room is more than 10 feet high, such as this beautiful room below, just add a few extra inches.
To determine the width of the chandelier over a dining table, the minimum width of the light should be 1/2 the width of the dining room table. The maximum width of the light should be 12" less that the width of the dining table.
Did you know you can also light your chandelier itself? Often people add recessed lighting with an adjustable pivot head and direct the light towards both the chandelier and the table itself. The effect can be quite dramatic, especially on a crystal light fixture, as it allows the reflected light to bounce around the room.
In general most chandeliers have open lights with several bulbs, this is great to light up the room (referred to as ambient lighting). If you find there is too much glare, simply select a light with diffused lighting, such as this beautiful fixture below, the shade will help to filter the light and reduce glare.
"Up lights" (you guessed it, - lights shining up towards the ceiling) are a great idea as they provide diffused lighting. This way the light doesn't shine straight down on your guests, but instead it will bounce off the ceiling or upper walls, thereby diffusing it and giving a warm glow to the room. Toronto interior designer Kimberley Seldon often says "you don't need a facelift, you just need better lighting!
In our next post we will discuss the 3 aspects of lighting that every room must have.
Questions? Email email@example.com
Jil Sonia McDonald - Interior Designer of Jil Sonia Interior Designs.