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A festive Christmas mantel with stockings.

How to Create a Festive Christmas Mantel

Ready to decorate your mantel for Christmas? Transform your mantelpiece for the holiday season with mantelscaping! From deciding on a theme to adding finishing touches, here are 12 ideas for creating a festive DIY Christmas mantel.

Decide on a Theme or Trend

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The first step to decorating your mantel for Christmas is to choose your theme. If you’d like a cohesive look throughout your home, mirror your interior design style in your mantle decor! Use tin trees or rustic bells for farmhouse Christmas decor, or pull out your vintage Santa figurines and antique ornaments for a retro Christmas vibe. Candycore is a popular, playful trend that features holiday decor in iridescent materials, fun patterns, and bright colors like pink, white, or red. Or opt for a cozy design that includes soft textures like furs and fabric figurines. If you have another fireplace in a guest room, choose a similar or coordinating theme or try mixing up the layout.

Create a Focal Point

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Fireplaces are natural focal points in a room, so it’s a good idea to give your mantel something that can catch the eye of anyone in the room. Hang a wreath on a mirror or include festive holiday signage to get you in the spirit of the holiday season. Setting up a simple lighted wreath above the mantel is another way to open up a closed space and add another vantage point in the room. Or place seasonal statues on your mantel to create a small scene.

Choose Your Garland

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Placing real or faux garland on your holiday mantel is a great way to decorate your fireplace. It can be set up in an asymmetrical fashion or could be a supersized garland that spills down the top and both sides of the mantel. Try incorporating lights, beads, stems, and bells into it for a festive flare. Add strings of dried or candied fruit slices like apples, lemons, or oranges in your garland for a trendy Christmas garland idea. Or drape garland down the sides of the mantel for a more relaxed look.

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Mix In Colors or Metallics

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When setting up your mantel for the holiday season, you don’t have to go with the traditional red and green Christmas colors. Mixing colors and metallics is a great way to add character to your mantelpiece. Keep your the room’s holiday design cohesive and decorate your mantel with corresponding colors in your Christmas tree. Have a monochromatic holiday mantel? Decorate it with black-and-white seasonal decor, or opt for richer tones like burgundy, olive green, or brown and use traditional materials like dark wood or plaid textiles. Metallic accessories can add a colorful, sophisticated accent to your space, and easily grab attention of anyone in the room. It’s a good idea to use metallic decor as a focal point or accents on your mantel, otherwise it could detract from the actual mantel focal point.

Add Candlesticks or Lights

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To brighten up your space, place candlesticks on your Christmas mantel or weave fairy, string, or colorful lights into your holiday garland. Add a few votive candles or lanterns to get more warm light near your fireplace. Don’t want an open flame? Use varying sizes of LED pillar candles to achieve that glowing look without dealing with actual fire.

Feature Framed Artwork

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A Christmas mantel focal point idea is to hang a holiday-themed framed artwork or a festive painting! This can include festive typography or cheerful holiday signage. Place the artwork at the center of the mantel to draw focus—or near the sides to add depth when layering pieces together. Select seasonal art prints that match your holiday color palette or incorporate holiday-themed drawings as a DIY project.

String Some Stockings

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Colorful or plain stockings on the mantel can be a fun reminder of your family members during the Christmas season. You can purchase them from a decor store or make them yourself with each person’s initials or name on theme. Popular fabrics for stockings include velvet or knit fabrics that match with the rest of your holiday decor.

Brighten Up with Holiday-Themed Home Decor

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When decorating your mantel, choose holiday-themed home decor items to match your motif. Place items like gingerbread houses, ornaments, nutcrackers, pine cones, reindeer, a miniature Christmas village, or a nativity scene in varying heights. Or mantlescape your fireplace with glass cloches, which are popular to display with DIY holiday decorations like mini Christmas trees, small wrapped presents, or colorful ornaments.

Incorporate Mini Trees

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Evergreens are a classic winter holiday symbol. Put a miniature holiday tree next to the fireplace hearth or on the mantel. Add character to your mantel and add colorful bottle brush trees in different heights. Glass, metallic, wooden, painted, or DIY trees are other options to go with if you’re wanting to keep the color scheme more cohesive.

Include Sentimental Pieces or Family Heirlooms

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The holidays are about spending time with those who matter most—why not personalize your Christmas decor to your family? Create a more intimate space for the holidays by displaying photos, personalized stockings, or special antique holiday decorations on your mantel. Bring in even more sentimental value with an Advent calendar or by stringing Christmas cards across the mantel. These types of items on your mantelpiece will serve as a great reminder of the memories you’ve shared with your family throughout the years.

Accessorize with Ribbon or Bows

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A good way to spruce up plain holiday decorations is to accessorize your mantel with ribbon or bows. Tie ribbon to the ends of the garland or place bows on wreaths for a pop of color above your fireplace. The ribbon or bows can be the same color or in varying colors and patterns to add charm to an ordinary space.

Detail with Festive Flowers & Greenery

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Adding festive flowers and greenery to your mantelpiece can elevate your space. Poinsettias are a classic holiday plant to place near the mantel and will add colorful hues of white, pink, or red to your fireplace. Drape your garland with princess pine, eucalyptus, or a variety of evergreens or vines to for a festive accent. Use faux flowers or stems in your garland or on a wreath so your greenery lasts more than one season. Keep in mind that some holiday plants like poinsettias are toxic to pets, so if your furry friends have access to your mantel, be sure to use pet-friendly plants when decorating!


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