How to fit a Christmas tree in a small space and not feel overwhelmed

Wondering how to fit a Christmas tree in a small space — and not have a conundrum? We've got you

a small apartment with a couch and christmas decor and a christmas tree
(Image credit: Getty Images/SolStock)

Curious how to fit a Christmas tree in a small space? You can either pull a Clark Griswold and bring home a spruce that's too tall and wide, or you can Charlie Brown it with a branch and a bow. (We kid, dear renters.)

Even if it seems like the math isn't adding up, rest assured there is a way to get your Douglas Fir set up nicely and without damaging your abode. (No broken windows à la Clark.) However, it will take a little creativity. 

As you start mapping out your  Christmas decorations for the festive season ahead — and prepare to commit to a trendy theme like the beachy Coastal Christmas or the Barbie-approved pink Christmas trend — here's what to keep in mind size-wise. 

How to fit a Christmas tree in a small space

Ready to get a little crafty, folks? We'll help you get the ball rollin'. When selecting the star of the show this December, keep a few things in mind:

1. Think vertically

Christmas tree in neutral living room

(Image credit: Target)

Whenever small spaces come to mind, we are always instructed to think vertically, whether that means utilizing hanging lamps or floating wall shelves in order to clear the floor space. When it comes to Christmas tree ideas, the same mantra stands. (See what we did there?)

"Fitting a Christmas tree in an apartment or smaller space needs some holiday magic to accomplish," says Nicole Cullum, founder of Color Caravan. "Look for trees that are more vertical than wide. A smaller diameter tree that has great height can visually fill a room without taking up too much floor space."

Nicole Cullum
Nicole Cullum

Nicole Cullum is an interior designer, color expert, and professional organizer in Taos, New Mexico. She is the creative founder of Color Caravan, a charming hand-painted line of wallpaper, textiles, and home decor.

2. Find an alternative

plant with christmas lights next to a candle and stereo

(Image credit: Getty Images/Uwe Krejci)

If you don't have room for a tree, but you do have room for, let's say a calathea or ZZ Plant, why not given them a festive update instead of lugging a tree five flights up to your tiny studio?

"Who says you can't decorate the plants around your house with mini baubles and tree toppers," insists Sarah Blevins, the product operations manager at Villa. "I had a neighbor growing up every year who put a giant cactus sculpture in their front yard and wrapped it in Christmas lights."

With that in mind, have you perused our guide to the best indoor plants? Other potential replacements could be paper trees — like the trio of sage-colored Neutral Accordion Paper Trees from West Elm — festive wall art, or any type of seasonal decor.

Sarah Blevins
Sarah Blevins

Sarah Blevins is the product operations manager at Villa, where she partners with multiple factories to create aesthetically-pleasing and functional prefab ADUs. Prior to her three years in-house at Villa, Sarah served in a number of design roles, including designing Starbucks retail locations and working as an Interior Designer for Handel Architects. She has also done work with Earl Swensson Associates and GBBN Architects. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the University of Cincinnati.

3. Be prepared to trim

Scandinavian christmas paper honeycomb ornament on Christmas tree with lights

(Image credit: Getty Images / Alexandr Kolesnikov)

Blevins and her family always goes the real tree route and is accustomed to doing some touch-ups at home to make sure everything fits properly. What's more, she utilizes the scraps in festive ways and puts a sustainable twist on the process when it comes time to discard her spruce.

"Every year we pick out a real tree from a lot, and once we get it home we normally have to trim and cut branches to set it on to a stand," she notes. "I love to reuse the cut boughs by wrapping them together using lightweight metal wire to create a garland or simple archway decor. Once the season is over, we can compost all of the decor and not worry about having to pack and store it for next year."

4. Try a wall-mounted or tabletop tree

a tabletop christmas tree next to a window with white blinds and in front of a dark orange wall and wooden accent piece

(Image credit: Getty Images/Kseniya Ovchinnikova)

Even though we've managed to assemble some pretty clever small living room ideas, sometimes floorspace is just too scarce. Designer Artem Kropovinsky is all for decorating wall-mounted and tabletop trees this December. Who said small can't be mighty? Mini Christmas trees pack plenty of cuteness and holiday cheer.

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York.

5. Head for the corners

a small apartment with a grey couch and christmas tree in the corner

(Image credit: Getty Images/SolStock)

According to Kropovinsky, you might have to do some reshuffling when it comes time to pull out the festive gear. Regardless, eye the corners of your apartment or home to see where your greenery can go. 

"Put the tree at a corner and change one item in the space with it so that it becomes part of your setting," he suggests.

How to store your Christmas tree in a small apartment

If you like to take your decor down promptly after the ball drops in Times Square, you're going to have to figure out a place to house your (faux) greenery for the 11 months it's not in use. (And here's how to store Christmas decorations in a small space, JSYK.)

"When it comes to storing the tree in the off-season, use a sturdy tree bag or a purpose-built tree storage container, says Leslie Kilgour, professional organizer and founder of Get It Straight Organizing. "Place it in a designated storage area such as a closet, attic, or under a bed, ensuring the space is cool and dry to prevent damage from temperature fluctuations or moisture."

If space is really scarce — really, really scare — try storing different parts of the tree around the house where it's most convenient and out of the way. 

"Disassemble the tree into sections and store them in a flat position to maximize space. Proper storage not only protects the tree but also makes it easy to retrieve and set up for the next holiday season," Kilgour notes.

Leslie Kilgour

Leslie Kilgour is a professional organizer and founder of Get It Straight Organizing, based in Long Island, New York. 


What can I use if I don't have space for my Christmas tree?

If you don't have space for a regular-sized Christmas tree, you can opt for one that is smaller and taller, or you can buy one for a tabletop so that you're not crowding floorspace. If you'd like another alternative entirely, consider plants or seasonal decor items instead. 

How do you fit a big tree in a small space?

In order to fit a big tree into a small space, you will likely have to take out an object and replace it with the tree. Should you be working with a real tree, you might have to trim some branches, which you could use for more decorative purposes. Make sure that you're not overwhelming the tree with excessive decorations that could make the room feel even more cramped.

Now that the tree situation is settled, what about the rest? If you're a renter, chances are you want to be careful about wrecking your space. We spoke to interior designers about how to decorate for Christmas without damaging your apartment so that there's no stress, just celebration.

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.