How to Measure Artificial Trees

We've all seen a Christmas tree that is too small or too large for the space. You can always trim a real tree, but what about artificial trees?

Before buying an artificial Christmas tree for a small space, measure the available space. This lets you know whether the tree will fit in the the space you have planned for it in the living room or elsewhere, or whether you need to keep shopping this holiday season.

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How to measure for a Christmas tree

Artificial and real Christmas trees are measured in much the same way. You will need a stepladder, measuring tape and something to record the measurements on. Start by measuring the distance from the floor to the ceiling, and subtract 6 in. from that. Measure your tree topper and Christmas tree stand, and subtract those, as well. If your ceiling height is 10 feet, the topper is 5 in. high and the stand is 5 in. off the ground, the equation is 10 feet minus 1 1/2 feet (including the 6 in., topper and stand). Thus, the tree should not be taller than 8 1/2 feet, including some additional height if you plan for a large tree top decoration.

Now, determine the perfect Christmas tree diameter. Measure the floor space that is available for the tree and subtract 1 foot for extra clearance. Then, measure the length of the same space and subtract 1 foot from that, as well. Multiply your width by the length to get the total square footage available for a tree; this is the maximum diameter. For example, if the space measures 10 by 12 feet, multiply 9 feet by 11 feet for the maximum Christmas tree size your area can accommodate.

Tip

Also measure the entryways you plan to use if your Christmas tree cannot be taken apart to fit through doorways.

Shopping for a tree

It is wise to measure artificial or real Christmas trees before buying them, so take a measuring tape when shopping. It is not hard to measure the Christmas tree height with a measuring tape, but getting the diameter is a bit harder. The base is the widest part, so you will have to get down on the level of the tree's base to determine the base diameter. If the lifelike artificial Christmas tree is still in a box, read the dimensions on the box.

Next, measure the width of the tree. On one side, manipulate the branch tips to flatten the branches in the widest area. Ask a friend to hold the tape measure at one side of the tree while you hold the other end, then take a measurement.

When tree shopping, remember to take with you the measurements for your available space. While it may be possible to exchange an artificial Christmas tree for the right size, you probably won't have that option if you purchase a real one. No one likes seeing the top of a Christmas tree scraping the ceiling or worse, bending over.

Tip

Look for artificial trees that are already on display, rather than in boxes, to get a good idea of the tree shape and size.

Artificial vs. real Christmas trees

There are some key differences with measuring for and choosing an artificial tree compared to a real tree. Some artificial trees come with their own stands, so check the label to see if it includes measurements for the stand. Artificial tree shapes may be different than the classic shape of a balsam fir, for instance. Choose a Christmas tree look that suits your space and your style.