33 Christmas Mantel Decor Ideas

interiors, exteriors

Emily J Followill

Fire has always been a fascination of the human race, and thus, the importance of hearth and home makes a lot of sense. In fact, for many, the hearth is the central gathering place during the holidays. After all, the most popular songs conjure images of cozying up to a roaring fire as snow falls outside or roasting chestnuts over it—and as we all know, the fireplace is where Santa makes his grand entrance on Christmas Eve.

With the holiday frenzy upon us and the checklist that entails, we know it can seem daunting to come up with new ways to keep your mantel fresh and exciting for the holidays. But don’t take our word for it: We asked the experts for their suggestions on how to decorate this beloved part of the house. From fruit to a floral extravaganza, read on for 33 dazzling Christmas mantel decoration ideas. Your stocking holders will be the last thing people see.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

For a Christmas mantel idea that offers endless visual intrigue, look to this setup by Monika Hibbs. The gingerbread-like houses and gilded candlesticks that are peppered throughout the greenery create an idyllic holiday scene. An abstract wreath offers the perfect finishing touch, drawing the eye upward.

Tina Yaraghi, founder of the Enchanted Home, coordinated the decor for her mantel and tree focusing on a blue and white theme with pops of red.

Bunny Williams stuck with a woodland theme for her mantel decor, using mushrooms, painted pine cones, and fruit—which, shown with her bunny artwork, calls to mind Beatrix Potter vibes!


You Can’t Go Wrong with Red

Atlanta-based designer Suzanne Kasler focused on red for her holiday ensemble showcasing bright roses, ribbons, and ornaments against her greenery. She even went the extra mile by hanging a wreath on the mirror and Christmas baubles from the room’s chandelier to make it extra special.

Just because your Christmas mantel decor is a temporary setup doesn’t mean it should be at odds with the rest of your home decor. Tamara Anka of Citrine Living filled her arrangement with blue-and-white porcelain, a mainstay throughout her space.


Magnolia Is Always a Good Idea

When decorating your mantel for Christmas, style maven Heather Chadduck Hillegas recommends keeping it simple by using something classic like magnolia for your garland.


Create a Christmas Wonderland

If you have room on your fireplace mantel, why not create a Christmas wonderland scene complete with trees and ornaments? Atlanta-based interior designer Suzanne Kasler also recommends adding a dusting of snow to make it even more magical.

Have a few extra ornaments that won’t fit on your tree? Take a cue from blogger Destiny Alfonso, who scattered bulbous accents on her mantel. This design trick creates some cohesion between the Christmas tree and the rest of her space.

Linen designer, Elizabeth Lake, chose to bring out the bright colors of the art above her mantel by coordinating candlesticks and layering her garland with a jazzy bauble strand.


Be Inspired by the Room

Event planner extraordinaire Bronson van Wyck chose to use cedar leaves and scarlet paper fans as a nod to the chinoiserie paneling found in this library room.


Think Beyond Evergreens

Design superstar Kelly Wearstler chose to tell her own personal story with this verdant extravaganza. The Spanish moss used for the wreath and mixed in with the other foliage represents her childhood spent growing up in South Carolina, and the local magnolia and coyote bush symbolize her current California lifestyle.

If you want to add a bunch of ornaments to your mantel, experiment with various textures. The hammered, glittery, and disco-ready orbs that Society Social’s Roxy Te Owens used here deftly offset the lush foliage.


Showcase Your Christmas Favorites

The Charlottesville, Virginia–based luxury resort Keswick Hall decorated their lobby mantel with references of familiar Christmas figures like Father Christmas and the Little Drummer Boy to bring cheer to guests staying during the holidays.

Don’t feel like you have to stick with the same generic Christmas decor each year. Here, Michiel Perry of Black Southern Belle used indigo, tie-dyed ribbon around her wreath to give her mantel an unexpected pop.

Calling all minimalists: As this space from John Robshaw proves, less is more. Between the stylish stockings and sweet bows, this setup strikes a happy medium between sleek and seasonal.


Create a Sensory Experience

For a Christmas mantel idea that appeals to all of the senses, take a a look at Hymns & Verses. Here, blogger Doreen Cagno juxtaposed candles, fresh greens, and strings of bells into one confined space. The result? A mantel that looks, smells, and sounds fantastic.


Silver, Gold, and the Sea

Palm Beach–based interior designer Caroline Rafferty worked with Meredith Falk of GLDN Events to create this metallic masterpiece. Falk found items Rafferty had in her home but also added Floridian elements like coral fans.


Incorporate Pops of Blue

Break away from the typical red and green color palette and pepper your mantel with shades of blue. Anna Franklin of Stone House Collective mastered the look with gingham bows and matching monogrammed stockings. The result? A space that’s preppy and eye-popping.

You don’t always have to stick with one garland strand, here tastemaker Keith Smythe Meacham of Reed Smythe adds a second to give this mantel a more fully decorated look.

If precise symmetry feels a tad overplayed, we dare you to shake things up a bit. This setup by designer Bria Hammel offers plenty of visual intrigue, thanks to the bells on one end of the mantel and an assortment of stockings on the other.

“My formula for making the perfect Christmas mantel is to combine something reflective, something natural, something sentimental, a pop of color, and a little light,” shares designer Phillip Thomas. “I believe that Christmas decor should be fun and maybe a bit over the top, with layering of metallics, colors, and natural objects. I like to mix it up with different heights of pillar and votive candles, and layer in other elements to amplify the light for a very dynamic display.”


Create a Frozen Wonderland

If you have an all-white mantel and fireplace, you can pull off this wintry vignette by adding shades of blue and white in the surrounding decor. An icy finish on the garlands ties the frozen look together.

An easy way to fill that empty space on your mantel is to take advantage of your existing decor. In this example from Ballard Designs, books with the bindings facing inward match the natural hues of the brick. If you don’t use your fireplace, you can also wrap empty boxes with holiday wrapping paper and fill in the space to create a not-so-bare look.

Designer Michael Devine took to the garden to create this mantel scene. Using acorns, pine cones, and other natural elements, he created a garland for the mirror and flanked either side with hemlock and winterberries for two symmetrical floral arrangements.


Pair Evergreens and Eucalyptus

ELLE DECOR A-List designer Charlotte Moss kept it clean and simple for this mantel. “Mantels are everything in our house at Christmas,” Moss says. “While there are no stockings hung here, the mantel is abundantly draped in princess pine, eucalyptus, a variety of evergreens, and vines, and punctuated with lotus pods.”

When decorating his holiday mantel, Keith Carroll likes to think about using objects he collects, from obelisks and horns to a fruit-layered garland. Top it off with B. Viz Design stockings.

Instead of hanging a traditional wreath over your mantel, layer your favorite pieces of artwork in a variety of frames. It’s a simple way to show off your aesthetic while enhancing your holiday decor.


Show the Spirit of Giving

When wrapping her gifts to send out, Summer Thornton likes to style her mantel with the finished presents, coordinated with matching wrapping paper, of course!


Don’t have a Mantel? Fake It!

Bronson van Wyck used antlers, taxidermy, and plaid to make this sideboard feel as festive as possible. The magnolia wreath on the mirror above added a mantel-feeling touch.


Blend Metallics with Neutrals

Rest an assortment of ornaments and small decorative objects in a mix of metallic and neutral hues directly on top of your mantel. Finish the look by adding an ornament-embellished wreath in similar tones.


Use an Unusual Pop of Color

Floral designer Lewis Miller chose to accent this arrangement with pops of yellow giving an unexpected twist to the usual red, green, or blue holiday motifs.

Chandos Dodson Epley of Chandos Interiors gave a traditional magnolia garland a modern look by keeping the holiday decorations minimal and adding only a few clear glass ornaments.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below