How To Decorate Your Christmas Tree According To Science

So you’ve bought your Christmas tree (or got it down from the loft) and now comes the best part - the decorating.

Now you could just sling all the decorations on in some kind of haphazard fashion, and there’s plenty of fun to be had doing that, but we thought we’d try and come up with some kind of scientific way of decorating your tree to ensure it looks as good as it possibly can.

Note: We’re going to use a 7ft Woodland Pine Tree (shown below) as the basis for everything as that’s one of our best sellers so is obviously quite popular.


Where to position your Christmas tree

Where you position your tree is incredibly important. You can’t just put it anywhere; careful thought has to go into its exact position. Here are a few things to consider…

  • Heat - if you have a real tree then you’ll want to avoid direct sources of heat as the tree can dry out. With any kind of tree you’ll want to keep it away from radiators so the tree doesn’t stop the heat warming the house.
  • Light - Similarly, you won’t want your tree blocking light sources, whether lamps or windows.
  • View - Obviously you don’t want your Christmas tree hidden away so position it somewhere easily viewable from as many angles and doorways as possible.

Time for a little feng shui. Whether it’s a real science depends on who you talk to, but, according to feng shui experts, where you place your tree can have a real difference on the ‘energy’ in your house. Apparently Xmas trees belong in the Wood feng shui element and therefore should be placed in one of the following places:

  • East (health & family)
  • Southeast (money & abundance)
  • South (fame & reputation)

Make of that what you will.

Where you put your Christmas tree can even have an impact on your Wi-Fi signal, according to British regulator Ofcom. WI-Fi routers receive data through the phone line before emitting the signal out through radio waves and can be affected by other devices that emit radio waves, including the fairy lights many put on the their tree.

Ofcom recommend that the router be placed at least three metres away from such devices to reduce the chance of interference.

Decoration density

There’s a fine line between under- and over-decorating your Christmas tree. One way it looks like you couldn’t be bothered and the other way looks like you like Christmas just a little too much.

Related: Check out our great range of Christmas decorations

So what is the right amount of Christmas decorations for your tree? We’re going to do our best to come up with a way to work it out using GCSE maths.

Using the formula πrl (where ‘r’ is the radius of the base and ‘l’ is the length of the slanted side of the tree) we can find the surface area of the decoratable part of our 7ft tree, which works out as roughly 46 square feet, give or take a little.

To give you a good mix of decoration, tinsel, lights and greenery from the tree, we’d estimate that you should have 2 decorations for every square foot of tree, which would work out as a total of 92 decorations for this particular tree. Obviously this would change for the dimensions of each tree, but our formula to work it all out would be:


Obviously you’ll need to weight the number of ornaments towards the lower section of the tree so they don’t look squashed at the top.

When it comes to lights, we’d say that you shouldn’t skimp on them, and we’d agree with experts who say you should have a strand of 100 lights for every vertical foot of tree, so we’d need 700 lights in total for our tree. If you have a real tree then the heat from the lights can make the tree’s pine smell come out stronger.

Related: See our full range of Christmas lights

Not everyone likes tinsel but if you want to put some on your tree then we’d look at how long your lights are and half it.

Colour schemes

Choosing the right colour scheme for your tree is another important consideration. Obviously red and green are most closely associated with Christmas, and the reason these two colours work so well together is because they’re complementary. They appear on opposite sides of the colour wheel and appear bright when placed together.


The same can be said for yellow and purple, and it’s not uncommon to see decorations and ribbons in coloured with gold and dark purples.

The reason silver is often used is that, as it’s technically a shade of grey, it’s a neutral colour and therefore goes with pretty much anything.

It might not have been the most scientific, but we hope we've given you some good tips. Of course it’s all up to personal preference at the end of the day. The most important thing is to have fun!

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