Alternative Christmas tree ideas - 10 ideas that create a unique festive focal point

From decorative branches to rustic ladders, these quirky alternative Christmas tree ideas will add a twist to a festive scheme

Alternative christmas tree branch with decorations
(Image credit: Future)

Space is sought after in many of our homes, which means we need to turn to alternative Christmas tree ideas when we don't quite have room for the real thing. A tree is the centrepiece of Christmas decor, but you can still create a festive scheme full of magic without one. 

From decorated branches to crafty alternatives that take up no space at all, your home will look seasonal and creative. Plus, mixing it up every once in a while is fun! Whether you're looking for a Christmas tree idea to make a bold statement in place of your living room fir tree or as an additional tree for the hallway or even a bedroom – an alternative tree is sure to make a statement.

Alternative Christmas tree ideas

When a real Christmas tree is too much maintenance an alternative Christmas tree idea is the prefect solution. From best-selling artificial trees to DIY balloon designs, there's a quirky extra tree to suit any room, whatever the decor of choice.

1. Try a flat-pack tree

Cox & Cox metal Christmas tree.

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

If you're short on living room space or want a secondary tree to brighten up an empty hallway, opt for a simple silhouette tree. Made of lightweight metal, it's super-easy to decorate, with rungs and pegs that you can hook baubles and decorations onto. We love this tiered metal tree from Cox & Cox.  

If you'd like a little sparkle, you can even try wiring on a set of fairy lights.

2. Save space with a slimline tree

Cox & Cox light up blossom Christmas tree

(Image credit: Cox & Cox light up blossom Christmas tree)

Big doesn't always mean beautiful. This super-pretty blossom-covered tree takes up minimal floor space, but makes an eye-catching focal point without the need for any extra decoration. Bulbs are pre-wired, so there are no cables to get in a tangle and with 270 warm white bulbs, it looks ultra-twinkly after dark. 

Slimline trees, like this smaller alpine artificial tree from Cox & Cox, will still make a huge impact in your space but still leave you plenty of room to navigate your home.

3. Light up a corner with a twinkly wall tree

Lights4Fun Christmas Star Light

(Image credit: Lights4Fun / Oliver Perrott)

Create a fun and festive display to fill empty wall space above a console table or chest of drawers with an alternative Christmas tree idea that becomes a Christmas tree wall decor idea as well.

Use pages of an old book, some hand-written notes or a selection of festive postcards, positioned on the wall to create a tree-shaped arrangement. Use Blu tack to secure and wire in a set of micro lights, topped off with a sparkling Christmas star.

4. Keep it simple with a Scandi-style wall-hung tree

Ginger Ray hanging wooden Christmas tree with lights

(Image credit: Ginger Ray)

If you haven't got the space for a floor-standing real fir Christmas tree, you can still get your festive fix with a simple wall-hung design. A picture hook is all that's required to hang it from and the lights are pre-wired so need no adjusting.

If you fancy a little extra sparkle, try hooking on a few mini baubles or use wooden pegs to display Christmas cards on the branches. And then once Christmas is over, it can be rolled up into a tube, taking minimal storage space in the loft.

5. Get festive with a Christmas banner

Not On The High Street Christmas wall hanging

(Image credit: Not On The High Street)

Christmas trees are often the focal point of the festive decorations, but if you've absolutely no free floor space or are worried about children and pets breaking the baubles, then this is the ultimate fuss-free option. Simply remove one of your regular non-Christmassy pictures and replace with this chic canvas wall-hanging for the holidays.

Featuring a tree silhouette with space for the family name to be added underneath, it looks chic and stylish and there'll be no annoying pine needles that need sweeping up.

6. Downsize with a twig tree

Alternative christmas tree branch with decorations

(Image credit: Future)

Swap a full-sized tree for a twiggy tabletop arrangement using large branches foraged from outdoors.

Stand the twigs in a sturdy vase, weighted down with sand so it won't topple, adding a layer of dishwasher salt at the top to create a snowy effect. Then simply decorate the branches with mini baubles and hanging icicles.

7. Chalk up an easy instant tree

Homesense chalk board Christmas tree

(Image credit: Homesense)

Here's one that little ones will love and it makes a cute idea for decorating a play room or family den. You'll need a chalk board panel as your backdrop - if you don't already have one, you can buy tester pots of chalk paint for under £10 at most DIY stores.

Once your backdrop is set, simply draw on a Christmas tree shape using white chalk. Position a few thumb tacks here and there on alternate branches and let the children hook on their favourite tree ornaments to decorate.

8. Go big with beautiful baubles

Christmas baubles on alterantive tree hanging over table

(Image credit: Future)

Break with tradition and swap the festive fir tree for a contemporary hanging arrangement with supersized baubles. You'll need a couple of sturdy branches to hang your baubles from, suspended on a hook from the ceiling.

Try spray painting the branches gold for a majestic touch, wiring in a set of micro lights so that they'll look more dramatic after dark. Then simply add your baubles - keeping to gold and just a few key colours for a more eye-catching look.

9. Bring a room into bloom

Poinsettia on bench in hallway

(Image credit: Future)

Choose a real foliage alternative with a Christmas tree shaped Azalea plant. The potted indoor plant is grown into a pyramid shape to resemble a traditional festive tree. The seasonal blooms are available in this snowy white variety as well as jolly red – both ideal for a Christmas theme.

The 60cm tall potted plant is big enough to make a statement without taking up too much space. If your dining table is large enough it would make a captivating Christmas table centrepiece idea.

10. Deck a branch with favourite baubles

Habitat branch Christmas tree with baubles

(Image credit: Habitat)

No room for a full sized Christmas tree? Be creative with an entirely alternative Christmas tree idea by adorning a single tree branch with decorations. Suspend the lightweight branch on decorative ribbons to add colour. Use hooks secured into the ceiling, being sure not to create holes too big to fill after the decorations come down.

What can I do instead of a Christmas tree?

Instead of a Christmas tree you can explore a number of alternative ideas, from Christmas tree shaped light displays on walls to baubles hanging from twigs in a vase. Any form of decoration that welcomes a sense of instant festive feeling to a room is a great way to dress the room – without having to have a tree.

In terms of wanting a tree silhouette you can buy alternative design to that of traditional fir trees – both artificial or real. The most popular alternative in previous years has been the metal framed trees, that provide a sturdy structure to decorate but which are slim enough to stand up against a wall. taking up next to no room.

How do you make it feel like Christmas without a tree?

You can make it feel like Christmas without a tree by being thoughtful with decorations. Twinkling fairy lights are a great way to instantly evoke a sense of Christmas. Without a tree you just need to be imaginative – drape lights over picture frames, window frames  and mantelpieces; or just about anywhere you can think of!

To compensate for not having a tree it's best to choose one decoration to stand out, taking on the role of the tree to anchor the room around it. Whether that be an alternative tree idea or a statement wall decor idea, it needs to become the focal festive point.

Lisa Fazzani
Deputy Editor

Lisa is Deputy Editor of Style at Home magazine and regularly contributes to sister title Ideal Home. She has written about interiors for more than 25 years and about pretty much every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, crafts and DIY to real home transformations and kitchen and bathroom makeovers. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person.

With contributions from