styling your home

Decorate your Christmas Tree like a Designer by Kathy Hochstetler


Follow These

Easy Steps

How do I begin?

It can be an overwhelming feeling when you pull all of those Christmas boxes out of the attic. Am I right? But I’ve got some tips for you to decorate your tree with confidence, like a Christmas elf.

Did you know that I worked at Tis the Season, a local Christmas store, prior to opening our studio? While employed there, I learned many tricks to decorating trees. You have to when you are working with over 70 trees each year!


Set Up and Lighting

Whether you are working with a live or artificial tree, it can be an easy process.

For an artificial tree, start by positioning the bottom section of the tree in the stand. Then fluff that section, which simply means bending the branches around to make the tree look more realistic. After you have that section fluffed, place the next section and repeat until your whole tree is together.

Live and artificial trees are lit in the same fashion. Make sure you are placing those lights in the center of the tree and out towards the branch tips, weaving in and out. A helpful tip: work on half (front/back) of the tree at a time. Start at the bottom of the tree and work your way to the top.

If your tree is prelit, be sure to replace burned out bulbs as you work through each section.


Add Dimension

What’s next? If you are adding some pine/floral picks, this is the time to do that. Just simply fluff (there’s that fancy word again) those picks. Give them movement, make them look like they are real, not flat as cardboard like when you bought them in the store. Add them into your tree to add some character and dimension. I opted to add some different picks into the tree later in the process to fill in some gaps.


Think Big

Pull out all those ornaments and objects that your are putting on the tree. Keep in mind, you need different sizes, shapes and textures to make for a unique tree.

Be creative. As you can see, I used scoreboard numbers and vintage cameras, as well as those traditional vintage ornaments.

Start by adding the largest items on the tree. Tuck them into the tree towards the center.

I know! Your tree can look kinda scary after this step but TRUST me. After each layer the tree looks better and better.


Now, the FUN Part!

Keep adding the ornaments to the tree. Just work from large to small. Tucking those larger items towards the center of the tree, filling in those gaps. As you get to the smaller ornaments, work your way out to the ends of the branches. This gives your tree dimension, are you tired of hearing that word yet?

If you are going with a monochromatic theme, be sure to use shades of the color. Just another designer tip.


Finishing Touches

Next, I added another pine pick. Position throughout the tree to fill in the gaps.

If you are using a garland, this would be the time to add that onto your tree. I find it easier to start at the bottom and work your way to the top. And only work on half of the tree at a time, start with the front first.

Are you traditional and love a big bow at the top of the tree? Now is the time to put it on the tree.


That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Don’t forget to hide that ugly tree stand with a tree skirt.

A very important step: grab your favorite beverage, sit back and enjoy the twinkling lights.

Remember to get creative and make your tree a reflection of your personality.

Merry Christmas!

Much Love,


Express your style by Kathy Hochstetler


Create a Home You Love


Start with what you love

When it comes to styling your home, start with what you love.  Your instincts are right.  I hear so many people say that they love a style but it can't be incorporated into their home.  I beg to differ.  Styles and textures mix to create your own unique style.  You do not need to stick with one distinct look.  That's what is great about today design, anything goes.  Don't be afraid to create a home that is a unique expression of you.  Be bold.  Be different.  Find things that not just anyone will incorporate into their home.

Start with that one item that you really like and build around that, whether it is a piece of furniture, art work or a plant.  Add accessories with similar content, color, or texture.  Take your time with this process.  Be sure to find the things you really like without compromising.  Before you know it, you have a cohesive look that is uniquely you.


Adding color into your space can easily be done.  Generally, the way I use color is to repeat it at least three times in a space.  I am a color lover and enjoy adding pops to any space.  The trick is placement of the color, making your eye dance around the room to take it all in.  Plus, different textures are important.  Although, there is something striking about adding a stand alone bold colorful piece into your space.  



Different textures and mediums help to soften your space and add warmth and interest.  Bringing in the outdoors with plants helps to soften hard lines, whether they are real or faux plants.  Pillows and throws with varying textures adds another layer.  Especially if you are sticking with a neutral pallet, texture is important.  It creates contrast and helps everything to not blend together.  I find that keeping things simple and clear of clutter lends to a more relaxing setting to live in.


Get started today

Don't hesitate on starting to change your home.  Start today and take small steps towards your ultimate goal.  No matter your budget, you can make simple changes that will have a big impact.  A lot of time is spent in our homes and we might as well enjoy them.  I would love to see how you are making your house a home.  And if you have any questions, ask away.  I will do my best to answer.

Much Love,