April 14, 2016

Christmas Tree 101: Full vs Slim vs Pencil Christmas Trees

Posted by Treetopia in Treetopia Guides

Christmas Tree 101

Full vs Slim vs Pencil Christmas trees: the right tree will complement your space and help create the ideal focal point for the holidays. There are a lot of important decisions to be made when purchasing a Christmas tree, like the type of foliage, color, and price, so we’re making it a little easier for you by focusing on tree shapes with Treetopia’s definitive guide on Christmas tree profiles.

Featuring: Oh Christmas Tree (Full), Treetopia Basics Orange Tree (Slim), and Shimmering Silver Pencil Tree (Pencil)

Featuring: Oh Christmas Tree (Full), Treetopia Basics Orange Tree (Slim), and Shimmering Silver Pencil Tree (Pencil)

The main difference among full, slim, and pencil Christmas trees is their profile. The profile of a tree is basically the shape or outline that you see when you’re standing directly in front of it.

A full or traditional tree is dense and has a more gradual slope. A full 7-foot tree would have a 50-inch diameter or more at its base. The figure of a slim Christmas tree is similar to that of a full tree but noticeably narrower. Generally, a 7-foot slim Christmas tree is less than 47 inches in diameter. A pencil Christmas tree, on the other hand, has a distinctly sharper profile than a full or slim tree. Its diameter is up to 60% smaller than a full and slim Christmas tree, usually 19 to 23 inches for a 7-foot tall tree.

The look and profile of you tree are affected by other factors like its height and footprint. The profile can also influence your use of lights and ornaments.


Featuring: Stiletto Black Pencil Tree (P), Toasted Champagne Gold Tinsel Tree (F), and Treetopia Basics Red Tree (S)

Featuring: Stiletto Black Pencil Tree (P), Toasted Champagne Gold Tinsel Tree (F), and Treetopia Basics Red Tree (S)

A tree’s height is measured from the bottom of the stand to the highest foliage tip. Height is important because it’s usually the most limiting factor for a living space. Most people try to get the tallest tree that will fit in their living room. When you decide on your tree’s height, be sure to leave space for a tree topper between the tree and the ceiling.

Full: Universally loved, full profile trees work best for large spaces with high ceilings where they can dominate the room without making it look cramped. You’ll be able to find them in traditional heights of 4 feet to 10 feet or higher.

Slim: Slim trees are becoming more popular for people who still want a traditional look but lack the space in their homes. From tabletop trees to 12-foot trees, you can find a variety of heights when shopping for slim profile Christmas trees.

Pencil: If your priority is height, you can get a taller pencil tree without having to worry too much about it taking too much space in the room. However, pencil trees are meant for smaller spaces, so they typically don’t go beyond 9 feet high.


Photo Courtesy of Maggie Holmes Design

Photo Courtesy of Maggie Holmes Design

Full: Because of their large footprint, full profile trees are usually placed in living areas, halls, or dining rooms of larger homes. They can also be used to add visual interest to open spaces and public places.

Photo Courtesy of WhipperBerry

Photo Courtesy of WhipperBerry

Slim: Slim Christmas trees are perfect for families that want a traditional tree but are short on space. Slim trees work best in the living room of small homes and medium-size apartments. They can also be used as a focal point for kitchens or hallways of spacious homes.

Photos Courtesy of Jaderbomb (Left) and Lia Griffith (Center)

Photos Courtesy of Jaderbomb (Left) and Lia Griffith (Center)

Pencil: Pencil Christmas trees are ideal for small apartments or condominiums. They are easy to haul and require very little space to set up. Since they have fewer lights, slim pencil and are easier to maintain, making them a great secondary tree in a less prominent location in your home. They can also be used in pairs to frame an entryway.

Light Density


Featuring: Pretty in Pink Christmas Tree (F), Treetopia Basics Yellow Tree (S), and No. 2 Pencil Tree (P)

Light density refers to the number of light bulbs per foot of the tree. The general rule is about 100 incandescent bulbs per foot discounting the tree stand. For pre-lit LED trees, fewer bulbs per foot will work.

Full: A quality, pre-lit full tree has 100 incandescent bulbs per foot, so it is not unusual to see 600 light bulbs on a 7-foot tree.

Slim: Despite the narrower profile, a quality pre-lit slim Christmas tree will likely have the same number of lights per foot as its fuller counterpart- about 600 bulbs for a 7-foot tree.

Pencil: Because of its thin profile, a pre-lit pencil Christmas tree requires half of the lights that a full tree would need, making it about twice as energy efficient. Generally, it is good to have 300 lights for a 7-foot tree.


Featuring: Oh Christmas Tree (F) by Maggie Holmes Design, Black Gold Ombre Tree by A Kailo Chic Life, and Tango Red Liptisck Pencil Tree (P) by Jaderbomb

Featuring: Oh Christmas Tree (F) by Maggie Holmes Design, Black Gold Ombre Tree by A Kailo Chic Life, and Tango Red Lipstick Pencil Tree (P) by Jaderbomb

Full: Because of the generous amount of space, full Christmas trees can be decorated heavily. You can use a full assortment of Christmas ornaments, picks, garlands, and ribbons without overwhelming the foliage.

Slim: For slim Christmas trees, creating a balanced look is a must. Have fun decorating with your favorite ornaments and accessories but leave enough space to let the foliage shine. Playing with different textures and shapes can give your slimmer centerpiece a fuller appearance.

Pencil: There isn’t a textbook method for decorating this unique Christmas tree. You can choose the minimalist route by leaving a reasonable amount of space between your decorations, or you can try a less traditional approach by using oversized ornaments and textured decorations to add body to your tree.

Full, slim, or pencil Christmas tree? When shopping for your next Christmas tree, remember to consider the purpose of your tree and the amount of space you have in your home! Check out Treetopia’s wide collection of full, slim, and pencil artificial Christmas trees here.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback.