For the holidays, my home this year is decorated in shades of white and silver to create whimsical images of a magical Winter Wonderland.

However, I like to go all out for one theme tree, my Designer Tree, that sits in the dining room or den. I decided on a single color theme, and although shades of winter blue and rosy red and tree green all beckoned as traditional favorites, a new color caught me, made me smile, and that was it. Purple is the hottest new color for Christmas this year — you can use it to add to your traditional tree to give it a fresh boost, or to create a theme tree. Purple baubles, ribbon and sparkles make for a fabulous, funky tree.

Working with one main color is a good way to create a cohesive design. My color story for this tree is purple, and I’m going to add silver accents for modern emphasis. Here are my tips for decorating a tree that is full, lush, festive and gorgeous.

Begin by shaping the branches so that the tree is evenly full and bushy. String the lights, tucking them into the branches so that they will glow behind as well as beside the ornaments. Next wrap ribbon or garland around the tree; establish one direction, vertical, horizontal or diagonal. Be sure to tuck in the ends.

For the ornaments, start with the core balls — in this case, purple. They are the same size but may differ in design, some baubly, some smooth, some with colored glitter. I hang five core ornaments per foot of tree; for a 7-foot-tree, that’s about 35. Accent colors are next, silver balls in the same or smaller sizes can be hung slightly behind the core ornaments to add sparkle and dimension. Then the theme ornaments — stars and bangles, in your theme colors. Stand back and check for balance. Any bare spots can be filled with sprays.

You can make your own tree topper with a selection of pics and sprays spread out like a floral bouquet and tied together with wire. Leave enough room at the bottom of the spray to attach it to the top of the tree, and fill in around the spray with a cluster of balls or tie a bow with your theme ribbon.

Happy decorating.

Q: Our entire house needs painting. In our living room, one wall is tongue-and-groove pine, which has yellowed. I want to paint it a feature color; my hubby doesn’t want it painted. Any suggestions?

A: I have heard this so many times before, and I guarantee he will love it when you are finished. Pine yellows naturally, turning a more golden yellow with age.

If it’s the color that bothers you, why not give it a new look without losing the wood and grain aspect that your husband likes? Sand the pine to reopen the wood’s pores and then apply a white or light gray wood stain. This will still be a feature wall, but the neutral tone will complement any color you choose for the living room.

If the original pine must stay, then look at the range of heritage colors at your paint store for the other walls. The earthy red, blue, green or even stony white will suit the pine’s patina.

You can whitewash these colors if they are too dark for the room.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to house2home@

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