Return to How To's & Project Ideas

Choosing Your Artificial Christmas Tree

Print this article Share

The Christmas tree is the heart of your decorations and with such a vast range of artificial trees on the market, it is difficult to choose the right one for your home. This buying guide has everything you need to know to find the perfect tree.

Decorating an artificial Christmas treeFake Christmas trees have come a long way in recent years and are now almost identical to real trees. There are some advantages to an artificial tree too such as no falling pine needles and wilting branches, you can use it again year after year, and you don’t need to worry about finding a recycling facility after the festive season comes to an end. If like us, you think finding the perfect height, shape and look is of crucial importance, then read our guide before you purchase. After all, you will at least get more than one Christmas from this decision!

Artificial Christmas trees on saleChristmas Tree Sizes

Before you buy your Christmas tree, you need to decide where you want to put it, so you can be sure of the maximum space available in width and height. A corner usually works well, but bear in mind any nearby doorways that you won’t want to obstruct with protruding branches.

Ceiling Height vs Tree Height

If you measure 7ft from floor to ceiling in your chosen room, that doesn’t mean you should buy a 7ft tree. Remember, you will need space at the top of the tree for your star or angel tree topper, and visually the tree will look better if there is a bit of extra space all around it. Always choose a tree that is 0.5 - 1ft shorter than the height you have available.

Tall and slim Christmas treesChristmas Tree Heights

When you know where you’re putting your tree and how much floor space and floor-to-ceiling height is available, you can choose the best tree size for that space based on the following guide:
  • 4 & 5ft: These are quite small trees and would usually be used as secondary, novelty trees on a landing or in a child’s bedroom. They are also ideal for decorating workplaces. The trees available in these heights are usually fibre optic or pre-lit, which can be very handy.
  • 6 & 6.5ft: These sizes are a safe bet if you are unsure of the height of your ceiling and won’t get around to measuring it. These are also the perfect size for small rooms or compact apartments where space is at a premium. Remember, trying to fit a larger tree into a tight space will only make the room feel smaller.
  • 7 & 7.5ft: The most popular sizes and ideal for an average sized room, the trees in this range qualify as large but are not so big they will overwhelm a room or need a copious amount of lights!
  • 8ft+: If you have a high or vaulted ceiling you should consider purchasing a tree in this height range. These trees look fantastic in larger living rooms where you have that extra bit of space. 

Fibre optic Christmas treesChristmas Tree Types

We have put together a list of Christmas tree styles with their benefits and drawbacks, to help you choose the right tree for your home.


This standard, unlit style is most like a real tree and allows you to be creative with lights, ornaments and other Christmas tree decorations. Available in cone and slim shapes, there is a wide range available to suit any home. With traditional trees you can shape the branches for a fuller and more realistic look. You can also experiment with different colours of lights and decorations each year.

Flocked or Coloured

Flocked artificial Christmas trees are finished with glitter or artificial snow, and coloured trees come in almost every colour with white and pink being among the most common, and even black is a recent emerging trend. These trees can be a fun alternative to a traditional tree if you’re feeling adventurous, or maybe you want to have two trees and your second tree doesn’t need to be traditional.


Pre-lit Christmas trees are ideal for those who have less and less time and patience for untangling Christmas lights each year! The lights on these trees are integrated into the branches so you still have a traditional lit tree effect, just with a little less hassle.

Fibre Optic

Fibre optic Christmas trees feature tiny lights on the tips of the branches. These trees come with white or colour-changing lights. With these trees you cannot re-arrange the branches as you can with traditional and pre-lit Christmas trees. Fibre optic trees are great if you have no time for decorating but want to add some Christmas sparkle to your home.

Beautiful Christmas tree and fireChristmas Tree Quality - What to Look For


Generally, looking at the number of branch ‘tips’ on a tree will tell you how full a tree will look – the more tips, the fuller and more realistic the tree. However it does depend on the type of real tree the artificial tree is designed to look like; some have sparse branches and will therefore have less tips.

Hinged Branches

Higher quality artificial Christmas trees feature hinged branches, which ensure the easy assembly and disassembly of the tree. An alternative is hooked branches where each individual branch will need to be hooked to the centre pole, and this takes longer to do. The hinged branches are pre-attached and simply slot together in large sections to the centre pole, and each branch can be rearranged for your desired look.


Apart from fibre optic trees, artificial Christmas trees are usually made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Polyethylene (PE). PVC Christmas trees are made by twisting thin strips of PVC around a piece of wire, which creates different thicknesses for pine-like branches. PE Christmas trees are made by injection-moulding plastic, which make the needles three-dimensional. This PE construction is much more realistic and the needles are softer. Many trees are constructed from a mix of both PE and PVC as it creates a fuller, more authentic look. Some artificial Christmas trees have artificial pine cones among the branches too. It’s best to try see/feel the trees in store, in person. Many Topline affiliated stores will have their range on display at this time of year; find your local store here.