Partner Content

How to Style a Standout Christmas Tree

Featuring designers Philip Vanderford and Jason Jones of Studio Thomas James.

If you want to spice up your tree this year, you might be tempted to recreate a design you see in a magazine or at a friend’s house. Not so fast. Philip Vanderford and Jason Jones of Studio Thomas James emphasize that there’s no one-size-fits-all style for a Christmas tree; what looks good in one space may be out of place in another. Consider these four key elements for an end result that looks right at home.

 Think Through Your Audience

Whether you’re hosting a holiday soirée for colleagues or a Christmas morning brunch with family, it’s important to consider who will be seeing your tree. Sophisticated neutrals and delicate ornaments would be perfect for an adults-only affair, while a whimsical and colorful tree with traditional ornaments would be ideal for kid-friendly events.

Embrace Variety

Jones suggests using a range of sizes and finishes to add visual interest. A matte black, a shiny black, and a candy-apple red all reflected light in different ways. The duo also selected eclectic pieces, like brushed metal pinecone ornaments and gunmetal gray baubles, for a look that is dignified yet unexpected.

Complement the Space

Vanderford emphasizes the importance of considering the tree’s surroundings, from the home’s architecture to its interior design. This tree would be at home in a masculine space, perhaps one with modern elements or dark wood accents. If your home is more traditional or feminine, with lighter tones and softer textures, you’ll want your tree to reflect that.

Bring Your Tree to Life

Jones went for an undone, natural look by tucking in live elements like pods and greenery. He notes that you can breathe life into the tree in other ways (like draping on handmade garlands or tying on passed-down ornaments) so that your final product reflects your family and traditions.


Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.