Each time you gather round the fire in the coming months, fall mantel ideas will be at the heart of all these cozy moments.
Fall decor ideas are all about adding an extra layer of visual warmth to your home as the weather gets colder, meaning that the fireplace should be a priority for a seasonal refresh.
Rethinking your living room or bedroom’s look for fall is also about appreciating the beautiful natural changes happening outside the window, so be sure to sprinkle some autumnal magic in the form of organic colors, textures and materials.
Fall mantel ideas
Whether you’re looking for an all-out celebration of nature or a subtle nod to the changing seasons, we’ve found some inspiring fall mantel ideas, and asked the experts for their advice on making your fireplace feel cozy from bottom to top.
1. Festoon your mantel with foliage
If you thought autumnal foliage was only for your fall wreath ideas, think again. ‘A shot of in-season foliage brings the eye up and makes a great statement on a mantel,’ says interior designer Cindy Rinfret. ‘It should highlight the gorgeous time of year and feel like a natural addition to the room.’
Choose either in-season florals, or simply collect some of the most beautiful fallen branches you find near your home – in this example, fiery red and orange autumn leaves are mixed with fruit-bearing foliage. ‘You might also thoughtfully arrange some pinecones or branches across the top which nods towards the seasonal change,’ adds interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch.
2. Incorporate harvest fruit and veg (real or otherwise)
One of the best parts of fall is the wealth of newly seasonal food that comes with it. Don’t just leave all the fun to the kitchen, however – bring nods to your vegetable patch’s bounty into your mantel design too. Purple flowering cabbages make for gorgeous displays, and of course pumpkins are an essential mantelpiece addition around Halloween, as well as for your outdoor fall decor ideas.
If you want something lower maintenance and longer lasting, opt for ornaments shaped like delicious treats. In this room by designer Kit Kemp, beautifully carved and polished wooden apples and pears make for delectable mantel decor.
3. Get cozy with candles
There is surely no better time of the year than to get out your best candles – and even if your mantel sits over a lit fire, fall always call for a little extra warmth.
‘Changing out white candlesticks or column candles for fall-inspired colors is another subtle touch I always like to do when the weather changes,’ says Rinfret. ‘Look for soft oranges, greens, or reds – they add something unexpected but decidedly autumn. It’s these small touches that help transition your space to be season appropriate.’
In this example, a candle sits in a brown glass candle holder for a warm glow, and is paired with pine cones.
4. Mirror your soft furnishings
Your mantel likely takes pride of place in a room where curling up and keeping cozy is one of the most important autumnal activities.
Located over the fireplace at the center of this mission, ensure that your mantelpiece is in keeping with the rest of your living room fall decor. In this room, the soft blue and white tones of the mantel ornaments take color notes from the blankets, throws and cushions that grace the sofa and armchair, with one vase even directly matching the tartan on the footstool throw.
This makes the room feel coherent and enveloped in a design that focuses on warmth and comfort.
5. Swap in autumnal artwork
If you have a mantel, you likely have something over it – and if it’s not a mirror, then it’s almost certainly a piece of statement artwork. Wall art, however, doesn’t always need to stay in the same place. Rearranging the frames and canvases on your walls is a great way to give a room a new look for a new season.
As fall comes along, consider swapping in a piece that follows an autumnal theme, or at least reflects the season’s colors. In this example, a painting of flowers featuring oranges, reds and mossy greens makes for a great complement to the room’s autumnal color scheme.
6. Mix and match for a rustic look
Bundling up in a country bolthole is everyone’s dream fall escape – but wherever your home may be, it’s perfectly possible to channel farmhouse style through your seasonal decor. ‘Placing a textured material over a mantelpiece such as a hessian runner adds a rustic quality to a room,’ says Sims-Hilditch. ‘Antique lamps placed at either end, or a stack of old rustic books are a great way to achieve a pleasant rustic quality.’
Mismatched ornaments lend a rusticity to a mantel, and also do the same for fall table decor ideas. In this room, the owners have gone so far as to mix vases and candles with the very firewood they use for the stove.
7. Choose natural colors and materials for your ornaments
Natural hues are at the heart of all the best fall color schemes, so be sure to put the front and center of your mantel ideas. In this grand drawing room designed by Rinfret, deeply hued polished woods underpin the decor throughout, lending the whole scheme an absorbingly autumnal theme.
This is continued on the mantelpiece with the mahogany urns, and a more relaxed approach to nature’s materials present in the frame of the mirror, which is encrusted with sea shells.
8. Keep things simple
‘Just because it’s fall, that doesn’t mean you suddenly have to abandon your pared-back style. ‘Sometimes simple is best,’ says Sims-Hilditch. ‘An overloaded mantel can look busy and cluttered. Instead, why not place a candle at either end, or perhaps one large one in the middle. This is a simple way of adding a soft backlight to the room, creating a welcoming and homely aesthetic.’
In this room, the mantel has been kept even simpler, sporting just a white ceramic vase and an empty gold frame – the effect of this is to keep focus on the statement wallpaper by Little Greene, which is patterned with autumnal oranges and yellow ochres.
9. Choose a design that can be easily adapted for Christmas
If fall is here, then that means the holiday season is just around the corner. If you don’t want to have to totally rethink your mantel decor in just a few weeks’ time, go for a design that can be easily adapted as a Christmas wreath idea.
‘Foliage is hearty, meaning it lasts, and you can even add a gorgeous red or blue velvet ribbon when December comes around,’ says Rinfret.
This mantelpiece has been decorated with dried thistles that will see you through into winter, and the light blue ribbon that enhances its silvery icy tones can easily be swapped for red or gold during the festive season.
10. Green can still have a place
Just because summer is over, it doesn’t mean that you have to remove all the green from your life – we’re sure your houseplants won’t thank you for it, anyway.
There is, of course, still a place for greenery on an autumnal mantel, as demonstrated in this room with white, green and autumnal orange wallpaper from Little Greene. To make your mantel feel a little more in season, try switching up your fall planter ideas with terracotta pots and more natural materials, like twine, hessian and reclaimed wooden crates.
How do I decorate my mantel in the fall?
For instant fall mantel inspiration, simply look out the window. If you’re fascinated year after year by the way nature changes with the seasons, put the elements that grab you most at the heart of your mantel decor.
Gathering fallen horse chestnuts, branches of autumnal leaves and pine cones from your home’s surroundings is an inexpensive way of quite literally bringing the outdoors in – arrange them in some carefully chosen vases, hurricane jars or wooden bowls for an organised look, or let larger foliage drape organically across the mantel and even down the sides to the hearth. Just be sure to make sure everything is secure to avoid pieces falling into the fireplace!
What looks good on a mantelpiece?
A mantelpiece is a great place on which to display uniquely personal decor. It should be a capsule display of your interior design style mixed with the things that are most important to you – it is, after all, at the very heart of your living room. Family photographs and heirlooms instantly make you feel at home, while artwork and ornaments will help you put them in context of your own personal style.
As fall comes around, you have licence to be a little softer than you would normally. Prepare for cozy nights in with a selection of candles, and swap your usual cut flowers for autumnal leaves, feathers and dried florals.
I 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. I then spent three years at the Evening Standard on the GO London team, covering restaurants and bars, and getting to eat and drink a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful things around the city. I left the paper in 2020 and went freelance, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures. A little less than a year later, I started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing me to fully indulge my love of good interior design.
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