When I first moved into an apartment with a fireplace, I was so excited to decorate it for Christmas. The living room is such a central part of the home, especially during the holidays, since this is most likely where your tree is, where you’ll open presents with loved ones, and where you’ll cozy up for your yearly viewing of your favorite holiday movie. So why not dress up your mantel accordingly? According to Etsy, mantelscaping is all the rage this year, and if you’re not sure where to start with your own, I’ve rounded up some beautiful holiday mantel decor ideas to get the inspiration flowing. Even if you don’t have a mantel to decorate, you can easily re-create these tips on any sort of open shelving or flat surface. So crank up the holiday music, make yourself a peppermint latte, and get ready to give your mantel the holiday spirit it deserves.
1. Keep it simple with garland and candles
Garland and candles are a fool-proof way to infuse holiday spirit into your home. Drape garland across your mantel’s ledge, scatter in a few taper candles, and you’ve got a simple, cozy set-up that can see you through the holiday season and beyond. Especially if you use faux garland, you could totally get away with this kind of winter decor through January.
To make your garland look as full and lush as this one from interior stylist Erin Francois, be sure to layer a few garlands on top of each other, and don’t be afraid to add embellishments like a dried orange garland or pine cones throughout. Also, keep the actual fire in the fireplace and opt for flameless LED candles instead. You’ll still get the same ambient vibe, and you won’t have to worry about wax dripping onto your garland.
2. Give your mantel a focal point
What you place in the center of your mantel is important, as that will form the focal point of the whole fireplace area. A large piece of art or a mirror can work year-round, but consider switching it up for the holidays for an extra festive touch. Hang a wreath above the mantel, or swap out your mirror for something that will pop, like this lit-up star at the center of designer Emily Henderson’s mantel. This centerpiece pairs well with other classic mantel decor pieces, such as stockings, garlands, and candles.
3. Tie bows around your stockings
The mantel is, of course, prime real estate for your Christmas stockings. For a simple and beautiful way to zhuzh them up, tie ribbon around the top of each stocking. Not only is this mantel decor idea cost-effective, but it can add a touch of sweetness and femininity to your mantelscape. Here, designer Sandra Morgan Downie opted for light pink ribbon, which pairs beautifully with her chunky knit stockings, string of wooden beads, and fresh garland, but feel free to use whatever color ribbon you like or switch it up from year to year.
4. Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color
While garland and candles will give you a classic and chic vibe, including pops of color will add a bit of personality and fun. Instead of sticking to traditional greens or neutrals, bring in some unexpected color through funky candle holders or patterned stockings. Another way to add a bit of whimsy is with a fun garland, like the celestial-shape one shown here. Tuck the garland among your greenery for an added layer, or hang it above the mantel.
5. Display your menorah
As the focal point of your living room, the mantel is a wonderful place to display your menorah and decorations for Hanukkah. Here, lifestyle blogger Rebekah Lowin Shomorony incorporated various shades of blue to complement her gorgeous white marble menorah. The blue glass candle holders and stack of blue books are simple accessories that add to the festive feel. It’s a perfect example of using what you have to create a layered, personalized display that feels like you.
6. Add a Christmas village
There’s nothing more adorable than a row of tiny lit-up homes, and the mantel is the perfect spot for a Christmas village. Add bottlebrush trees, woodland animal figurines, and other miniature accessories to complete the look. This mantel combines deep green stockings, a red berry wreath, and black village homes for a display that feels both traditional and a little modern. It’s the perfect look to re-create if you love a classic Christmas aesthetic.
7. Decorate beyond the mantel ledge
While it makes sense to focus solely on the mantel ledge, don’t forget that the hearth counts as well. If one main Christmas tree isn’t enough (go big or go home, am I right?), place smaller, lit-up trees around your fireplace to complete the look. Faux sheepskin rugs are also especially cozy right in front of the fire, as well as a basket for extra blankets. Just be sure you keep your decor far enough away so you don’t create a fire hazard!