5 mistakes experts say to avoid when squeezing a Christmas tree into a small space

Say hello to the mistakes you’re making if your Christmas tree is in a small room

 Silver chrome festive living room, Christmas tree in small space behind sofa, lit fire.
(Image credit: Future PLC/Blackmore Photography Ltd)

Worried about making small space Christmas tree mistakes? We feel your pain! After all, most of the Christmas ideas on Instagram tend to be aimed at those blessed with palatial homes – which isn't all that helpful if your house is on the weenier side.

Still, whether you've forked out for a real spruce or one of the best artificial Christmas trees, you can still absolutely make it pop in a smaller room!

Press pause on making all your Christmas tree ideas a reality, then, and look this way: as ever, we're here to help.

Small space Christmas tree mistakes

When it comes to the festive season, there's no denying that the all-important tree is the standout piece. But do the rules on how to decorate a Christmas tree change if the room is on the smaller side?

A Christmas tree decorated with brightly coloured baubles in a modern living room

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Well, while we're very much of the opinion that there's no real way to get Christmas wrong, we get that you might be worried about your tree dominating your home.

Here, then, are all the small space Christmas tree mistakes to avoid.

1. Don't go too big

A Christmas tree tucked in the corner of a small living room

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

It might seem obvious, but don't feel as if you have to keep up with the Joneses when it comes to the size of your Christmas tree this year. Because, you guessed it, one of the biggest (sorry) small space Christmas tree mistakes is opting for a tree that overwhelms your space.

'I would recommend avoiding large Christmas trees which are too big for your space,' says Emily Kelsey, PR Assistant at Lights4fun

'Choose tall and slim Christmas trees that will comfortably fit in your room and decorate with understated decorations of micro lights. The delicate wire and LED light will discreetly weave in amongst the sprigs of foliage and magically brighten smaller spaces.'

2. Don't reject the tabletop tree

Christmas tree decked with stars from Bloom & Wild

(Image credit: Bloom & Wild)

It's absolutely not a small Christmas tree mistake to opt for a glitzy tabletop number. Trust us.

'When living in smaller or rented accommodation, a real tree might be more hassle than it’s worth, especially if there is limited space or if you live up a flight of stairs,' says Joanna Baumard, co-founder of Purlfrost

'So, if it’s a no-go, consider a tabletop tree instead. They are often cost-effective and come included with a functional pot and baubles. It will also take up less space and can offer a charming, understated look for your home.'

Personally, we're big fans of the teeny Starry Night Tree from Bloom & Wild: it would be oh-so-easy to incorporate that rich gold and zodiac-inspired look into the rest of your home.

3. Stick to a colour scheme

Frosted Christmas tree with white decorations in living room

(Image credit: Habitat)

While we're always big fans of colour, the experts say that a major small tree Christmas mistake is failing to plan a colour scheme in advance.

'Keep your colour palette minimal, as otherwise too many colours and different themes could make your tree feel slightly chaotic,' advises Helen Ashmore, head of design at Laura Ashley

Opting for a well-coordinated colourway doesn't just keep your tree from overwhelming a smaller room: it also creates a beautiful and stylish look, and lends an air of sophistication to your home, too.

'If you’re the kind of decorator that loves a colour scheme, consider choosing a brighter one such as our Frosted Forest featuring gorgeous greens and frosty whites,' adds Frances Clements, buyer for Christmas at Homebase.

'You’ll be surprised how easily this brightens and widens a room!'

4. Think hard about placement

Christmas living room with tree with stripy bows and armchair.

(Image credit: Future)

You don't have to place your Christmas tree front and centre, you know: in fact, you can avoid a multitude of small space Christmas mistakes by thinking more carefully about placement.

'A lot of people think the tree needs to be front and centre of every room, but placement of your tree can play a huge role in small spaces,' says Frances. 'Try placing the tree in the corner of the room to maximise floor space, and it can also create a lovely focal point, too.'

If you're really short on floor space, you can also make good use of your walls. 'You can create a DIY Christmas tree with one string of fairy lights and a plain wall,' says Emily.

'Using three pins and a length of string, create an outline of a triangle on a wall and place command hooks down either side. Then, gather your fairy lights and zig zag the string back and forth from the command hooks to create your DIY Christmas tree.'

To finish it off, be sure to hang a twinkling star at the top the tree with either a command hook or pin, and tuck the battery box out of sight. 

5. And don't overload the baubles

Living room with traditional christmas tree and frieplace

(Image credit: Future/Mary Wadsworth)

This isn't just a small space Christmas tree mistake: it's an all space Christmas tree mistake – don't overload your tree!

'Make sure you leave space between baubles to let the twinkle of the lights come through,' says Frances firmly. 

'Going over the top with decorations may seem right but it compacts not just the tree but the room as well.'

And Helen agrees, adding that you should also 'make sure that your Christmas tree is placed on an even surface' before you even look at a bauble. 

'If it's on a table, choose something large enough to hold your tree, so it doesn't topple over,' she says, 'and always lay down an old dust sheet, as this catches any loose bits of snow or foliage that drop as you are plumping and fanning out the branches before you start decorating!'


What if I don't have enough space for a Christmas tree?

If you don't have enough space for a traditional Christmas tree, you can opt for a small tabletop number or a wall hanging. 

Alternatively, if you really want to keep things minimal, you could try decorating your windows with bows, fairy lights and ornaments for a festive (yet still fuss-free) look!

Where should a Christmas tree be placed in a small space?

Forget what you think you know about Christmas tree placement; the corner of the room is your friend if you're working with a small space, as it makes a focal point out of one of the least-used parts of your room!

How do you make a small Christmas tree look good?

All of our experts agree on one thing: less is more when it comes to a small Christmas tree, so make the most of its natural foliage and keep baubles and fairy lights to a minimum.

It's important, too, to keep your colour scheme as organised as possible: too many hues will overpower the tree and the small space it's in.

Now that you know all of the small space Christmas tree mistakes to avoid, you can set to work on transforming your home into your very own winter wonderland.

Just be sure to pour yourself a steaming mug of hot chocolate before you get started. Tis the season, after all!

Kayleigh Dray
Acting Content Editor

Kayleigh Dray became Ideal Home’s Acting Content Editor in the spring of 2023, and is very excited to get to work. She joins the team after a decade-long career working as a journalist and editor across a number of leading lifestyle brands, both in-house and as a freelancer.