18 Christmas fireplace ideas – make your mantlepiece the star of the show

Give your home the wow factor by decorating your fireplace for the festivities

Christmas fireplace ideas
Photography/Paul Raeside
(Image credit: Future)

These Christmas fireplace ideas are just what every home needs to draw friends and family together during the holiday season. 

Over the festive period, this becomes a place people congregate to swap stories, play board games, or simply sit and enjoy the warmth. A spot with such emotions attached to it should be celebrated and dressed in a way that reflects this.

Be inspired by our round up of the best ways to decorate your fireplace this Christmas, from chic and minimal to wholesome and relaxed.

1. Add a floral arrangement

Christmas fireplace ideas Polly Wreford

Photography/Polly Wreford

(Image credit: Future)

Christmas just isn't Christmas without the velvety red poinsettia.

Instead of leaving it in a pot on the hall table this year, give it pride of place on your mantlepiece. Split you plant up into separate stems and arrange in a mixture of glass votives - placing a single stem in the smaller one, but building up the larger vessels with a few of instead. Try to not play too much with height difference, as the natural variations of the bracts themselves, plus the mixture vases will be enough to create interest without overwhelming.

If you don't already have a mirror above the fireplace, consider placing one here for the holidays to give the impression of multiple rows of the posies.

2. Mix fruit and foliage – and candlelight

Living room mantelpiece decorated with Christmas foliage

Photography/Chris Terry

(Image credit: Chris Terry)

This gorgeous idea from Clodagh McKenna is wonderfully easy to recreate. She has simply taken foliage from the garden and dotted bright flowers and fruits in traditional Christmas colors amongst it. And, of course, candlelight on adds to the atmosphere.

See beautiful Christmas table ideas from Clodagh – and more of the world's greatest designers – in our dedicated feature.

3. Keep it authentic

Christmas fireplace ideas Polly Wreford

Photography/Polly Wreford

(Image credit: Future)

Add some of your personality to the space above your fireplace.

Choose a hobby you're passionate about and display it proudly.  For example, if you're especially into craft, fill an eclectic selection of vessels - from Mason jars to milk jugs - with related icons such as paintbrushes and thread. 

Whatever the theme, enhance the festivities with fairy lights and seasonal nuggets of nature. Think pine cones, ferns and seed heads.

4. Aim for elegance

Christmas fireplace ideas Graham Atkins Hughes

Photography/Graham Atkins Hughes

(Image credit: Future)

To add that extra-special festive touch, create a candlelit foliage mantlepiece arrangement. 

For pure elegance in the natural element of this display, stick to green colorways, such as classic holly and eucalyptus; play around with shapes of seed heads and leaves, but the shades should only vary from sage to emerald green. To add interest, weave in a clean, white  option, such as boughs of glossy snowberries.

Enhance this glamorous look by using pure white tapered candles, sitting on crystal and silver candlesticks. Try creating movement with the candles by arranging these candlestick in size order.

5. Have a ball

Christmas fireplace ideas Jan Baldwin

Photography/Jan Baldwin

(Image credit: Future)

If you don't have a working fireplace in your home - or for whatever reason you don't choose to light yours - but you have the architectural detail remaining, there's still lots of fun you can have when making this a festive focal point.

Fill this space with oversized spheres, a mixture of wire, metal and the Christmas-perennial paper waffle. Mix and match sizes, but stay within a limited color palette to keep things stylish. 

6. Keep it simple

Christmas fireplace ideas Mark Bolton

Photography/Mark Bolton

(Image credit: Future)

Sometimes you want your fireplace to speak for itself. In this case, opt for a simply draped string of fairy lights over the mantlepiece. To stop this feeling too 'thin', either layer up a few strings, or select a version with a slightly oversized bulb element.

Mirrors are another wonderful way to simply dress a fireplace. Using reflective surfaces is a long-established trick to bounce light around a space, and this becomes even more delightful at Christmas thanks to candles and twinkling lights. If you're looking for a touch of sultriness choose antiqued glass, which has the effect of effusing a gentler, more sophisticated quality of light into the room.

7. Bring the outdoors in

Christmas fireplace ideas Catherine Gratwicke

Photography/Catherine Gratwicke

(Image credit: Future)

There's something both invigorating and comforting when you walk in nature over the holiday period. Perhaps it's the combination of bracing cool air, crunching frost on the ground, and pretty seasonal plantlife with the warmth you know you'll be rewarded with when home.

Bring this feeling inside this year by decorating your hearth in an echoing manner. A shapely boughs of pussywillow, and fill wooden or galvanized steel pots with ferns and heathers. Additions of sparkling baubles on branches will evoke memories of icicles, and the reflections of candlelight on these will create that festive glow.

8. Enjoy fringe benefits

Christmas fireplace ideas fringe

Photography/Paul Raeside

(Image credit: Future)

Go a bit glam for the holidays by adding some unexpected pizzazz above your fireplace.

A sparkling length of trim will create that party mood, and works especially well with Art Deco decor. Make sure to keep surrounding decorations to a minimum to allow this fringe to remain on the chic side of fun.

9. Hang a garland

Christmas fireplace ideas by Paula Sutton


(Image credit: Wayfair)

Foliage-laden garlands are a Christmas staple, but combining it with a wreath and baubles can make it even more exuberant. This wonderful Christmas garland arrangement was created by Instagram influencer Paula Sutton of Hill House Vintage in a collaboration with Wayfair. We love the traditional style and the warm colors it exudes.

10. Show off a wreath

Christmas fireplace ideas Jan Baldwin

Photography/Jan Baldwin

(Image credit: Future)

A glorious, oversized wreath can make even the most humble of fireplaces into a true statement.

There are myriad wreath styles out there, and certainly one to suit your interiors style, but for a suits-all winner we love going with classic foliage. Real or faux, this green display will bring natural indoors in a controlled and stylish manner. Remember that you can always add natural elements into faux arrangements - simply replace when dried out. For wholly real displays, be sure to mist with water daily to prevent it fading from glory before its time.

Co-ordinate your scheme with a matching garland, and candles picking up festive tones from within the wreath.

11. Make a statement

Christmas fireplace ideas Tom Leighton

Photography/Tom Leighton

(Image credit: Future)

If you don't tend to do things by halves, then you certainly shouldn't leave your fireplace unadorned over Christmas.

Go big with a sweeping arrangement of foliage, including draped elements of ivy, baubles or even clove-studded clementines on ribbon (although make sure these are well out of the way of flames, or easily removable for when the fire is lit).

Bookend your design with imposing vases holding a bouquet, and wrap anything overhead, like a mirror or painting with more color. The real trick for going all out is to be even more strict than usual with your palette. Choose one dominant color, such as red, and use the secondary shade, here green, to support and calm down the dominating tone.

12. Think outside the box

Christmas fireplace ideas Emma Lee

Photography/Emma Lee

(Image credit: Future)

For a louche and relaxed nod to the holiday, make use of any unused fireplaces.

An oversized wicker basket is the perfect vessel to fill to the brim with Christmas baubles and decorations. Wrap with a slender wreath and then mirror this with a twin wreath above.

It's an easy but effective scheme, and perfect if you're short on time or perhaps are staying in a rental as there's no real commitment.

13. Have some fun

Christmas fireplace ideas Simon Scarboro

Photography/Simon Scarboro

(Image credit: Future)

It doesn't all have to be objets and candlesticks adorning your mantlepiece. Hark back to childhood block letters and create a festive word (Noel, Xmas, Santa...anything relatively short will do) spelt out in mismatching letters. Using a wreath for an 'O' is an inspired touch.

Keep the rest of the decor fairly pared back. Hang a garland—real or faux—of winter evergreens or eucalyptus; choose native species for a country-house look and be generous with lengths, letting sprays overhang the mantel to prevent the finish from looking too tight and formal.  Finally, crown the arrangement by hanging some further embellishment from the mirror, such as a generous sprig of holly or ivy.

14. Indulge in drama

Christmas fireplace ideas James Merrell

Photography/James Merrell

(Image credit: Future)

Create your own winter wonderland around your fireplace.

To evoke this magical look, layer up stacks of white decorations on the mantlepiece, such as a forest of frosted paper trees, uplit with non-flammable LED lights. Create height and mystery with spray-painted ferns and a few glitter tree toppers. A mirror is key here, to create the true magical forest effect.

On the hearth, stock up white candles and oversized baubles for a fairyland-like feel.

15. Create a warming scene

Christmas- fireplace ideas Adrian Brisoce

Photography/Adrian Brisoce

(Image credit: Future)

For a restrained yet satisfying look, lean into warm autumnal oranges, russets and golds.

A sprinkling of preserved moss (to ensure to can recreate this look if desired) sets the scene. Dot with candle votives in a mixture of fall tones, and simple coloured candlesticks with the most delicate of golden bases. The final touch is a length of bronzed leaves circling the solid elements.

16. Take a traditional route

Christmas fireplace ideas Chris Everard

Photography/Chris Everard

(Image credit: Future)

In years gone by there wasn't a fireplace to be seen on Christmas without a stocking. 

Reclaim this tradition by hanging a stocking for each member of your family, even if just for decorative purposes. Continue this old-school theme with the most delicate of filigree style ornaments. 

Avoid anything too overtly 'modern' like fairy lights, bold colors or glitter and instead rely on the sparkling of the metal decorations.

17. Add some fragrance

Christmas fireplace ideas Adrian Briscoe

Photography/Adrian Briscoe

(Image credit: Future)

A sumptuous garland lain over a mantlepiece is a classic Christmas move when it comes to decorating a fireplace.

Make your garland work that bit harder by including seasonally scented elements. Add in dried oranges, lemons and cinnamon sticks, along with fragranced foliage like pine and eucalyptus, to be transported to Christmas Day with every inhale.

To build out the garland, add in textural detailing, such as hessian ribbon, seed heads and delicate twigs.

18. Weave baubles into your Christmas fireplace decorations for an elegant touch of color

Christmas decorating and fireplace ideas by Paula Sutton

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Whether you have tons of baubles left over from decorating the Christmas tree or have bought new ones this year, adding them to your Christmas fireplace idea is the perfect way to bring color and sparkle into your scheme. This arrangement was created by Instagram influencer Paula Sutton of Hill House Vintage in a collaboration with Wayfair, which is where you can find these baubles.

Christmas fireplace ideas by Paula Sutton

(Image credit: Wayfair)

How should I dress my fireplace for Christmas?

The challenge when decorating a mantlepiece is that often they are narrow, says florist Simon Lycett. ‘If this is the case, 
a garland made from foliage bound into a length of rope or sash cord will form a generously but flat-backed swag of greens, the weight of which will help to keep it in position.’ Next, address the decorations. ‘Stems of berried ilex and holly can be secured with florist’s wire, and pine cones with clusters of dried flowers or seed heads look lovely either left natural or sprayed for a festive feel. Lightweight non-breakable baubles can add some sparkle along with strings of battery-operated fairy lights.’

Is a stove better than an open fire?

Almost everyone agrees, it’s not just the heat that makes an indoor fire so enticing, it’s the whole package: the smell, the sound, the soft light. ‘The ambience they create is unbeatable,’ says interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch of Sims Hilditch. ‘They also emit a delicious woody aroma. In addition, a statement mantelpiece can create a focus in a room.’ Having said that, woodburning stoves come with the ability to regulate the heat and can be left (provided they are well maintained) without constant supervision. ‘The other bonus is that they are much more flexible when it comes to installation,’ adds Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors.

Is burning wood eco friendly?

Burning wood on an open fire creates clouds of black smoke and emits harmful particulates – which is why they are largely banned in big towns and cities. ‘To future-proof your stove and to make certain that you are burning wood as cleanly as possible, look for a model that carries the SIA 2022 Ecodesign Ready label,’ says Cedric Wells of Charnwood. ‘This ensures a highly efficient burn with very low carbon and smoke emissions. If you live in a smoke control area, such as London, also make sure the stove is Defra exempt – this will allow you to legally burn wood cleanly and safely.’

Additional words by Arabella Youens