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9 Easy Ideas to Decorate a Neutral Christmas Tree on a Budget

Decorate a beautiful and festive neutral Christmas tree on a budget with these 9 easy ideas! From DIY ornaments to inexpensive garlands, learn how to create a stunning tree without breaking the bank.

When I decided to add a second Christmas tree to our home a few years ago, I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on decorating it.

I had scored the tree on clearance after the holidays so it was marked way down.

It wasn’t the prettiest of trees but it was cheap…kinda like me. LOL

And I figured if I added enough beautiful ornaments and decorations on the tree you wouldn’t notice how unattractive it actually was.

But geez ornaments can be downright expensive am I right?

I like to have different styles of ornaments mixed together so it looks like a collection of memories that has grown over the years.

That’s exactly what our Christmas tree has always been…a meaningful tree of special ornaments that we’ve collected since we got married way back in 1995.

So how was I going to decorate a new tree with a variety of coordinated ornaments to fill it and cover the ugliness of the actual tree without spending a fortune?

With a little bit of creativity, it’s easy to style a neutral Christmas tree that looks like it came right from the pages of a magazine and still saves money.

If you like natural colors like whites, tans, and browns then you’ll love the color scheme of this tree.

And if you prefer a rustic casual elegance to glitter and glam then you’re in the right place.

I’m here to tell you that decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to break the bank.

Read on to find 9 easy ideas to help you create a beautiful neutral Christmas tree on a budget.

Some of the items used in this post include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. You can read our full affiliate disclosure policy here.

How to Choose a Theme for Christmas Tree Decorations

a variety of Christmas tree ornaments on table

When I was considering how I wanted to decorate this second tree I was really into natural elements like burlap and galvanized metals.

So that’s exactly what I decided to use to style this Christmas tree.

I wanted a neutral but warm rustic vibe with lots of white and tan colors with a little bit of metal mixed in for good measure.

My biggest tip when decorating a new Christmas tree in your home is to lay all your ornaments out so you can see exactly what you have before you start trimming the tree.

As you can see I have a good variety of those neutral colors that I wanted to incorporate.

Not too many of one ornament style so that the tree will have a more collected look once it’s all decorated.

Do People Still Use Christmas Tree Garland?

rolls of burlap garland on table in front of other Christmas tree ornaments

Yup, garland on Christmas trees is still totally a thing!

However, it’s a little different than it was when I was growing up.

Long gone are the days of silver garland that looks like aluminum foil wrapped around your tree.

There are so many different types of garland you can use today from wood beads in every color, shape, and size to sparkly metallic jeweled garland.

Rustic natural pinecone, berry, or floral garlands too.

And of course, wide ribbon is a popular option to use as garland for your Christmas tree.

I decided on a 5 1/2-inch burlap ribbon to add to my neutral tree.

S2M Frugal Shopper Tip: All burlap garland is the same at your local craft store. So buy it when it’s on clearance from the season before. Because it won’t matter if the fall burlap rolls are packaged in orange once you remove the wrapper. Don’t buy the same exact burlap in the holiday section packaged in red.

Should You Use White or Colored Christmas Lights

close up of Christmas tree with warm white lights and neutral ornaments

The choice is totally up to you but if you’re going for a neutral Christmas tree then I’d suggest warm white lights.

This was a cheap unlit tree so I had to buy lights.

When choosing lights go with a warm rather than a bright white for a natural cozy look.

LED lights are a great option that will save you money and last longer than traditional Christmas lights just be sure to choose a warm glow.

How to Make Your Own Neutral Christmas Tree Ornaments

clear glass ornaments with decorative burlap and bead ribbon around middle hanging from tree

All you need to make your own Christmas tree ornaments are a few simple craft supplies.

I bought a box of clear glass balls to make some easy DIY ornaments.

Using different burlap ribbons I simply glued a piece around the middle of the clear ornament and viola neutral decor.

These were super easy to make and really cheap!

wood bead ornaments on table tied with twine some white painted some stained

Anne and I made these DIY wood bead ornaments that are another simple option for your neutral tree.

You can choose to leave them unfinished, paint the beads white, or stain them in a color of your choosing.

We did a mix of both white and stain which both look great with the jute twine hangers.

How to Make Quick and Easy DIY Ornaments

small galvanized 3D letter hanging on tree with burlap ribbon

Think outside the box when looking for tree decor that matches your theme.

I found these small galvanized 3D letters at Hobby Lobby in the craft section and luckily they had a little hanger on the back of them.

So I just added a piece of burlap ribbon to the top and twine to hang them from on the tree.

I bought letters to match everyone’s initials in my family.

The galvanized letters were cheap ornaments that go perfectly on my neutral rustic Christmas tree.

Where to Buy Inexpensive Holiday Decor

Inexpensive ornaments can be found at Dollar General, big box, or even craft stores.

Just look for things that coordinate with the theme of your Christmas tree like these metal tag-style ornaments.

A few unique pieces give your tree a more acquired look.

I also bought a box of 12 white matte pearl ornaments which were good to mix in with the other tree trimmings where I needed a little more decor.

How to Save Money on Christmas Tree Ornaments

white burlap ribbon ornament with jute bow and bells on tree

Another way to save money when decorating a new Christmas tree is to buy ornaments in sets.

We’re not talking about an entire bin of colored baubles but a set of 3 or 4 matching ornaments that come in a box together.

You can find these in craft stores, discount stores like TJ Maxx and Home Goods, or even online.

These white fabric balls look homemade but they’re from Hobby Lobby and came in a pack of four.

I think they’d be something that you could easily make if you’re unable to find them.

But don’t worry…I’ve sourced a bunch of neutral Christmas tree ornaments at the end of this article.

burlap ball ornament with white snowflake

These burlap-wrapped Christmas balls with beaded snowflake designs were another fun find from TJ Maxx that came in a set of 4.

I liked them so much that I actually got 2 sets of these ornaments.

Stores like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls are great places for different decor that you may not see everywhere else.

jute twine wrapped star Christmas tree ornament

This jute twine-wrapped star ornament also came in a set that I bought from Home Goods.

I really love the casual design of this star…super cute!

Again, it’s a style that if you’re crafty and patient enough you could totally make this decoration for your tree.

I could also see this on a banner, couldn’t you?

That’s another idea for cheap ornaments…look for affordable decorative banners that will usually have items hanging from them.

Then, you can then just snip the decorative pieces from the banner and create a bunch of ornaments from one banner.

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree to Look Full

small view of tree with berry stems and DIY ornaments

The plain white Christmas ball ornaments I mentioned earlier are great for filling in bare spots on your tree after decorating it with all of the other ornaments.

But sometimes you may need just a little bit extra to fill out your tree.

And that’s where floral stems or picks come in handy.

Keeping with the rustic look of this neutral Christmas tree, I used some plain white berry picks with brown stems.

The faux stems can be spread apart to fill in the bare spots and help tie all the decor together.

How to Choose Christmas Tree Toppers and Skirts

Christmas tree in dining room in front of bank of three windows decorated in neutral burlap and galvanized theme

A galvanized tree collar is the perfect option for this rustic neutral Christmas tree.

Other options to consider for the bottom of your tree…a cable knit sweater-style tree skirt, a rustic wood box, or even a large wicker basket.

Keeping with the theme I found a wood star in a small local shop that I knew would look amazing as my tree topper.

It doesn’t light up but I’m okay with that.

I just use pipe cleaners to attach the wood star to the top branches of the faux Christmas tree.

Where to Add a Second Christmas Tree in your Home

Our main Christmas tree with all of our family ornaments that we’ve lovingly collected through the years is in our family room because we spend the most time in that space.

Over the past few years, I’ve had this second Christmas tree in either of my two front rooms in our home.

I’m not sure if I like this Christmas tree better in the living room or the dining room.

It’s a bit smaller than the live tree we buy each year as our main tree in the family room so it’s perfect for one of the “formal rooms”.

I laugh at the word “formal” because we are so far from a formal family but we do live in a traditional colonial-style home so the entryway is flanked by a sitting room and a dining room.

A neutral-themed Christmas tree can be the perfect way to add a touch of classic holiday charm to your home without spending a fortune.

Try incorporating these ideas to help you create a unique, beautiful neutral Christmas tree while staying on a budget.

I don’t think you can ever have too many trees so go ahead and add one or even more to any room in your home!

Now go start your holiday decorating and show us the results on social media.

Resources and Shopping Links

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collage of product images used to decorate a neutral rustic farmhouse Christmas tree

Sources: wood slices | boho bead ornaments | tag word ornaments | wood star tree topper | set of wood snowflakes | glass and jute twine ornaments | burlap ribbon | white berry stems | mason jar lid ornaments | galvanized snowflakes | metal sign ornaments | white Christmas balls | rustic wood snowflakes | wood bead garland | galvanized tree collar | wicker rattan orbs

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Stacy Ling

Wednesday 8th of November 2023

Beautiful Christmas tree!

AnnMarie

Wednesday 8th of November 2023

Thanks Stacy

Kim

Tuesday 7th of November 2023

So pretty! I had to laugh a little when you mentioned the silver garland of old. I remember it well! Thanks for sharing all your pretty views!

Anne

Tuesday 7th of November 2023

Thanks so much for visiting, Kim! That garland was fun, wasn't it? It's funny seeing that it's starting to come back!

Jennifer Howard

Tuesday 7th of November 2023

I love natural looking ornaments. Nice job.

AnnMarie

Tuesday 7th of November 2023

Thanks so much Jennifer! :)

Anne

Tuesday 7th of November 2023

I love AnnMarie's natural tree too!

liane

Monday 30th of October 2023

Love all the neutrals... for the clear glass balls , I open the little topper and pour in faux snow from the Dollar Tree. It really makes them pop against a green tree.

Anne

Monday 30th of October 2023

I love that idea for the faux snow! Thanks so much for sharing!