Martocchia Realtors®'s Blog
The holiday season is here and with it is the Christmas carols, sales and...trees. Setting up a Christmas tree is one of the most magical and memorable traditions of the season. At least, it is for those who get to simply put decorations on it or admire it from afar. This year make it the easiest part of the holidays by starting with a well-formed plan.
Admittedly it’s not a very complex plan, but having these few steps sorted out and ready beforehand makes the whole process go much smoother (and stress-free).
Prepare the area you’d like to place the tree beforehand. Avoid windows, radiators, and fireplaces which can lead to your tree rapidly drying out. You’ll want to move everything out of the way to easily bring in and set up the tree. Measure this area out and write it down to bring with you the day of. You’ll want to not only know the height of your ceiling but also the dimensions of the surface area where you’ll be placing your tree in.
You’ll also want to know the measurements of your tree stand. Know what the max and minimum width your stand can support. You don’t want to find out the trunk of your tree is too big or small after you make the cut. If you’re buying a new tree stand, choosing one with a larger water basin will mean less watering throughout the week.
If you plan on bringing home a very tall tree having a large piece of plywood to attach your tree stand to will help keep it balanced and out of danger from tipping. Regardless of the height of your tree placing a sheet of plastic or some tarp down will protect flooring from the tree and potential water damage. It’s not the most glamorous look but nothing a tree skirt can’t hide.
Put the stand on before bringing your tree in. It’s much easier to get a stand on a horizontal tree than trying to muscle up and aim for the “bullseye” from above. Put it tight enough to stay on but loose enough to reposition. When tightening the stand onto your tree you want to make sure the tree is perfectly vertical. Have someone give the thumbs up from a distance that the tree is straight.
Trim the very top of the tree of branches that obstruct the ability to put your tree topper on and any straggling branches that throw off the evenness of your trees triangular shape. Give the tree 24 hours to “settle in” before decorating.
Throughout the first few days of bringing your tree home, you’ll want to keep a very close eye on the water levels in the stand. It will most likely need to be watered several times a day for this time. Always keep those water levels topped off to avoid a dried out fire hazard. Never allow the level to go lower than the stump as your tree will start sealing up with pitch and no longer able to absorb water and stay fresh.
One very important, yet often overlooked aspect of setting up a home is that of lighting. We often take lighting for granted. We turn on a light in order to see something better, but there’s so much more to a well-lit room than placing a light anywhere in the space. Lighting should be done in layers. These layers include:
- Ambient lighting
- Accent lighting
- Task lighting
- Decorative lighting
For well-balanced lighting in a room, you should mix and match the types of lighting from these layers. Let’s break down the different layers of lighting:
This kind of lighting includes natural light sources such as windows and doors. Ambient lighting would also include pendant lighting and overhead light fixtures like a combination light/ ceiling fan.
Task lighting is exactly as the name denotes. You use this type of lighting when you want to complete some kind of task. These fixtures could include under the counter lighting, desk lamps, and reading lamps.
Accent lighting provides additional brightness to a room. These fixtures include adjustable lights and recessed lighting features.
Decorative lighting accents a room in a different way. These types of fixtures would be something like chandeliers, different colored light bulbs, and other lights that can be used for decoration.
The great thing about the right kind of lighting is that it will feature the best parts of a room. Do you have a painting that you love? Use lighting to bring it out. Is there a statue that you want to make stand out? Use a soft spotlight. You can even highlight your crown molding and ceiling features with some mounted sconces or rope lights along the edge of your ceiling for an added effect.
Spread It Out
One of the worst mistakes that people make when lighting a room is forgetting to spread out their light sources. All of the light in the room is concentrated in one spot, leaving dark patches in the space. This can be a decorator’s nightmare. This is why the layering method works so well. The lighting is spread out around the room and even. There won’t be any spots in the room where the lighting is overwhelming or on the flip side, not enough.
Use Your Windows
One of the other big mistakes in lighting is that people often forget to make use of the natural daylight. While you may need some lighting in a room that’s used often at night, there should be some great resources coming from right outside your windows. Don’t block this light! Use creative ways to direct the light accordingly like curtains and blinds. Don’t be afraid to leave some window space open as well to let the light shine in. While you don’t want to sacrifice your privacy, you do not want to live with your windows darkened all day, every day!