What Christmas tree experts use to make an artificial tree look expensive – and more realistic

This is how to make an artificial Christmas tree look expensive for an elevated festive look

A Christmas-decorated living room with a Christmas tree
(Image credit: Sofa.com)

There are many benefits to buying an artificial Christmas tree with longevity being the cardinal one. But the one downside of faux Christmas trees is that not all of them are made equal and some can end up looking a bit cheap. And the less realistic it looks, then the less expensive it comes across at the same time. But luckily, there are ways how to make an artificial Christmas tree look expensive and more real.

When it comes to the best artificial Christmas trees, you most likely won’t have to deal with this issue as a lot of thought and care goes into their design to make them look as luxurious and real as possible. Which would perhaps be tip number one - choose your tree wisely and go for one that is designed in a realistic image. But sadly, that is often also reflected in their price. 

So if you’re looking to spruce up a more affordable artificial Christmas tree, then there are a few expert-approved tips you should employ.

A decorated Christmas tree with presents next to a sofa

(Image credit: Sofology)

How to make an artificial Christmas tree look expensive

If you’re looking for luxurious-looking Christmas tree ideas to elevate your artificial tree, then you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve not yet purchased yours, it’s recommended to go for the most realistic-looking fake Christmas tree and one with moulded tips.

‘The moulded tips give a natural silhouette and a much more realistic appearance to the final look,’ says Danielle Le Vaillant, head of photography and film at Cox & Cox. ‘The central branches provide depth and volume, so they don't have to be moulded.’

But if you’ve already got your tree and are looking to give it a high-end makeover, then there are two ways you can do so – correctly arranging it and choosing the right decor.

A Christmas-decorated living room with a Christmas tree

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Choose a theme

‘To make your tree look more expensive you need to decorate it like a professional and this starts by choosing a theme,’ advises Jennifer Derry, chief of merchandising and design at Balsam Hill. ‘Whether a colour palette, bauble collection, or interest, having a theme that brings your decorations together into one cohesive look is a surefire way to elevate your artificial tree.’

2. Place decorations strategically

If you’re wondering how to decorate a Christmas tree like a pro, Jennifer breaks it down. ‘For a professional look, you want to ensure that your eye is drawn over the tree by using an even spread of baubles with different textures and tones. I recommend avoiding placing decorations that look similar too close to one another. A top tip to create more depth and a more elevated look is to layer your decorations – place larger baubles deeper into the foliage and build up around them, filling the gaps with smaller decorations as you go.’

Star decorations

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

3. Add a tree skirt

Apart from the regular hanging tree decorations, focusing on additional Christmas tree decor is also key - whether that’s a smart Christmas tree topper idea or a tree skirt. Or ideally both and make them coordinate if at all possible.

‘Another effective way to make your artificial Christmas tree look expensive is by investing in a tree skirt,’ recommends Ben Wightman, product expert at Christmas Tree World. ‘Placing a tree skirt or a stand at the bottom of your tree not only gives the tree an elevated look but also adds a touch of elegance to your holiday decor.’ 

4.Fluff the branches

‘We also recommend enhancing the realism of your artificial tree by fluffing the branches and shaping them to create a natural silhouette,’ Ben starts.

Fluffing out your artificial tree once you pull it out of the box is a Christmas tree trend not to be skipped on as it will not only make the tree look fuller but also more real.

Jennifer continues, ‘When first out of the box, artificial trees can appear somewhat compressed so need teasing out to reach their full potential – we call this process “fluffing”.'

A decorated Christmas tree in a hallway

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

'Working from the bottom up and from the trunk outwards, stagger each twig and sprig so that it is offset from the one before, pointing in a different direction to those immediately around it. By fanning out each branch and twig like this you mimic how the tree would grow in nature, helping to make it look more real.’

And that’s how you make a fake Christmas tree look fluffier and fuller.

‘Always style the centre branches vertically up - to hide the inner stem. Then zhuzh the outer branches into a natural position, ensuring some are curved up and others down,’ Danielle concludes.


Which artificial tree looks most real?

As previously mentioned, the fastest route to an expensive-looking artificial Christmas tree is by purchasing one that looks the most realistic. And for us, the one leading the way on the market is the John Lewis & Partners Cotswold Potted Pre-lit Christmas Tree, which has earned the top spot in our buying guide of best artificial Christmas trees.

Just don’t forget to have fun with it and get creative with your Christmas tree decorating! After all, tis the season to be jolly!

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.