15 Alternative Christmas Trees Perfect for Small Spaces
Decorating for the holidays—and sifting through those endless holiday decorating ideas—is no small feat. Depending on which holidays you and your family celebrate, holiday decorating may be relatively small-scale, but if you celebrate Christmas, you may be in for a huge undertaking. Christmas trees and decorations seem to get bigger and bigger every year, and let’s be honest: Who doesn’t dream of a fluffy, oversized fir? The oversized Christmas tree dream is popular, but spaces large enough to fit such a tree aren’t so much.
So what’s a Christmas tree–loving home decorator to do? Find an alternative Christmas tree, of course. Knowing how to put lights on a Christmas tree can still come in handy, even if a live Christmas tree isn’t involved. With a little DIY holiday decorations know-how (and maybe these smart alternative Christmas tree ideas), you can bring the look and feel of a Christmas tree home, even if you live in a small space.
These Christmas tree ideas can be as complicated or as simple as you want; you can put as much or as little effort into them as you wish. At the end of the day, you want something that spreads holiday cheer while fitting into your home and lifestyle—and if you can impress visitors along the way, then even better.
From a wall-hanging Christmas tree made out of washi tape to a chalkboard tree your kids can help draw themselves, these alternative Christmas tree ideas take up minimal space while delivering maximum holiday cheer. Try one of these ideas in place of the traditional tree in the living room or add one in the kitchen or the kids’ playroom for a festive touch. These small-space designs prove you don’t need a lot of square footage to make your space feel merry and bright all season long.
A Garland-Wrapped Ladder
For a minimalist Christmas tree with a Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic, lean a wooden ladder against the wall, then adorn it with a faux pine garland and beautiful velvet stockings. If you miss the scent of real pine, mix a few sprigs of the real stuff into the garland to fill the room with the familiar aroma.
Take a photo of a tree and turn it into a large-scale print at your local office-printing store (like Kinko’s or Staples). Attach it to a long wooden dowel and hang it like a tapestry with string. You can either leave the print as is, or add ornaments to a string and tape them to the tree.
Photo and idea from Almost Makes Perfect. Get instructions here.
The Mini Tree
Even if you don't have room for a traditional tree, you can still get the same look on a smaller scale. Instead of the 7-foot fir tree, opt for a 3- or 4-foot-tall one, and use a decorative metal planter in place of the typical tree stand and skirt. Then, keep the ornaments minimal so you won’t overwhelm the branches.
Want a faux hearth to accompany your small-space tree? Wrap birch logs in fairy lights and set them in a wire basket. The room will instantly look warmer.
Pineapple Christmas Tree
For countertop or table holiday displays, the humble pineapple can make a big splash with a little spray paint magic. Spray a fresh pineapple festive colors, or go silver and gold for a more sophisticated look. If you’re feeling particularly crafty, you can even hang small ornaments from the leaves or tie a ribbon around the base. The painted pineapples will last four to five days, so save this alternative Christmas tree for just before the holiday.
A Chalkboard Tree
If you’re ready to make a bigger commitment, designate a wall (or part of one) as your chalkboard wall. Coat it with chalkboard paint, let dry, and change up the decorations and drawings according to the season. Here, a hand-drawn fireplace and tree create a whimsical vignette. Then Christmas lights, a stocking, and leaves in the “frame” can add a 3-D effect. The whole scene is completed with a cozy lounge area in front of the wall.
Photo and idea from Mr. Kate. Get the instructions here.
For a trendy fringe effect, try adding strips of crepe paper in tiers. Fringe each strip with scissors and layer one on top of the other—you can play around with different color combinations, too. Tape paper stars and a tree topper to finish the modern look.
Photo and idea from Clouds of Colour.
Felt Christmas Tree
This one’s for the kids: Hang a felt Christmas tree, like the one pictured above, on a wall or door and let the kids decorate, rearrange, and play. The tree takes up no space, and it lets little ones get involved, so they can get in the holiday spirit, too.
To buy: Aytai DIY Felt Christmas Tree Set, $16; amazon.com.
Modern Greenery Tree
If your house is too small for a tree, it’s possible to still achieve the fresh scent of pine without relying on a scented candle or room fragrance. Take an extra-long wooden dowel and cut it into various sizes to create a triangle “tree” shape. Glue the evergreen branches (you can use rosemary, too) to the dowels. Once they’re dry, attach the wooden pieces to the wall with painter’s tape.
Photo and idea from Almost Makes Perfect. Get instructions here.
This idea brings in the feeling of a real tree, but without the added bulk of a large fir. Various-sized branches are strung together with rope and ornaments are hung from the branches. The whole “tree” is topped with a rustic-inspired star. Place presents underneath.
Photo and idea from View From the Fridge.
Wallpaper Christmas Tree
For a Christmas decoration that doesn’t look like a Christmas decoration, try this removable wallpaper, which has a subtle fir tree pattern but doesn’t scream holiday havoc. The wallpaper panels can be used as an accent or to cover a whole wall and then be removed at the end of the season. (Leaving them up year-round is an option, too.)
To buy: Chasing Paper Tree Toile, $40 per sheet; chasingpaper.com.
Prop a ladder against an empty wall and decorate with lights, ornaments, and garlands. Here, the white ladder with delicate accents gives the spot an ethereal feel. At the top of the ladder, you can go the traditional route with a star topper, or choose the more unconventional path and place a branch above.
Photo and idea from Real Housemoms. Get instructions here.
The Washi-Tape Tree
This washi tape DIY is a no-fail, last minute project. Create a tree design on a blank wall with patterned washi tape and attach strings of ornaments on the “tree” with clear tape. Customize it to your décor style by choosing different colored tape and adding other ornaments or details.
Photo and idea Homey Oh My. Get instructions here.
Glass Christmas Tree
When there really is no space—or you just want to dress up an office, cubicle, or dorm room—these tabletop glass trees work as mini Christmas trees. They can display a surprising number of ornaments and don’t take up too much storage space—good news for frequent movers.
To buy: Pottery Barn Glass Tree Mini Ornament Holder, from $17 each; potterybarn.com.
Paper Triangle Tree
For a bold, colorful Christmas look, try this wall “tree” made of an assortment of cardstock, painter’s tape, and string lights. Cut triangles out of the cardstock, then layer them on the wall in a tree shape with tape. For a finishing touch, trim the “tree” with string lights and push pins.
Photo and idea from Brit+Co. Get instructions here.
Decal Christmas Tree
For another small-space Christmas tree, try this durable polyester wall decal, which boasts all the odds and ends of a standard tree without taking up a lick of space. This alternative Christmas tree is movable, too, so you can hang it, enjoy it, and pack it up to enjoy again the following year.
To buy: ArtAppeel Christmas Tree Jumbo Peel & Stick Wall Decal, $90; artappeel.com.