11 Christmas mantel decor ideas – style your mantelpiece to perfection this festive season

From rustic florals and foliage to twinkling string lights and festive ornaments, our Christmas mantel decor ideas can uplift your fireplace with inviting seasonal style

Christmas mantel decor ideas. Pink room with colorful stockings, fireplace decorated with large bunches of foliage, blue room with garland on mantel, colorful stockings
(Image credit: Adrian Briscoe | Sarah Kaye Representation, Photography by Polly Wreford, styling by Sally Denning | Shop Kit Kemp)

Uplift your fireplace, the coziest heart of the home, with our collection of beautiful Christmas mantel decor ideas.

While the tree may be the star of the show for many Christmas decor ideas, the fireplace is the part of the house where the most convivial moments of the holidays are often shared, so it should always be enhanced with stylish seasonal decoration to become even more of a stand-out focal point in a room.

The festive season is the perfect time to go big and bold with eye-catching mantelscapes and Christmas fireplace decor ideas, with a mantel providing the perfect surface to get creative with a whole host of decorations and ornaments.

Create an inviting festive fireplace with Christmas mantel decor

'Move over tablescaping, mantelscaping – AKA styling your mantel in a captivating way – is the new trend taking over fireplaces this winter. This mantel decor trend allows individuals to unleash their Christmas spirit and personal style in the true heart of their home. Whether you choose to create a winter wonderland village using vintage putz houses, snow globes, and iridescent baubles, or a forest scene featuring garlands and seasonal florals – the options are endless,' says Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy's trend & design expert.

Whether you’re looking to light up your evenings with candles, celebrate nature with scented garlands or get ready for Santa with a row of stockings, explore our collection of inspiring Christmas mantel decor ideas, as well as a whole host of styling tips from the experts.

Dayna Isom Johnson
Dayna Isom Johnson

Dayna Isom Johnson is Etsy's trend expert with over a decade of experience unearthing the latest and chicest styles. She is unwavering in her pursuit of new and unique finds and is passionate about helping shoppers find exceptional pieces that showcase their personal style.

1. Adorn your mantel with festive foliage

Festive living room with fireplace dressed in foliage

(Image credit: Future | SARAH KAYE REPRESENTATION LTD | Photography by Polly Wreford, styling by Sally Denning)

‘For a wonderfully rustic mantelpiece decoration, use cuttings of winter foliage to create a display of eye-catching natural texture. I love using pine, holly, eucalyptus, olive branches and mistletoe – herbs, like rosemary, also work well,' says florist Nikki Tibbles, of Wild at Heart.

Angus Buchanan, creative director at Buchanan Studio also says, 'green pine branches always bring a beautiful fragrance to any room without having to use a full tree. We like to use them to complement our Christmas tree ideas, and arrange them in a large vase or laid over shelves or mantelpieces.’ 

An arrangement of pine branches or cuttings of other foliage may be a classic, traditional Christmas decorating ideas, but it can still look super modern, as shown here, with the truly striking, sculptural display on the mantel. We explore more rustic Christmas decorating ideas in our dedicated feature.

For a enduring festive foliage that can be used year on year, explore our picks of festive faux garlands below.

Buchanan Studio
Angus and Charlotte Buchanan

Angus and Charlotte Buchanan form the husband and wife design team behind their London-based creative design frim, Buchanan Studio, set up in 2018.

2. Or, opt for an elegant floral display

Christmas mantel decor with fall foliage

(Image credit: Future)

Whether you opt for flowers that add a burst of Christmas color to your mantel, such as a riotous mixture of red poinsettias, winter roses and berries, or embrace more minimalist Christmas decor ideas and choose to decorate with dried flowers, these natural decorations will always bring a timeless elegance to a mantelpiece. 

Opting for flowers that dry well can make for a Christmas mantel decor idea than can last throughout the holiday season – hellebores, mimosa, gomphrena, and strawflowers are especially good choices for a mantel arrangement, as they’re all very long-lasting and dry well.

Complement your floral Christmas mantel decor with matching Christmas garlands and Christmas wreaths, for a beautiful, coordinated look.

3. Add a twinkling touch with string lights

Oversized wreath above mantelpiece

(Image credit: Future)

To elevate your mantel with an irresistibly cozy feel, then be sure to decorate the space with twinkling string lights.

Whether you simply drape them across your mantel with a few select ornaments to work alongside, as shown above, or enhance a display of foliage and flowers with a set of lights intertwined, this indoor Christmas lighting idea will perfectly complement the warming glow of a roaring fire.

We love these Stargazer Northstar Lights from Anthropologie.

4. Line up your stockings

Decorated mantel with foliage and stockings

(Image credit: Shop Kit Kemp)

Working out when you should put your Christmas tree up is obviously important, but remember that you can stagger your decorating to ramp up the sense of excitement. 

Adding a row of stockings to your mantel decor in the week, or even on the night before Christmas will give you a decorative addition to look forward to. Consider coordinating your stockings with your existing room color ideas, – in this example by Kit Kemp, the colorful trio of stockings designed by Kit perfectly coordinate with the green foliage and the pale blue and red decor.

5. Create a cozy atmosphere with candles

Cozy living room with candles and decorated mantel

(Image credit: West Elm)

Candles are a wonderful way to create a warming, cozy feeling in a space at Christmas time – and they work especially well when positioned on a mantelpiece. 

Easier to light on a whim than the fire itself, their flickering glow of the best candles is an excellent, subtle addition to the centerpiece of a living room and they can bring beautiful festive scent into the room too – perfect for making your home smell good for Christmas. If safety is a concern, you can now find authentic-looking electric candles – in tea light form and otherwise – which can be slipped with ease into all sorts of candle holders and mantel displays.

6. Embrace a coordinated color scheme

Christmas mantel decor ideas in a pink room with pink and orange decoration, and pink Christmas stockings

(Image credit: Adrian Briscoe)

The likes of red, gold and green are classic holiday colors but what if they don’t work with your year-round decor? If you love a sophisticated and tailored scheme, curate a mantel display that carefully mimics the existing scheme in the surrounding space. Adorn your mantel with ornaments and decorations that draw from the room's palette, creating a satisfying sense of cohesion and calm. 

On this mantel, festive decor has been chosen to match and complement the pink room ideas, including pink and white stockings, orange Christmas tree models, holly leaves for a little contrast and Christmas presents wrapped in complementary paper and ribbons. 

7. Use a traditional paper garland

Christmas tree themes with traditional tree

(Image credit: Future)

The festive season is a time to celebrate with family and friends, so why not get creative with DIY Christmas decor?

Paper garlands are a timeless Christmas decoration (and they're super easy to make). Perfect for resting on the top of the mantel, or for attaching to the surround, as shown above, paper garlands can not only create a more classic, retro feel, they are super cost-effective, too. We love this pastel paper chain from Etsy, perfect for more modern Christmas decor.

8. Style the space with festive ornaments

Calming, scand-inspired living room decorated for Christmas

(Image credit: Layered Lounge)

Chosen a slightly smaller tree than last year? If you find yourself with leftover Christmas ornaments that don’t have a branch to call home, bring them over to the mantelpiece. Arranging them among your candles, lights and floral display will help add a pop of color that ties in effortlessly with your tree design. They also work really well arranged on a sill as part of your Christmas window decor ideas

Of course, as well as Christmas tree ornaments, there a whole host of other decorations that can sit beautifully atop a mantel, from miniature trees, to bells and snow globes, get creative and curate a beautiful festive scene.

9. Enhance your garland with inviting scent

Christmas mantel decor ideas with a garland with dred oranges, cinnamon and pine cones

(Image credit: Adrian Briscoe)

If you’re wondering how to make a Christmas garland, you’ll need to think about details as well as structure. If you’re going for an organic look, consider adding details that not only look good, such as pine cone decorations, but that also smell great too. ‘Bright, orange tangerines decorated with cloves also make for a beautiful display as well as a sublime scent whenever you walk past,’ adds Angus Buchanan, creative director at Buchanan Studio. 

This Potpourri mix from Amazon has scent notes of  fresh cut evergreen, crushed pine needles, orange zest and fir balsam.

10. Keep things simple and minimal

Christmas mantel with white surround and green garland

(Image credit: Future)

For a more pared-back, simple approach, arrange a small cluster of thoughtful decorations on your mantel. 

In this serene white living room, the green garland adds a contrasting, festive touch to the space, with the cozy candles and white ornaments perfectly in-keeping with the room's simple, minimal style; establishing a simple yet elegant decorative display.

11. Or, embrace a more maximalist look

Maximalist christmas living room with decorated fireplace

(Image credit: Molly Mahon)

For those wanting to embrace maximalist Christmas decor ideas, then opt for a 'more is more' approach with your Christmas mantel decor. 

Here, designer Molly Mahon's colorful mantelscape perfectly coordinates with the maximalist decor, colorful style of the room.

She says of the design, 'One of my biggest joys is making Christmas decorations with my children, anything from printed bunting to paper chains. Paper Stars are simple to make, are really effective and create a cheerful splash. Display them on your mantlepiece and it will instantly look festive and full of joy and love. You can make individual stars or string them together to make a garland. All you need are some rectangular sheets of wrapping paper, a stapler, a sharp pair of scissors, glue and some ribbon. If you stick two contrasting sheets of wrapping paper together, it means that your finished stars will look pretty from every angle.'

Molly Mahon
Molly Mahon

UK-based designer and printmaker, Molly Mahon, runs a colorful design studio that sells beautiful hand-printed wallpaper, fabrics, homeware and more all over the world.


How should I decorate a fireplace for Christmas?

Decorating a fireplace is about more, of course, than the mantel. Look to the wall above, and consider swapping out a painting or mirror for a festive wreath – alternatively, drape a garland over a mirror a work of art to make your everyday decor to make it feel festive. 

On the floor, accessorize baskets of longs with string lights and ornaments, and place lanterns and candles nearby. You can also add another basket filled with blankets and cozy pillows, perfect for guests to use at the fireside on colder evenings. 

For more inspiration, and to help you create a truly beautiful display with your Christmas mantel decor, we explore how to style a mantelpiece in our dedicated feature.

Ailis Brennan
Contributing Editor

Ailis started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. She then spent three years at the London Evening Standard, covering restaurants and bars. After a period of freelancing, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures, she started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing her to fully indulge her love of good interior design. She is now a fully fledged food PR but still writes for Homes & Gardens as a contributing editor.

With contributions from