How can I fit a Christmas tree in a small living room? Here's how the experts tackle tiny, yet festive spaces

If you think a Christmas tree just simply won't fit in your tiny living room, think again. We asked the experts for a Christmas miracle for small homes

A small living room with a christmas tree
(Image credit: ANNA STATHAKI)

The festive season is closing in, and after making a recent move to an apartment in the city, I'm finally starting to wonder how I'm going to fit a Christmas tree in my small living room. And I know I'm not the only one trying to wrap my head around this problem. 

Everyone dreams of a large room with high ceilings, that can be easily decked out for the holidays with tall, scene-stealing Christmas trees. But take it from our style experts – you can make an impact and have a stunning Christmas tree display even if your living room is small.

We asked them to help us with quick, smart decor tips that can help accommodate this festive VIP in the house. Take a look at their Christmas decorating ideas that are ideal for the tiniest spaces.

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi is a homes writer and editor with several years of experience. Her articles, backed by expert insights, offer suggestions aimed at helping readers make the best home design choices. For this article, she spoke to several designers to understand ways to bring in a Christmas tree in a small living room.

How to fit a Christmas tree in a small living room

1. Follow the 'one in, one out' rule

A small living room with a tree inside

(Image credit: Homebase)

When looking for ideas for Christmas living room decor, you may feel your room has not even an inch of available space for a tree, so in reality, you need to make room for it. 

'If you want to squeeze a Christmas tree into your small living or dining room there are a few things to keep in mind,' say Jenna Choate-James and Mariana Ugarte, founders of Interior Fox. 'Apply the one in, one out. If you are bringing a large tree make sure you take away one item from the space so it's not too cramped. Perhaps removing the footstool or the potted plant that's taking up extra floor space could help. It is important to free up some floor space.'

'Consider removing a table or chair for the month if that’s an option,' says Jennifer Morris, founder of JMorris Design. 'Corners where furniture usually sits can be the most tucked away while still being a focal point.'

2. Measure your real estate

A christmas tree inside a small living room

(Image credit: Homebase)

Making your Christmas checklist? Why not take a moment to measure the space you have to put a Christmas tree in the process to help you when browsing for a tree. It's especially important when buying a real tree. 

Take out the measuring tape, and check the width of the corner where you're planning on placing the tree. Consider its widest point, and mark it so you don't forget.

'Be thoughtful of scale while keeping the room usable,' says Jennifer. 'Maybe tape out a circle to make sure you can manage the stolen real estate.'

Another way is by cheating your layout by bringing the furniture closer to the tree. This will help create more circulation areas for people to walk around. So, two chairs that normally sit slightly askew with a small table in between them can be brought close together and the small table moved to one side or another. An L-shaped configuration could also help.

3. Look for slender-style trees

A thin christmas tree in a small living room

(Image credit: Simon Bevan)

You could also look for a tree with a small footprint – one that can fit into a small room more easily. When choosing a tree for a small living room, go for height rather than width. This will make the room feel bigger because it draws the eye upwards. Add string lights or small bulbs for Christmas tree lights, to make it the center of attention.

'Often the issue with the Christmas tree is the diameter; even if it's not very tall it can be very wide so it is good to look for more slender trees when choosing for small spaces,' says Kashi Shikunova, founder of Yam Studios. 'Artificial trees tend to be slimmer and a good quality tree can look great so it is worth considering.'

'If your space is too tight, choose a scaled-down version of a Christmas tree,' says Jennifer. 'Or skip one completely and do more garlands and wreaths at the mantle.'

Balsam Hill Spruce Artificial Tree, Amazon
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Balsam Hill Spruce Artificial Tree, Amazon

This shapely tree in grey, blue-green, and moss green needles looks as good as a real one, and can add height to a small living room.

4. Opt for smaller ones that can be placed on tables

a small christmas tree on a table top

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

Make use of your corner tables, consoles, or even the Christmas fireplace mantle area, and place a small, scaled-down tree here. For added impact, put it by the window. Not only does it look pretty, with the lights reflected in the glass, but the openness of the window and the twinkling visuals against the glass will make the room feel bigger and less claustrophobic.

'Opt for a smaller tree that can sit on top of a small table so that you can arrange gifts and stockings all in one place,' say Jenna and Mariana. There are lots of effective ways to decorate a small Christmas tree to make an impact, too. 

5. Keep decorations minimalist

A mantle piece decorated with a long wreath

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

Christmas decorations don't need to mean large baubles, wreaths strewn around the place, decorations taking over the room, and more. If you have a small living room, you don't want it to be a space that looks like one may have to take a step back before entering it. With simple, minimalist Christmas decor, you can create a joyful interior that doesn't seem too overcrowded.

With slender candles, light foliage, and lanterns, you can have a festive and beautiful room.

Green Garland, Target
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Green Garland, Target

Add to your Christmas decorations with this 6" garland made with a mix of greenery, pinecones and red berries. 

6. Create a coordinating color scheme

A christmas tree fitted inside a small space

(Image credit: Homebase)

The more odd colors and elements your room has, the more cluttered it will look. Since you're operating in a small living room, you want to make sure that your small Christmas tree doesn't stick out like a sore thumb; instead merges beautifully with the room's decor.

The easiest way to do this is by using what you already have. Choose one prominent feature and borrow its colors around the room. For instance, if you have a patterned rug, draw inspiration from it.  Choose fabrics, ribbons, filler ornaments, and another décor with those living room colors to tie it all together.

Where should I place a Christmas tree in a small living room?

A large Christmas tree in the corner of a living room, neutrally decorated with a star topper on top

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

In a small living room layout, the best place to keep the tree would be in a cozy corner, away from the entrance and out of the normal walking space. The other option is by the window, or if you don't mind a scaled-down version of the tree, then atop the console or mantel. 

If your home's square footage is tiny, then consider rearranging your furniture a little to include the tree. Once the festive season is over, you can bring everything back to how it was.

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.