Elegant Holiday Mantel Décor

The mantel and fireplace have long been the center of many holiday traditions. Make yours a festive centerpiece for your home where your design style can shine and make your holidays brighter for your family and holiday guests.

And if you don’t have a mantel? Use these ideas to decorate a buffet, an entry table, or any shelves you please.

Garlands, Garlands, Garlands

Fresh branches and real evergreen are simply never going to go out of style. They are beautiful, nostalgic, and ideal for both visual appeal and that wonderful evergreen scent.

The next-best thing for a beautiful, modern, and homey feel is to create your own garland with paper. Light green paper cut into leaves and strung together with accents of white berries for a faux laurel or mistletoe garland. If it fits your style better, opt for gold or silver paper instead of green.

You could use other types of branches, too. Birch branches on a mantel add a rustic feel and that beautiful bright white that will go with the season’s most elegant décor.

Of course, garlands don’t have to be leaves or branches: paper or cloth pennants strung together and painted with a festive message add a modern, personalized touch.


Place tall candles on candlesticks of different heights to give visual interest. It’s also an easy way to add contrasting colors: try white candles on wood, gold, or silver candlesticks (but not all three). Green candles on white candlesticks are an option for a more rustic style.

If candlesticks aren’t your style, nestle simple pillar candles among fresh green garland for perhaps one of the simplest choices that’s still both elegant and cozy.


To add an extra layer to your mantel display, try hanging simple ornaments at different lengths below the mantel. This is perfect if you’re not hanging stockings. If there’s not space to hang ornaments from the mantel, you can always hang them above. A mirror with gilded edges (or distressed wood for a rustic style) is the perfect place to hang a string of ornaments, and the reflection will double the effect.


Remember that your mantel doesn’t have to be symmetrical. Right now, trends focus on building the edges of the mantel vertically and leaving the center more open so décor like a wreath, clock, or mantel can take center stage above. For a more asymmetrical look, try letting garland creep down one side of the fireplace but not the other, and make up for the difference by placing larger décor, like freestanding reindeer, on the floor below.

Block Letters

“Joy,” “Wish,” and “Noel” are the most popular choices for block-letter mantel displays because they pack a lot of meaning into just a few letters. Consider “Jolly” or “Merry” if you want something a little different.

Try simple blocks of distressed wood with a letter stenciled on each one, or opt for the popular café-style metallic letters, then pair them with paper garlands and miniature potted evergreens.

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