Perhaps one of our favourite festive themes this year is ribbons tied to the branches of trees large and small, with Christmas tree ribbon ideas from designers and social media inspiring us to try this easy decorating trick in our own homes. Every year we love seeing the very latest Christmas tree trends emerge, and this one's simple, yet wonderfully effective. Not to mention it's a good value option that adds colour, texture and interest to your tree.
Our Christmas tree ribbon ideas will give you plenty of inspiration for this fabulous trend whatever your colour scheme or size of tree – and it's perfect for the best artificial trees or real ones.
'Using lots of different colours of the same ribbon gives the tree more depth yet it still looks cohesive, just as it would with using traditional baubles in varying colours,' says Danielle LeVaillant, head of photography and film, Cox & Cox. 'You can still include collected ornaments and heirlooms on the tree but the bright bows become the focal point that the eye is drawn to.'
Christmas tree ribbon ideas
There are many bonuses to using ribbons on your Christmas tree decor – it's cost effective and you can use small pieces that are leftover from wrapping. They add colour too, as bold or as a subtle as you like.
'Ribbons are an inexpensive space filler, meaning you need less baubles in the gaps and it’s also a great way to add more colour to an existing scheme,' adds Danielle.
We've got you covered with the best Christmas tree ribbon ideas in town, so grab a cuppa and get ready to be gifted with ribbons choices galore.
1. Choose a scheme that complements
As we're putting our trees into rooms that have existing Christmas colour schemes it pays to consider ribbon colours that will complement your look and the style of your home. A Victorian terrace will have a different feel to a new build home for example and will have a more traditional aesthetic.
'Ribbons are a great way to introduce festive flair into your living space,' says Joanna Baumard, co-founder of Purlfrost. 'For those looking to create a nostalgic aesthetic, it’s a good idea to incorporate ribbons with a mix of patterns and textures for an eclectic feel.
This can work exceptionally well when paired with existing, layered patterns within the room like a window dressing or scatter cushions. The assortment of colour and texture will provide depth, unveiling a cosy and warm feel that’s perfect for this time of year.'
2. Vary your bow size
This is a really subtle but clever design trick that will ensure your Christmas tree ribbons will look fabulous whatever size tree you have. 'Choose smaller bows for near the tip of the tree and let them gradually increase in size as you work down towards the base,' advises Lucy Kirk, creative and photography manager at Lights4Fun.
Apply this method even if you're using multiple coloured ribbons on tree – sometimes the seemingly smallest hacks yield the best results!
3. The no-bow method
Think bows look a bit fussy but love ribbons? This Christmas tree ribbon trick is a great alternative approach, it works rather like hanging silver lametta that's also having a resurgence in popularity as a budget Christmas decorating idea right now. The key is to use wired ribbon like this wire edge satin ribbon from Hobbycraft, so you get a stiffness that ensures each strand will stay on the branches.
Simon Temprell, interior design lead at Neptune agrees. 'One of the simplest ways to decorate a Christmas tree is to use lengths of coloured ribbon that can be simply tied to the end of branches, without a bow, so that the ribbon hangs casually. Wired ribbon can be a very effective way of ‘filling out’ your tree with structured bows or you can wind the wired ribbon through the tree branches and mould it into shape with your fingers, as you would with a strand of tinsel.'
Narrow ribbon works best for this look and you can choose a couple to go with your scheme. 'Wired organza ribbon works particularly well as it allows the lights to shine through and it has a delicate appearance,' adds Simon.
4. Style a rustic look
If you're a lover of the 'cabincore trend' then your festive colour scheme will most likely be more rustic – deep oranges, taupes, chocolate and ivory.
Rustic Christmas decorating ideas are generally a more pared back, but one you can still use Christmas tree ribbons for. There are a couple of options; you could go with a deep shade for your ribbon, something inspired by nature like dark brown or berry, or go lighter with a gold tone that will brighten up the darkest areas of your tree branches.
5. Get weaving with organza ribbon
If you're opting for an alternative Christmas tree this year, such as a small tabletop tree or a potted one this year then the thought of tying bows to many thin branches might not fill you with joy!
Instead, consider weaving organza style ribbon (we recommend going about three inches wide like this organza ribbon from Amazon) under the branches instead, similar to how you'd decorate your tree with tinsel. Paler colours will have more impact and will prevent the overall look from being too dense visually. Twist the ribbon as you go for extra pattern.
6. Use pastels on a frosted tree
When it comes to deciding how to decorate your Christmas tree, frosted trees offer a softer look when it comes to festive themes and so your ribbon choices can be prettier too. For a more unconventional look and if you love a lighter colour theme choose pastels.
Sky blues and pale pinks in different widths will add subtle colour, and it works well for a romantic, fairytale look. You can mix them in with silver and gold baubles for added texture and keep the lights low-key.
7. Attach your baubles with ribbons
Tired of fiddling with the faff of fine thread on your baubles? We love the idea of cutting them off (yippee!) and rethreading them with narrow ribbon instead, a Christmas tree ribbon idea that popular during Victorian times.
'Set the scene for a classic Christmas, with nods to age-old traditions and décor by mixing traditional and contemporary baubles, with beaded or flocked finishes,' says Anna Badger, seasonal designer at Dunelm. 'Using different sized ribbons to tie baubles adds a contemporary touch, and you can even use them as decorations themselves to add a crafty vibe to your tree.'
Pick ribbon that's thin enough to fit through the bauble hanging, and use multiple colours for a colourful scheme. Up the luxe factor with velvet like this velvet ribbon from Flying Tiger.
8. Make the ribbons the star of the show
For a thoroughly contemporary look go for super bright ribbons and make them the star of your living room Christmas decor. Choose simple warm bulb tree lights and glass baubles for a dazzling effect.
'You can either commit to the bow and go all out in a colour scheme of bows or if you only want to dip your toe into the trend, switch your statement bauble for a large bow in a singular colour and display them in a checkerboard pattern across the tree,' says Danielle.
For this kind of look, make sure your ribbons are all the same length for cohesion and cut the ends at a diagonal with fabric scissors.
9. Go big if you're a maximalist
This year especially, the maximalist trend has come to the fore, but can you utilise it
during the festive season? Absolutely. Maximalism is about opulence and mixing and matching prints and patterns.
'Ribbons have a soft and timeless elegance,' says Katrina Dalley, interior design and trade sales executive, House of Hackney. 'Over time they have been used to mark celebrations and festivities of all kinds whilst also being a symbol of luxury. Their soft silk texture is a beautiful add-on to a tree as it contrasts to the other sturdier decorations and the texture of the tree itself, making it a noticeable add-in, especially when you use bright pops of colour.'
Pick three bright colours for impact that tie in with the favourite prints and patterns in your living room.
10. Mix ribbons and bows together
If you favour plains with subtle pattern for living room decor is then jazz it up for the festive season by choosing bold tree decorations and large paper hanging designs.
'What better time to inject some irreverent fun into your home than at Christmas?' says Gisela Lancaster, head of buying at Sofology. 'This year we’re seeing people go bold with their holiday decor, using oversized decorations, bright colours and chichi bowls to inject some magic into their homes.
One way to double up with your tree decorations that ties in with our tree ribbon theme is to use large bow-tie designs as well. 'Choose a style that will complement your living room scheme and enhance other cherished Christmas decorations that you already own. Embrace a mix of decor that works in harmony with your seating and furnishings to create a stylish and fun-filled space for Christmas,' adds Gisela.
How do you make ribbon look good on your tree?
'The best way to make ribbons look good on a tree is to use ready-tied bows with wire on the back for a consistent scheme,' advises Danielle, Cox & Cox. 'Otherwise, create your own bows using ribbon (wire-trimmed ribbon offers more styling possibilities). Tie the bow first, then add your wire to the back. That way, the bows will face the right way without twisting, and the process is much easier for involving the kids. Just pop on the branch and twist the wire.'
'Using ribbon is such a simple but effective way of adding that extra festive touch to Christmas trees – and there are plenty of styles, thicknesses and materials to choose from to complement the décor theme you've chosen!' says Clare Harman, merchandising manager at Hillier Nurseries.
'Last year, the trend of decorating tree light hacks in an up-and-down motion, instead of swirling around, emerged – this works well for ribbon too! Doing this switches up from a traditional spiral, giving a more modern twist,'
What is the best ribbon for a Christmas tree?
There are two options here – firstly, if you're happy to tie the bows yourself then satin or velvet ribbon will look great.
'Velvet will bring a touch of luxury – particularly in deep, forest green or ochre-gold – or for something a little softer, try bows of red satin,' suggests Lucy Kirk, Lights4Fun.
If you want a little extra help then source ribbons that are pre-wired as you'll be able to gently bend the ends to suit your look and the bows will be malleable.
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Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events.
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