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. See how to decorate your mantel with ornaments, evergreens, pine cones, holiday figures, stockings and more.

Color pops

Accent mostly-white decorating with pops of bright red and green. Run white tinsel along your mantel and put red and green ornaments on top. Hang a red and a green stocking from the mantel to complete the look.

Country chic

Create a rustic Christmas feel by making plaid stockings the centerpiece of your mantel. Accent them with pinecones, carved wooden statues and simple candles. 

Christmas countdown

Turn your mantel into countdown to Christmas by hanging an advent calendar on the front and adding a pretty paper wreath above.

Paper Source wreath kit Chicago-based Paper Source makes holiday crafting easy with a variety of wreath kits. Punch out, fold, and adhere petals and leaves to the included wreath form. Great for beginner crafters! (888) 727-3711; paper-source.com

Do-it-yourself Advent calendar Give family and holiday guests a festive fireplace surprise. Pop pieces of candy, small toys or clues (to find larger gifts hidden in the house) in 24 tiny envelopes or muslin bags. Rubber-stamp numbers on circular labels to seal envelope flaps, or write numbers on bags with a marker. Hang envelopes or bags along the mantel with mini clothespins. Shop your local crafts store for similar supplies or try Paper Source


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.

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.

Glittering statement

The combination of old and new ornaments layers on the charm in this wreath, made from glass ball ornaments hot-glued to a foam wreath form. For a sparkling mantel to match the wreath, coat foam cones with spray-on glue then tinsel glitter. When dry, seal with an acrylic clear-coat spray.

Ornaments and pine

For this fresh look, cover your mantel in small pine branches and tuck in pine cones and red and silver ornaments. Dangle more ornaments from the mantel (secure ornaments with tape or Command hooks). These homeowners created ornaments each year from the bottom inch of their Christmas tree. 

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.

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.

Button up

For this welcoming look, you'll need purchased wooden letters, pale-color buttons, white ribbon, a wreath and pine branches. 

Paint the letters white if they aren't already. Glue buttons to the bottom of the letters, and tie a white ribbon in a bow at the top of the "o." Dust a wreath with fake snow and hang the wreath over your mantel. Stand up the letters agaist the wreath and tuck pine branches behind the letters.

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.

La la la

Cover your mantel with fresh evergreen branches and hang two types of ornaments on sheer white ribbon: clear plastic ornaments that you fill with strips of metallic gold foil and large circular chalkboard ornaments. If you can't find any chalkboard ornaments, you can always make your own by applying green chalkboard paint to wood or cardboard. Remove ornaments before using the fireplace and rehang them when you're finished.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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. 

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.

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.

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