50 Gorgeous Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas | Midwest Living

50 Gorgeous Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas

Transform your mantel into a focal point using our ideas for easy Christmas decorating.

Chistmas carnations

Red carnation wreaths look elegant over this Christmas mantel. To make fresh wreaths, soak a florist's foam shape in water. Trim carnation stems to about 3 inches and insert into forms; you'll need about 50 carnations for a 12-inch diameter wreath. You can also craft pretty—and long-lasting—wreaths with artificial flowers.

Accent with containers of shiny red and green ornaments along your mantel.

Nature's mantel

To jazz up a boxwood wreath, we tucked in hypericum berries then wired on a magnolia branch, feathers, pinecones and an antique bugle. Finally, we wrapped burlap ribbon around the wreath. A blanket tops the mantel, and we made a small tree by covering a floral foam cone in boxwood clippings.

Creative stockings

A simple mantel arrangement complements whimsical Christmas stockings. Draw some colors from your stockings into the mantel for a cohesive look. Here, colorful ornaments, white candles and evergreen garland complete the display.

Natural simplicity

Celebrate the season's simple joys by creating a free-flowing look with just three natural materials: green apples, pinecones and long-needle evergreen branches.

Winter wonderland

A touch of winter white stands out against the sparkly wall. Display an assortment of white items, such as frames, candlesticks, vases, ornaments and holiday figurines.

Extra ornaments

Turn surplus ornaments into an easy—and dazzling—holiday display. Decorate a mantel by coordinating colors of ornaments in urns, vases, goblets and bowls of different sizes. Finish with bright green pine branches for a woodsy touch.

Red-and-green cheer

Fabric doilies shaped into trees and spray-painted red stand next to a lime green homemade wreath on this cheery holiday mantel. The petals and flowers of the wreath are cut-up newspapers spray-painted green.

Flower power

Wow party guests with a mantel of green flower "presents" and fresh red flowers. Use pearl-top straight pins to attach green-tinted mini mums to foam squares, then tie on red velvet ribbon bows. Accent the scene with glass vases filled with red tulips, amaryllis heads and berry branches.

Meaningful mantel

Make a statement over a fireplace with a homemade felt "scarf." We spelled out peace and paired that with a large-scale dove. Emphasize the message with simple mantel decor: wood candlesticks, greens, a few red ornaments, a pinecone spray-painted white and a wreath made from faux antlers.

How to make 9 holiday felt projects

Start with what you have

The easiest mantel decorations grow out of what's already there (or what you have around the house). Here, a mirror, heirloom clock, tarnished silver pieces and stacked books get dressed up for the holidays with simple greens and pinecones.

Book lovers mantel

Reuse old or damaged books to create this pretty Christmas mantel project. Wrap an old box in book pages and tie on a simple bow. Add sparkle with glittery ornaments.

Christmas window

Repurpose an old window as a Christmas mantel masterpiece. Hang trinkets and ornaments in each pane of the window frame. We love the green-and-white color scheme for this display. Line several handkerchiefs along the mantel to create a chic DIY mantel scarf.

Lantern collection

This Minnesota homeowner fills vintage lanterns with pinecones, candles, greens and a drawing of Santa. 

Tiny touches

Just a few touches make a special scene. Here, we planted baby Norfolk Island pines in vintage transferware bowls and covered the soil with acorns and nuts. Keep the look natural using red pears and green leaves to finish the arrangement.

60-Second Video: Mantel inspirations

Shiny ornaments and decorative snowflakes brighten the fireplace mantel for Santa’s arrival. Don’t forget to hang the stockings!

Clearly easy

Glassware doubles as holiday decor when filled with ornaments. Collect clear glass objects such as vases, glasses, bowls and candlesticks. "Plant" a wine glass in a clay pot. Vary heights (turn some upside down to act as bases for others). Fill with ornaments, pinecones, branches, greens, ribbons and candles, all in coordinated colors.

Collection connections

Group collections on a mantel for a unified look. Pewter vessels hold festive fresh flower arrangements in this traditional setting. Dark evergreen branches ground the muted silver pieces.

Simply coordinated

The classic Christmas plant set the tone for this scene. Stemware pieces of varying heights display poinsettia blooms, and Christmas cards in coordinating motifs hang from a ribbon draped over the mirror. One or two simple ornaments complete this easy vignette. (Substitute silk poinsettia blooms if you want a long-lasting display.)

Take it to the max

Think about what you can do above and below a mantel. Here, tall glass containers show off candles tucked in mounds of cranberries or small ornaments. Greens and bell-trimmed stockings finish the lower part of the arrangement, but it's the glittering multipoint stars hung on fishing line above that make this mantel sparkle.

Make it shine

A variety of mercury glass and silver ornaments, votive holders and other accents create a mirrorlike display, which is especially pretty at night when the shimmer of candles bounces off the reflective surfaces. A wreath of fern fronds adds sophistication.

Choose a winter theme

Glistening snow inspired this mantel, right down to the lacy evergreens frosted with spray-on snow. A mini snowball garland and snowflake ornaments nestle in the branches, and glitter letters and stars dress the mirror and mini trees (created with foam tree forms and evergreen branches). Ice-skates stand in for stockings.

Repeating appeal

Repeating objects across a mantel is pleasing to the eye—and easy to do. On this mantel, silver mint julep cups hold silk (or real, if preferred) red carnations. A wreath and felt-decorated stockings complete the decor.

Multicolored style

Step outside the traditional red-and-green holiday color scheme. This white mantel sparkles with a simple arrangement of greens, packages tied with bright bows, and an assortment of glass ornaments in blue, pink, gold, red and green. A wreath hung on the dog statue adds a whimsical touch.

Woodsy vibe

A forest inspired this mantel. Two young evergreens with root-balls wrapped in burlap and twine (plant the trees after the holidays!) anchor the asymmetrical grouping. Deer statues stand behind a fence built of cinnamon sticks. Upside-down clay pots act as stands for votive holders. Pinecones strung on fishing line create the garland; live greens and dried twigs dress up a store-bought twig wreath.

Keep it low

If art above your fireplace is a focal point, keep a your mantel arrangement low. Here, a simple tray piled with citrus fruits and accented with pine branches sitting on a folded table runner (or place mat), pillar candles and a shiny trophy vase filled with seeded eucalyptus fills the bill.

Photo vases

Create a personalized display by filling glass cylinder vases with one photograph (placed on the inside) and ornaments. Add other simple touches such as candles, flowers and candy canes in clear glass holders. For an easy garland, string delicate ornaments along a ribbon.

Get playful

Bright colors on packages, ornaments, garlands and more create a partylike atmosphere. Hang gift box lids covered with wrapping paper, bows and colorful tags. Stack coordinating packages on the mantel. Polka-dot ornaments mix with garlands made of beads and translucent disks found at party stores. "Ho-Ho-Ho" stockings add to the fun.

Look to the past

Create a mantel of family holiday memories with old snapshots of events like kids' visits to Santa, family gathered beneath the tree or baby's first Christmas. If needed, enlarge your pictures at a copy center. Place them in simple frames, and add a few pieces of fresh greenery for color.

Striking wreath display

Hang your wreath on an unusual item, such as this old garden gate, for an eye-catching display. Other holders that can easily lean on a mantel: vintage shutters, fencing sections, trellises, window frames or a wooden sled. Frame the arrangement with candles, topiaries or vases.

Woodsy mantel

An unfinished fireplace surround sets the tone for this woodsy mantel with its shades of green, brown and cream.

Fresh approach

Bunches of fresh eucalyptus leaves create a garland with as much impact as evergreen branches—and a more modern vibe. A trendy color combo: touches of pale blue and brown accented with hues of orange in the vase and pedestal bowl.

Spotlight a hobby

A passion for sailing takes center stage on this mantel at a vacation home. Colors from the sailboat models repeat in long-needle greens, pinecones and a feather tree. Touches of red reinforce the seasonal message.

Play with pinecones

Pinecones offer easy, versatile holiday decorating. Gather them from your yard or buy bags of them at a crafts store. For this mantel, we "planted" larger cones in clay pots painted a soft green. Tiny pinecones cover the soil of a planted mini evergreen. We scattered more pinecones across the mantel to continue the naturalistic theme.

Joyful photos

A homemade photo collage is the star of this mantel. To make this project, find a cardboard crafts star or other holiday shape, such as a wreath or tree. Cut photos to fit the angles of the base shape. Glue photos to base, and mix in patterned paper for variety. Surround the collage with other Christmas items, such as ornaments, figurines or pine tree branches.

Red-and-white wonderland

A rosy wreath makes the perfect backdrop to this elegant winter vignette. Create a faux forest by wrapping festive paper and cloth over foam cones; hot-glue to secure. Use varying sizes of felt balls for "snow." 

Snowy wreath

Turn a store-bought pinecone wreath into a showstopping mantel display. Spray-paint the wreath gray, then add spray snow and silver glitter. Glue on cardinals and shiny red ornaments for accent color. Keep the rest of the mantel simple with faux snow and a gift.


Country casual

A row of white ironstone pitchers, gravy boats and other vintage dishware makes an easy down-home arrangement. Accent it with simple greens and a garland made from dried orange slices, pinecones and candies.

Candles and glass

Coordinated colors of vases, glasses and candleholders create a simple but elegant mantel display. Use a red ribbon for a garland, and complete the color palette with sprigs of greenery.

Tree-topper decor

Silver tree toppers fill in for the usual candlesticks on this blue and silver mantel. Look for glass toppers in a variety of shapes and sizes (or inexpensive plastic versions that won't break!). Blue and silver mini balls, fresh branches and pinecones harmonize with the painting.

All-out winter wonderland

This mantel reflects the room's whimsical woodland theme and colors. A cardboard buck is flanked by poinsettia wreaths made from white and green felt, wooden vessels, pinecones and squirrel figurines. A glistening screen — made from white-painted plywood covered with hot-glued plastic ball ornaments — covers the non-working firebox. 

Green-and-blue mantel

Lime-green lemon cypress trees stand in for a traditional swag or layers of greenery on the mantel. Wrap containers in inexpensive blue burlap, securing with pale green bows.

Candy jar mantel

Fill clear glass containers with candy that coordinates with your color scheme for an easy mantel or tabletop decoration.

Vintage shine

Vintage mercury glass trees and balls shine on this mantel.

Lovely leaves

Fabric leaves glued to a velvet ribbon make a simple garland for a mantel — or a buffet table. 

Festive amaryllis

Red and red-tip amaryllis blooms pop out of a rustic collection of birch-bark vases. 

Fragrant choices

Spruce up your mantel with fragrant greenery such as eucaluptus and pine, arranged here in vintage milk glass vases. 

Mosaic magic

Multiply the effect of holiday lights by incorporating mosaic glass-pieced decorations on your mantel. Here, vases, candleholders and mirror-tiled ornaments add color and holiday sparkle.

Ethereal elegance

Nestled in fluffy ostrich feather boas, glass candlesticks with creamy white candles seem to float on clouds. A garland of gold and silver beads and layered snowflake ornaments adds an elegant touch.

Girly-girl gorgeous

Perfect for a cottage home, this mantel incorporates pretty vintage dishware, tinsel garland, bottlebrush trees and even a feather wreath! It is all about the "pink." Even a stacked roll of holiday ribbons under glass contributes to the fancifulness.

Vacation-theme mantel

A dreamy beach theme gives a warm, peaceful look. Glass candleholders filled with shells and bits of beach glass, weathered wood wall decor and starfish mix with traditional greens, pinecones and simple cotton stockings. Glitter letters strung on white ribbon can spell out any message desired.

Candy creations

Nested in a pile of faux snow, glass vases overflow with red-and-white candies and candy-theme ornaments. We placed red foam letters (found at crafts stores) inside each vase to spell out joy. Coordinated red-and-white striped ornaments and candles add to the cheerful setting. A white ostrich feather boa adds a fun touch behind a premade red ornament wreath.

Casual sophistication

Paperwhites in tarnished silver urns add height to this mantel display, while short, flat pieces of greenery bring in more pops of color. Burlap stockings, like the overall mantel décor, have a casual yet sophisticated feel.

Winter palette

White vases, milk glass and hobnail glass create an interesting mix of containers for displaying sprigs of evergreen, shiny ornaments and silver-painted pinecones on this holiday mantel. Accent with votive candles and additional ornaments and  pinecones.

Say it!

Spell a holiday greeting with letters made from wood or cut from foam core (supplies available at crafts stores). Apply holiday-theme wrapping paper to the fronts with spray glue or just paint the letters different colors. Accent the mantel display with glass ornaments or greens.

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