10 of this year’s best Christmas tree ideas

From rainbow baubles to a draw-your-own tree, here’s some decorating inspiration

Add a splash of colour to your Christmas tree with these rainbow-coloured baubles from John Lewis

Add a splash of colour to your Christmas tree with these rainbow-coloured baubles from John Lewis

 

The rainbow, a meteorological phenomenon, never fails to wow. It is considered a bridge to the heavens and its elusive end is reputed to reveal a pot of gold – to those who can find it. Whatever your beliefs, they light up dark skies and the same technique has been appropriated by the style team at John Lewis to create a colour-layering system of baubles for its 2018 Christmas tree. It is beautifully simple yet brilliantly effective, and while it doesn’t adhere to the strict bands you see in the sky it will light up a daytime livingroom with its blocks of colour. You can buy some of the baubles at Arnotts and the others online. johnlewis.com; arnotts.ie

If you have a very large lobby then you could take inspiration from Claridge’s London heritage hotel, which reveals a talk of the town tree, decorated by a world-class fashion designer every year. Karl Lagerfeld did an upside-down design last year and this year Diane von Furstenberg asks us to look to the heavens for inspiration with her tree of love. A lustrous blue the iridescent tree is decorated with over 8,000 hand-painted silver leaves as well as 150 hand-blown glass hearts. The tree is also home to abstract-designed animals, from an owl representing knowledge and wisdom, to a dove representing peace. From its roots the tree winds its way upwards towards the heavens – the source of all inspiration and has a celestial backdrop with zodiac signs. claridges.co.uk; eu.dvf.com

For an outdoor tree with an edge, take inspiration from artist Michael Craig-Martin, who has designed this ever-changing tree for the Connaught Hotel, London. Although raised in the United States, where he studied fine art at Yale University, he was born in Dublin in 1941, and began teaching at Goldsmith’s College, London in the 1970s where he influenced a generation of students including Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Julian Opie, Sarah Lucas and Gary Hume. “It struck me that however beautiful, most Christmas trees are static, unchanging. I wanted to make a tree that was dynamic. I decided to engulf the tree in lights and to find a way to introduce a full palette of ever-changing colours,” Craig-Martin says. His work is in the museum collections of Tate and V&A London; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. maybourne.com

If you’re one of the ever-increasing number of people living in small homes or apartments with no room for a big bushy real tree then steal a leaf from the Home Sense style team and chalk up one on a blackboard wall. You can give it a 3D feel by pinning decorations to it using cup hooks or mapping pins. UK-based online store Lime Lace has another option. Its “Christmas tree for life 2 wallpaper” panel is a silk screened paper stencil design by Deborah Bowness that you can adorn with baubles for the festive season and simply remove the baubles come January 6th leaving it in situ. homesense.ie

Decorating the traditional Christmas tree with flowers, real and/or faux, has become a thing, moving the fashion trend for floral walls into the festive season. Using artificial blooms costing from €5 to €10 each, Michael Murphy launched the concept last year in its Airside store and had such a strong reaction from customers that it rolled out the idea in all its shops this year. The 8ft artificial tree, pictured alongside its Ballyroe sofa, a chesterfield style three-seat, reduced from €1,699 to €949, features a colour palette of pinks, corals and purples and about 100 hydrangeas, orchids, hyacinths, hibiscus roses and peonies. Hedgeroe Home has also taken this blooming amazing idea to heart but uses pretty jasmine flowers with pale gold and white baubles. michaelmurphy.ie; hedgeroe.com

A real baby tree, potted and planted in a kid’s bedroom is a gorgeous thing. There are lovely bay trees for sale in select branches of SuperValu, about €20, while many supermarkets, florists and garden centres sell the smaller 2ft styles that can be very easily dressed with a string of lights and a star atop. They imbue their sweet dreams with the scent of the festive season and can also double as a nightlight. But consider what you’re going to do with the living tree after the festive period before succumbing to pester power. Horkan’s Garden Centres sell a range of fresh trees from 2ft to 9ft tall and will be serving free hot chocolate to kids every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December – which might distract them long enough for you to make your mind up. The Arame wall lights by Tom Raffield, pictured, cost about €330 each, ex delivery. supervalu.ie; horkans.ie; tomraffield.com

Christmas trees are wearing skirts this season and these can range from the sublime to the downright tacky. In the former category is the wide range of rattan designs, like the Garden Trading one pictured, that you can buy from about €25 upwards on Amazon. These are like a basket with the base cut out and will conceal a tree stand and make the décor appear more natural. The tackier end of the scale includes fake sheepskin blankets. Ferm Living sells a far more sophisticated range of tree blankets that you can buy online or order through Belfast-based Maven, about €60, ex delivery. amazon.co.uk; wearemaven.co.uk

If you’re not a tree person then the stylists of Poundland’s campaign have shown a very imaginative use of an old-fashioned painting and decorator’s timber ladder to reimagine the triangular-shape of the traditional tree in a very fresh fashion. Giant-sized baubles have been hung from the paint-splattered rings with a star, set somewhat off centre from the top. This is a lovely and fresh way to rethink the whole approach to Christmas tree decorating but the secret to its success is the large baubles – each of these are about 10cm in diameter. Online Toyland sells a pack of 10 for about €29.99 ex delivery.    

If you want your tree to be on trend then it’s time to go easy on the illumination. Instead of bright lights let the luxury of the foliage of this artificial Albert tree and your collection of decorations do most of the talking. The tree, available from Neptune, folds away when not in use and comes in three sizes: 4ft for €125; 6ft, €265 and 8ft, €530. The discreet micro lights add enough luminescence for a warm glow while keeping the overall look very natural. The tree will last for years and you won’t have to contend with falling needles. neptune.com

Kooky decorations, from llamas to unicorns, cacti to camels, and big cats and dogs of many breeds, have become mainstream so when it comes to baubles for your 2018 tree opt for something far more textural and tactile rather than motif-minded. UK-based Lime Laces sells touch-me velvet flocked designs in deep jewel shades, about €19 for a set of four, or you could make like vedette Dita Von Teese and turn your tree into a tassel-tastic affair by draping it in 22cm-long designs from London-based Ian Snow. Made in India, these cost about €4 each, ex delivery. Home Focus at Hickeys sells a red pop pom trim for €5.95 per m that will also look the business. iansnow.com; limelace.co.uk; homefocus.ie

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