December 13, 2013

Treetopia Design Council 2013: Frances Bailey of 400 Square Feet

Posted by Treetopia in Decorating Ideas for Every Christmas Tree

Learn how to bring out the full beauty of your Treetopia Christmas tree with Treetopia’s Design Council 2013. In this series, we invite expert design bloggers to decorate their favorite Treetopia Christmas tree and share the fabulous results with us. Be inspired and discover the fine art of Christmas tree decorating with these terrific tips and amazing advice straight from the pros.

This week, we get up close and personal with the stylish work of Frances Bailey. If you’ve come across her boards on Pinterest and Houzz, then you know this is going to be a real treat.

Treetopia Winter White Tabletop Tree with decorations

Photo by Frances Bailey

When it comes to decorating small spaces, no one else does it like Frances Bailey. She chose a set of Treetopia Winter White Tabletop Trees and a Treetopia All That Glitters Wreath to show you  how to pack a lot holiday cheer and style into smaller living spaces. Frances decorated one of her white miniature trees with pieces of vintage jewelry, and the effect is simple yet stunning.

Here are Frances’ personal thoughts on this project:

Close up of Treetopia Winter White Tabletop Tree

Photo by Frances Bailey

My FAVORITE part about this is how FAST and EASY the product is to work with.  Decorating for a small space requires a light touch. Too much and it gets cluttered fast. The size of the table trees is just perfect for my limited square footage.  I collect vintage jewelry and this year, I wanted to work a few pieces into my holiday decor.  I thought the white tree would be a perfect foil for the vintage bling and set a “highfalutin” tone for a champagne toast with friends. The trees take up little room (yeah!) when it’s time to store after the holidays.

Gold wreath placed in various rooms

Photos by Frances Bailey


Frances’ apartment has a black and white palette with hints of yellow, so she knew the white trees would work well. She took a chance with the gold-hued wreath, and this was her reaction:

Wow! What a great surprise. It’s the PERFECT color. I like holiday decorations that “delight and surprise” so was challenged to put the wreath in a new place.  That’s a great tip, folks. Keep your holiday look fresh by simply moving your decorations to a new place around your home for a brand new look. The wreath worked everywhere I put it.  Against the midnight navy walls in the kitchen it shined! I almost kept it there, but I really wanted something over the bed, so I removed a large painting that is usually there and hung the wreath instead.  Simple. Chic. I didn’t find a place it didn’t look pretty. 

Aside from being the creator and editor of 400 Square Feet, Frances is also a style editor, creative consultant, content creator, project manager, and prop stylist. She’s passionate about social media, startups, community, and all things pretty. A native of North Carolina, she loves exploring the streets of NYC for good barbeque. Get to know more about Frances with our short Q&A:

How did you get your start?

13 years ago I moved to the city to do something “creative.” I’d been doing store windows and store design on the side while a social worker in NC so when I moved to the city, I leaped for the opportunity to work at O, The Oprah Magazine and haven’t looked back.

Favorite place to be for the holidays?  

Well, there’s a tie for 1st place.  NYC is incredibly magical and I do it all: visit the Rock Center tree, champagne toasts under the skyline and paint the town red but right before 25th I head back home to NC. Southerners do know how to celebrate.

How do you describe your holiday decorating style?  

Traditional with a Twist

Favorite holiday food, recipe, or drink?

For years, we hit a Christmas Eve family party that served Whiskey Sours and I’ve kept the tradition alive by making a batch each holiday season. It’s always a crowd-pleaser, but be warned, they are wicked. Take 1 can of frozen lemonade, pour in a blender, fill the empty lemonade can with whiskey then some ice. Blend then toss with 1 can of beer. It’s a bit white trash-y but everyone comes back for seconds. Another sentimental recipe is oyster stew on Christmas morning. My grandmother made it each year so continuing the tradition keeps her close.

Best Holiday Indulgence?

One Christmas I went to Kenya and Tanzania on safari and totally skipped the whole thing. I was gone 3 weeks so I missed the holiday frenzy, didn’t gain the obligatory 5 lbs or get holiday music fatigue.  It was delightful (!!!) though I did decorate. I traveled better knowing that I had a wreath hanging back in NYC.

Best Holiday Gift Ever Received?

A pink bike left in the chimney by Santa when I was in 3rd grade.

Regifting – okay or not okay?  

Okay but own it…..  I mean, if you get something great but can’t use it, definitely pass it along so it gets a happy home. But only regift good stuff.

What is your favorite piece of holiday décor and why?

Wreath. If I do nothing else, a wreath is hung. And I am nuts for lights so I will bedazzle my apartment full of wonderful twinkling ones that are so bright I can barely sleep at night with them on.

What are your favorite places to get holiday design inspiration?

Pinterest (obviously) and tumbler. I especially like blog postings from other countries like Australia (for it’s a different season) or Denmark with its chic Nordic style. Check out my holiday picks at

What is the most over-the-top holiday design you’ve seen?  

Well, the Plaza, Bergdorf and Barney windows make a trifecta of holiday fun in that “over the top” way. Is there anything grander?

Any holiday decorating tips you’d like to share?

I think it’s good to switch up what you always do to keep it fresh.  Consider new places to park your tree, wreath and garland. If you always put the garland on the mantle, try the staircase. If you always put a wreath on the front door, try above the mantle. I also like to decorate something unexpected like a wreath in a mudroom or a vase of poinsettia blooms in the home office.

Mind sharing with us what you’ll be doing for your home this Christmas? 

I am still gathering ideas but this year I am obsessed with glitter and tartan. It’s still up in the air which will win out so stay tuned. But know that tons of lights and gorgeous thick satin ribbons will be involved.

Read and see more of Frances Bailey’s style and design works by visiting her blog, 400 Square Feet.



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