How to make a Christmas tree look taller – 3 tricks for a big statement

These techniques will create the illusion of height for a more grand and magical display

A large christmas tree in a cozily lit living room with a roaring fireplace
(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Nothing shouts Christmas more than a big Christmas tree standing in pride of place in your living room – but what if your tree is a little on the short side?

Luckily, no matter if you have an old faux tree that is too sentimental to replace or ordered a real tree online and are a little surprised by its real size, some easy and effective techniques can make a Christmas tree look taller that won’t look like a last-minute hodgepodge.

These are the three ways professionals make a Christmas tree look taller, and how to make it look intentional.

How to make a Christmas tree look taller

Of course, it is far easier to choose a Christmas tree that perfectly fits your home the first time, but it is not the end of the world if it comes up a little short.  

1. Add a base or elevated stand

classic christmas tree decor in cozy living room with fire

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, the easiest way to enhance your Christmas decor and make a tree look taller is to actually elevate it, begins Ladina Schöpf, founder and architect. There are two ways to do this – either place your existing tree base on a platform or, as Ladina recommends, invest in a quality tree stand, such as this from Amazon, that has an adjustable height feature. ‘This will allow you to raise the tree to your desired height and help achieve the desired visual effect,’ she explains. 

Whichever route you choose, Amy Bell, interior designer and founder of Red Chair Home Interiors recommends keeping the height of the platform under about nine inches, ‘making sure that the platform is wide enough to hold the tree stand with generous room to spare on all sides (for example: 20 x 20).’

‘An added advantage of using a platform is that the gifts under the tree will be more visible and easier to access,’ she adds.

Ladina Schöpf
Ladina Schöpf

Ladina is the founder of design studio LS Projects; specializing in architectural design and bridging the gap between aesthetics and practicality. 

2. Use a tree collar or skirt

Christmas tree skirt ideas in white living room

(Image credit: The White Company)

Whether or not you are adding a tree base or platform, adding a tree collar or tree skirt can also make your tree look a little loftier by creating a visual barrier between the bottom layer of the tree and the ground, shares Carolyn Morrow, Christmas specialist and founder of Christmaslyn:  ‘As a Christmas enthusiast, I find that incorporating a decorative tree collar or arranging presents with varying heights at the base further elevates the overall look.

‘For an extra touch, place a mirror beneath the tree to extend its visual height and add a touch of reflective charm,’ she adds. 

A tree collar also has the added benefit of making your Christmas tree look more expensive.

Woven Christmas Tree Collar | View at Amazon

Woven Christmas Tree Collar | View at Amazon
This woven tree collar is perfect for concealing any tree base to give your tree the allusion of extra  height. 

3. Trick the eye with decor

classic christmas tree in modern living room with white lights

(Image credit: Future, Chris Everard)

A common trick in interior design to make anything look taller is to draw the eye upwards with vertical patterns and decor. If you want to make your tree look taller, a common Christmas tree decorating mistake is to decorate normally, weaving your lights and garlands back and forth across your tree. Instead, as Nikki Lo, lifestyle blogger at the eponymous blog suggests, you should drape them upwards: 

‘Use vertical decorations such as ribbons, garlands, and lights. Vertical lines help to elongate the appearance of the tree,’ she explains. ‘You can also add a tall and decorative Christmas tree topper to draw the eyes upward, creating the illusion of additional height.’ 


What is a good rule of thumb for Christmas tree height?

When picking a Christmas tree to fit your space, it is a good idea to pick an option that sits at least six inches away from your ceiling, preferably up to one foot away from the ceiling to give you enough space for a tree topper without the tree looking squashed or cramped.  

Is it okay to have a small Christmas tree?

It is perfectly fine to have a small Christmas tree, especially if you have a small home or apartment. When going small, make it a statement with a tabletop tree and decorate it just as you would a regular-sized tree.  

When making a tree look taller, it is sometimes also important to make a Christmas tree look fuller with tricks such as weaving garlands around it to add foliage to help balance out the proportions – a sure-fire way to achieve a luxe look for a little less.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.