10 eco-friendly Christmas tree alternatives for small spaces and apartments

Posted On Wed, November 30, 2016 By

Posted On Wed, November 30, 2016 By In apartment living 101, Design, Features, Green Design, holidays, NYC Guides

Our ongoing series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. This week we’ve rounded up some alternative holiday tree ideas for those living in tight spaces.

While you could buy a Charlie Brown tree, or try ask to have a few feet knocked off that pine when you hit the register, if you’re a small space dweller who wants a more eco-friendly holiday arbol this year, there are plenty of options for you beyond the classic artificial fir (which fyi is even more environmentally unsound than chopping down an evergreen thanks to the carcinogens produced during manufacturing and disposal). From edible trees to LED pines to DIY options that smell just as good as the real thing, 6sqft has searched high and low for 10 different types of sustainable Christmas tree alternatives to jazz your apartment up with this year—and years to come.

2d string light treeImage via Craftionary

1. 2D wall tree using lights ($15) ↑
Grab some string lights and pin them to the wall in a tree formation. This easy and inexpensive alternative will take up zero space.

gallery wall christmas treeImages Loster and Swan

2. Gallery-style wall tree ↑
Graphic designer Jane Schouter of Loster and Swan developed this unique idea which uses the “useless but pretty objects” she’s collected over the years. To do this at home, simply determine your outline and then fill it up with whatever tchotchkes you please.

diy homemade christmas treeImages Turning It Home 

3. DIY Christmas tree using found branches ($0-$10) ↑
Farmers markets and bodegas selling full-size trees will often offer remnant branches for free or a small cost. Use these limbs to create a DIY holiday tree. As far as supplies go, all you need are sewing thread, a vase, pruning shears and a bit of patience. Instructions here.

rosemary christmas tree

4. An edible tree (price varies by retailer) ↑
A rosemary Christmas tree is both festive and functional—and really, what more could you ask for? If your green thumb is more gray, after the holidays you can snip off the sprigs, dry them and use them in future meals.

wabi sabi tree

5. Wabi Sabi tree ($125)
This Japanese-inspired design is based on the concept of “Wabi Sabi,” or beauty in the imperfect. As such, each two-foot tree is composed of a combination of imperfect woods from maker PossibiliTree’s stock of birch, maple, walnut, tiger oak, butternut, cherry, and lightning-struck deadfall wild cherry. Buy it here.

lumen led tree

6. Lumen LED Shadow ($68) ↑ 
A far more designer-y alternative to the string light tree, this beautiful design by Brooklyn’s Adam Frank uses a flameless candle to cast the shadow of a pine that can stretch several feet. Buy it here.

laser cut cardboard tree

7. Laser cut cardboard tree ($108)
This petite rendition is laser cut from recycled cardboard and comes in at a sizeable—but not too sizable—four feet tall. After the holidays, fold it flat, store it away, and wait to take it out again next year. A variety of colors and designs can be purchased here.

felt christmas trees

8. Felt trees ($24-$34)
At just 9 and 12 inches, these 100% wool felt trees may be lilliputian by some standards, but their modest size makes them perfect for the countertop or coffee table. Buy them in a classic leafy style or a more modern conical shape here.

moss christmas tree

9. Moss tree ($34.47)
Somewhere between rustic and whimsical sits this handmade moss tree from ProjectSplot. The hobbit-sized creation measures just over 2.5 feet and has been designed around a polystyrene base using real moss and pine cones. Purchase one here.

retreejoy wood tree

10. ReTreeJoy! wood tree ($170)
This three-foot “seedling” has been handcrafted in San Francisco using sustainably forested U.S. hardwood. The design is easy to assemble and sturdy branches make it easy to hang your favorite ornaments. Get one here.


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