When it comes to holiday décor, the Christmas tree is definitely the star of the show, so it’s no wonder you feel a little pressure when it’s time to shop for an artificial tree. You want it to look as grand, majestic, and natural as a real tree, but that can sometimes seem impossible considering how many lower-quality trees there are on the market. But if you keep some key factors in mind when you’re shopping, you can find a beautiful Christmas tree that lasts for years to come.
Here are five important things to consider when you’re on the hunt for the perfect artificial Christmas tree for your home.
The size of an artificial tree is just as important as the size of a real tree. Check out the room where you plan to display the tree and measure it carefully. The general rule for tree size is that it should be at least six inches lower than the height of the ceiling. Most standard ceilings are eight to nine feet high, so a seven-foot tree is a good place to start.
Don’t forget the shape of the tree. The most common option for artificial trees is full, with a wide, lush silhouette that’s sure to impress. If the spot for your tree is small, a slim or narrow shape may be a better fit. Measure the tree’s diameter at the widest part to make sure it will fit your space.
What would a Christmas tree be without beautiful twinkling lights? When you’re shopping for an artificial tree, you can opt for one with lights already attached, so you never have to worry about dealing with tangled strands again. These trees are available with clear, white, or multicolored lights, and some models allow you to switch between different light colors via remote control. If you opt for a tree with lights, make sure that it’s one on which all the lights don’t go out if a single bulb is damaged.
For those who like to change up the look or theme of their Christmas tree every year — or decorate the tree for other holidays — an artificial tree without lights might be the way to go. That way, you can purchase string lights in a variety of nontraditional colors and customize your tree as you see fit.
Most artificial Christmas trees have either hook-in or hinged branches. Hook-in branches are removable — you take them off when you store the tree and slip the hooks into their designated spaces on the center pole when you assemble the tree. These trees take more time to assemble and don’t come with lights attached. Hinged branches are permanently connected to the tree and simply fold up or down for assembly or storage. You’ll pay more for a tree with hinged branches, so your budget could be the deciding factor.
If you want a Christmas tree that looks as real as possible, it comes down to the needles. Some artificial trees have needles made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that attach to the branches with the wire and don’t always offer the most realistic look. Other artificial trees have needles made of injection-molded polyethylene (PE) that are attached directly to the branches, giving the tree a very natural, realistic look. The tips of PE needles can be sculpted, too, so they look as much like the real deal as possible.
The needles on artificial trees are usually modeled to resemble specific evergreen varieties, too. You can choose fir for a full, lush appearance, pine to give you a little more room for ornaments, or spruce for a classic look that also has plenty of room for decorations.
For the most natural look, you don’t want a Christmas tree that’s a single shade of green. Instead, choose an artificial tree that combines light and dark shades — and even some brown tones — to give you that realistic, fresh-off-the-tree-lot look.
But maybe realism isn’t big on your Christmas tree wish list. You can find artificial trees with needles in nontraditional colors like white or pink for a funky look. If you want a slightly snow-kissed look, opt for a tree with flocked needles that look as if they’ve been dusted with glistening snow. If you prefer a flashy, dramatic tree, some artificial trees are made with metallic tinsel needles in silver, gold, and other shades.
Finding the perfect artificial Christmas tree for your home doesn’t have to be a headache. If you focus on the tree’s key features and search for options that fit your decorating style, you’ll find the ideal centerpiece for your holiday décor.
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.