Pro Tree-Decorating Tips From Bronner’s

🎵Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree – how lovely are thy branches!🎵 With over 80 decorated Christmas trees in a myriad of themes on display at the World’s Largest Christmas Store, we turned to Bronner’s decorators for their best pro tree-decorating tips! Find everything on how to decorate a Christmas tree from how many lights or ornaments to use, to theme ideas and advice from Bronner’s tree decorators!

Christmas Tree Decorating Tips From The Pros

In truth, tree-decorating themes vary widely according to individual tastes. Many people like to decorate with a specific color (or color combination), with a theme or even with an eclectic mix of sentimental keepsakes. No matter which theme you choose, we’re sharing a few basic tips that may help you take your tree-decorating skills to the next level.

To begin with, the suggested sequence for decorating a tree is as follows:

Pro Tree-Decorating Tips Using Christmas Lights

Many artificial trees come conveniently pre-lit these days. However if you prefer an unlit tree for its flexibility or if you are looking to replace pre-lit lights that have burned out or if you are simply team “real tree” all the way, then you may find the lighting tips below useful.

pro tree-decorating tip using Christmas lights

Which Type Of Lights?

Although there are many types of CHRISTMAS LIGHTS to choose from, the most common are traditional incandescent lights or vibrant, energy-efficient LEDs.

Additionally, there are a myriad of bulb sizes and shapes to consider.

Bronner's Christmas Light Shape and Sizing Guide Infographic provides pro tree-decorating tips
Traditional and standard Christmas light shapes & sizes featured. Find even more fun, nontraditional varieties at

Mini or LED Christmas Lights

2 Feet50 Bulbs35-50 Bulbs
3 Feet100 Bulbs50-100 Bulbs
4.5 Feet250 Bulbs200-250 Bulbs
5 Feet350 Bulbs300-400 Bulbs
6.5 Feet450 Bulbs400-600 Bulbs
7.5 Feet650 Bulbs600-700 Bulbs
8 Feet750 Bulbs700-800 Bulbs
9 Feet850 Bulbs800-900 Bulbs
10 Feet950 Bulbs900-1000 Bulbs
12 Feet1150 Bulbs1000-1100 Bulbs
14 Feet1350 Bulbs1100-1200 Bulbs

C7 & C9 Lights

For trees 7 feet and under: First, multiply the tree height by the base diameter, then divide by two.

H x D / 2

For trees over 7 feet: Begin by multiplying the tree height by the base diameter, then divide by three.

H x D / 3

For instance, a 6-foot tree with a base diameter of 45 inches would be as follows: 6 x 45 = 270 / 2 = 135 lights.

Pro Tips For How To Light The Tree

In any case, be sure to bookmark our HOW TO LIGHT THE TREE post where Bronner’s decorators show you their tricks with directions and a video tutorial.

Notes From The Experts On Using Christmas Tree Lights Safely:

As with any light, be sure to check packaging for approved use on trees, as well as how many sets may be safely connected.

Importantly, never connect incandescent and LED light strands together or mix incandescent and LED bulbs on the same cord. The electric current running through incandescent and LED bulbs and strands are different. For this reason, if you plug incandescent and LED strands together or put both incandescent and LED bulbs into sockets on the same cord, you run a high risk that the current from the incandescent will surge. As a result, this will cause the LEDs to blow out and can possibly kill the incandescent lights at the same time as well. Additionally, mixing light currents is a fire hazard.

Think Outside The Box!

What’s more, lighted silhouettes and shapes are not just for your windows! Add them in your tree to create beautiful focal points that will take your decorating to the next level!

Likewise, lighted orbs or spheres are a de-LIGHT-ful addition to add dimension to the tree!

A pro tree-decorating tip from Bronner's is to use lighted orbs to add a futuristic space effect to a sci-fi themed tree

Garland & Tree Trims

Without a doubt, vast options await you at Bronner’s for GARLAND and tree trims!

Pro Tree-Decorating Tips Using Garland

Among more traditional types of garland are tinsel and beaded garlands. Additionally, there are numerous novelty garlands that will add a fun touch to the tree.

In fact, consider clustering, twisting or layering multiple garlands together to make them more visually interesting! (Our decorator Misti used these techniques on our “VINTAGE CHRISTMAS DREAM-COME-TRUE” post.)

Use our pro tree-decorating tip and consider using a tinsel, beaded or novelty garland

Garland Calculator

2 Feet4 – 6 Feet
3 Feet6 – 9 Feet
4.5 Feet36-54 Feet
5 Feet50-72 Feet
6.5 Feet90-126 Feet
7.5 Feet126 – 162 Feet
8 Feet162 – 180 Feet
9 Feet180 – 216 Feet
10 Feet216 – 252 Feet
12 Feet252 – 288 Feet
14 Feet288 – 324 Feet

Branch Out With This Pro Tree-Decorating Tip!

Have you ever considered using BRANCHED GARLANDS in your tree?! It may sound odd, but it’s a novel concept and one of our decorators’ best hacks!

Mixed branch garlands are an especially great way to add more texture and volume to a tree. Moreover, they are perfect for adding extended life to well-loved trees that are starting to look a little tired.

Another pro tree-decorating tip is to use a branched garland in a Christmas tree to add texture and volume.

Pro Tips For Tree Trims

Just what are considered tree trims? Tree trims are most typically picks and ribbons. Essentially, it’s the bigger details of the tree before you add your ornaments.

UNITS: Bronner’s decorators will often create what they call “units.” Units are a compellation of picks and ribbons assembled independently from the tree. Instead of just sticking a few picks in the tree or wrapping or draping ribbon, consider taking a trick from the pros and learn how to make a unit. Indeed, they add brilliant focal points!

Our decorating team LOVES getting creative with themed trees on display in-store. It’s why you’ll find household items, collectibles, toys, handcrafted items and more incorporated in any given tree! As a matter of fact, we’ve seen them add rowing oars, vinyl records and even Jim Shore’s Wizard Of Oz collectibles* just to name a few. (*Check out our accompanying yellow brick road “ribbon” tutorial from that look!)

We asked our decorators what some of their favorite (unexpected) tree trims have been over the years. And here are the tips they had to share:

  • Books
  • Golf Clubs
  • Hard Hats
  • Baskets (great for holding more picks, light clusters, ornaments, flowers, etc.)

Pro Tree-Decorating Tips Using Ornaments

Whether you choose ORNAMENTS to match a theme or have an eclectic mix of sentimental and PERSONAL-ized ornaments that celebrates life’s special moments and loved ones, you’ll find this chart helpful. As you can see, it suggests the number of ornaments to aim for on your tree, based on tree height, as recommended by Bronner’s professional decorators.

2 Feet18 – 30
3 Feet 30 – 40
4.5 Feet 40 – 50
5 Feet 50 – 75
6.5 Feet 75 – 100
7.5 Feet 150 – 200
8 Feet 250 – 300
9 Feet 300 – 350
10 Feet 350 – 400
12 Feet 400 – 450
14 Feet 450 – 500

Pro Tips For Hanging Ornaments:

  1. First, remove the cap from the ornament and add a dab of hot glue along the ornament rim. Then quickly replace the cap to secure it o the ornament. This will prevent the ornament from separating from the cap.
  2. Don’t be afraid to reshape ORNAMENT HOOKS; you will get a more secure hold if you do. (A plus for homes with curious pets or kiddos.😂)
How To Hang An Ornament

Tree Top & Skirt

Finally, our decorators’ pro tips for decorating the tree come to a close with these finishing touches!

Tree Topper

It may not “top” the list necessarily, but it sure tops the tree. 😂

Because of voltage differences, not all pre-lit trees are designed for a TREE TOPPER to be plugged directly into the rest of the lights. It’s best to run a separate cord directly from the outlet up the trunk, secured with chenille stems (pipe cleaners) up to the topper.

pro tree-decorating tips using a snowflake and a lighted star tree topper

One of our decorators favorite tips? Use bows or ribbons to disguise the base of the tree topper and cords! (Who says it has to be one or the other?!)

As a matter of fact, bows are another popular choice of tree topper. (Our decorators teach you how to make your own bow in this post.)

Alternatively, you may choose to get creative and customize your own unique tree topper to compliment a theme! One of our trees in 2015 featured a stunning tree topper crafted from cardboard and wire. Vanessa teaches you how she created an “Emerald City” tree topper in this tutorial, and it’s a great way to get your own ideas rolling!

Tree Skirt Or Base

Certainly you may choose a traditional TREE SKIRT to complete your look – but you don’t have to stop there! Bronner’s decorators love to accessorize a tree with props. Think academic-themed tree beside a vintage desk with stacks of books, for example.

Additionally, our team loves opting for the unexpected! (Both custom or found.) Think a travel-themed tree coming out of a trunk or suitcase for the wanderlust heart. Or a tutu skirt made from tulle for our dance tree . A DEPARTMENT 56 village or train set on a SNOW BLANKET that oozes with nostalgia for a throwback flair to eras gone by. In the same fashion, they’ve also built innovative bases over the years as well, like a fishing boat for our fishing-themed tree and a Styrofoam carved block of cheese for a wine-themed tree!

The Most Important Rule for Pro Tree-Decorating ?!

Break the rules … well, sort of.😉

All in all, Jennifer has been decorating trees at Bronner’s for more than two decades! She says,

“Think outside of the box! Try not to get stuck with traditional, as far as design. Different is good!”

And we say different is good! As a matter of fact, Jennifer has broken through the box of design with her innovative tree sculptures over the years. In particular, they are among her favorite tree creations. They include a 9.5-ft. lighthouse with a beacon light, a windmill tree with rotating blades, Stella the bride, a 9.5-ft. clown balancing on a ball, a sailboat, a guitar, and, most recently, a stunning owl tree!

To sum up, whether you’re looking to break the mold and create something new or simply take your traditional tree- decorating skills to the next level, we hope these tips were helpful to you!

Bronner's sculpted owl and peacock trees


Did we miss any pro tree-decorating tips you’d like to know?! Leave your burning question for our decorators in the comments section below👇!

4 thoughts on “Pro Tree-Decorating Tips From Bronner’s

  • September 21, 2022 at 10:05 am

    Thank you so much for sharing!! one day I hope to be able to have different types of Christmas trees in my house. And seeing the different types that you guys do are so amazing!!!!

    • September 21, 2022 at 10:24 am

      Thank you, Mariah! We are so grateful for our talented decorating team who help to put the “wonder” in our WONDERland with their inspiring and creative ideas!

  • September 30, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks for the great tips if anyone knows how to decorate a Christmas tree its the people at Bronners. My wife and I always wonder how many lights to use your guidelines are a great help.

    • September 30, 2021 at 3:52 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to check out our post, John. We’re tickled red and green that you found the information and tips from our decorators helpful! (We are so thankful for a talented team who help to put the WONDER in our wonderland!)


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