10 Easy Ways to Make a Fake Tree Look Fuller

Genius ideas for sprucing up a fake fir.

There are plenty of reasons to love an artificial Christmas tree: It's environmentally friendly; it lasts for years; and it doesn't shed pine needles everywhere. The one major downside? These trees can look fake, and spending a summer stuffed inside a cardboard box doesn't do it any favors.

Luckily, with a few sprucing secrets, you can help even the straggliest of fake trees look full. After fluffing the branches, adding fresh garlands, and making your tree smell like pine, don't be surprised if your guests mistake your faux tree for the real deal.

01 of 10

Fluff the Branches

Christmas tree in living room with presents underneath
Tom Merton/Getty Images

Thin, skimpy branches are the telltale sign of a fake Christmas tree. After sitting in a box for 11 months of the year, the flattened faux pine needles and scrunched branches create obvious bare patches. To bring your fake tree back to life, devote some time to fluffing up each branch and fanning out the needles. Start with the bottom branches and work your way up.

02 of 10

Don't Skimp on Ornaments

Eye-catching ornaments can help fill in empty spots. Hang them strategically, starting with the largest ones and concentrating on areas that could use a big, sparkly distraction.

03 of 10

Drape a Greenery Garland

Wrapping a fake tree loosely with garland, whether fake or real, will help it look lush and full. Start from the top and work your way down. Use a strand long enough to cover the entire tree—stopping halfway won't fool anyone.

Alternatively, opt for pine picks or sprays of artificial greenery attached to a metal stem in a color that matches your tree. Intersperse them evenly to give the tree a balanced look, and make sure the metal stem is well hidden within the tree branches.

04 of 10

Tuck in Real Branches

Add real pine branches from trees in your backyard, as long as the color is close to that of your tree. The real branches will add texture and make the tree look more organic. When adding branches, space them throughout to keep the tree looking balanced.

05 of 10

Add an Authentic Scent

You can tell a pine tree by more than just its looks. A whiff of woodsy fragrance lets you know it's the real deal. To fake it, add pine-scented stick ornaments to the back of the tree in an inconspicuous spot. Pine needle essential oils are a more natural solution or light a pine-scented candle in the room.

06 of 10

Spritz It With Fake Snow

While a dusting of artificial snow won't make the tree look more real, it will spruce up lackluster branches. Take the tree outside before spraying the branches with a light, even dusting of spray-on snow. Consider where snow would realistically hit the tree, and concentrate on the top of each branch. Let the tree settle and the fumes dissipate before bringing it back indoors.

07 of 10

Top It With Tinsel

If you're a fan of tinsel, this is the perfect opportunity to let it loose. Drape metallic tinsel on each branch, covering any obvious sparse spots. Because the tinsel drapes down in between the branches, it's the ideal decoration to fill a thin tree.

08 of 10

Add Pinecones and Ribbons

Large decorations like pinecones and velvet ribbons are ideal for dressing artificial trees. Place these decorations strategically to cover bald spots and make the tree look lush.

09 of 10

Use a Standout Tree Stand

Nothing makes a fake tree look cheap quite like an inexpensive plastic tree stand. Cover the stand with a no-sew homemade tree skirt, or place the stand inside a large woven basket and fill it with pinecones. If you give your fake tree a sturdy base, it's more likely to look real.

10 of 10

Supplement With Strand Lights

Sure, the whole point of buying a pre-lit tree is to avoid wrapping it with string lights. But if you've had your tree for a while, adding more lights is an easy way to update it (especially if any of the original lights have burnt out).

To make the tree really shine, consider adding strands of bigger vintage-style bulbs that will also help make it look fuller.

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