Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Christmas tree alternatives for when space is a challenge!

Well after the last week we can safely say that Winter has made its presence truly felt in the last week.

Having been shut in more than usual I have been thinking about much re-organisation goes into many UK homes to accommodate the traditional Christmas tree (often requiring a revised room layout during December to accommodate this extra “piece of furniture”). In fact, one of the first questions we are often asked by clients after we have completed a sitting room is where should we place the Christmas tree?

In small homes where space is of a premium the area taken up by these trees can be a significant issue. The main problem with the traditional shape is that lower branches take up a considerable amount of space.

Unfortunately, a small traditional pine often looks like you are using the top that has been cut off a reasonably sized tree and can make a disappointing central piece. So if you want to add impact and a bit of seasonal cheer why not avoid a traditional tree and opt for something more thought provoking.

It is vital to keep a Christmas focal point, so even if your tree alternative is just a few centimetres tall the way you present it will alter the effect. Begin by choosing a location that gives the decoration prominence such as a shelf, mantle-piece or side table and place it centrally. Then clear away any other nearby items to ensure that the space your centre piece occupies is clear of other visual disturbance. This will ensure that your choice dominates the area; when space is a premium less is definitely more!

I have fallen in love with the Bright Button Tabletop Mini Tree which stands at 29cm. It is decorated entirely in tiny red, green and white buttons and looks like something Santa’s elves might have created (£21.99 – The Contemporary Home; www.tch.net or 02392 469400).  This will also make a great centre piece on your Christmas dining table. 

Alternatively, the White Metal Christmas Tree Decoration from Berry Red features tea-lights and bauble decorations in a modern design which retains a traditional feel. I am always a little nervous around lighted candles - particularly when there might be a lot of alcohol being consumed, but as long as you keep a close eye on things this should be a treat (£60 – www.berryred.co.uk; 01432 274805).

If you are feeling particularly creative and have limited floor area, but an area of wall space then a removable wall sticker can make a wonderful focal point. The look is definitely striking and works particularly well in a modern environment. Stickers or decals are also a fun option in a children’s bedroom if you want to make their space feel more festive.

The Christmas Tree Wall Sticker from Spin Collective, available in 16 vibrant colours, has a wonderful contemporary cartoon feel to it and is 100cm high (£20 - www.spincollective.co.uk; 01242 255244).

If you like this idea and fancy making the tree a permanent fixture then Love Mae have launched the Decorative Christmas Tree vn a Re-usable Wall Decal – a bit of a mouthful, but a wonderful product. The tree can be left with leaves all year round and then Christmas decorations can be added for the Festive time of the year. The decorations can be removed, cleaned and re-applied again – perfect for creating your own look and for re-use (£50; www.garrendennylane.com – 00 353 86 1051007).

For a modern full size tree alternative that will not compromise your space consider a shape that is small at the base and large on top. Many shops have cottoned on to this and are creating slim line traditional trees.  However, my favourite solution this year ditches the traditional form as Asda presents its 150cm Cherry Blossom Christmas Tree - this really is understated elegance personified. Its blue lights add cool chic with a small trunk opening out to branches at the top. At £150 it is more of a long term investment, but is certainly one I will be looking to make (ww.asda.co.uk).

Jamie Hempsall is winner of Best Interior Design – North East 2010 in the UK Property Awards in association with Bloomberg Television. Contact him on 0800 0321 180 or via www.jamiehempsall.com

Parts of this article were first published in the Yorkshire Post on Weds 8th December 2010

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