Seasonal, Winter

Styling the perfect holiday mantel

styling the perfect holiday mantle

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

The gourds are gone, the tree has been dressed, but has the mantel been styled? At our house, the mantel is the crown jewel of our holiday décor. While the pressure to bring holiday cheer to this architectural centerpiece is hard to deny, don’t get overwhelmed! Use creative styling, prioritize what you like, and you’ll find that the finished product is a reflection of you and your family. Use these simple, budget-friendly ideas to get inspired. 

Blank Slate

The first thing you’ll need to do is clear your mantel completely. Take down any picture frames, and remove flower vases and candles. If you plan on using greenery and have a wooden mantel, I’d suggest taping down some plastic to protect the surface. You might also consider temporarily removing anything hanging above the mantel, such as a painting or mirror, in case it interfere with your holiday décor.


There are all sorts of ways you can fill your mantel with holiday spirit. One of the most popular accents is garland. You can find fresh garland in several varieties, but I always lean toward an evergreen. As for garland length, you’ll want to get one that is the length of your mantle plus a few inches on either side (at least!). For a more dramatic and aromatic effect, measure so that your garland pools on the floor on either side of the hearth. To keep your garland in place, tack it down in the center and let it hang freely on the sides. 

Don’t care for the upkeep of fresh garland? You can also purchase an artificial version, which you’ll be able to use again next year. For those who prefer a more organized-looking mantel, get creative with ornaments. A few clear bowls filled with colorful bulbs will pack a visual punch and stay neat and tidy. There’s no need to buy brand-new ornaments either. When you’re done decorating your tree, you can use the ornaments you didn’t hang or even repurpose those that are partially broken. 


Stockings are a must on a holiday mantel. If you’re unsure of where to go with your mantel styling, the stockings can be a great place to start. For instance, burlap stockings read rustic, while velvet stockings project elegance. Once you have your stockings picked out, hang them evenly across the length of the mantel. Stockings can be hung on decorative hooks that are in keeping with the style of the rest of your room or on hooks covered by your garland, out of sight. 


Bring some additional color to your mantel with a few floral additions. Start by sticking some stems into the underlying garland—a few sprigs of holly are sure to make your mantel a real eye-catcher! Another way to incorporate florals is to fill small, short vases with flowers that pack a major punch. Tightly arranged roses in round glass vases spread across the mantel make for a lovely visual! 


Candles are a necessity on a holiday mantel. Not only do they create the perfect mood lighting, but they can add a pleasing scent as well. Begin by adding a candle with a large base to either end of the mantle. I’d suggest using unscented versions for these base candles so you don’t get tired of the smell as the holiday season wears on. The anchor candles can be placed on an unobtrusive porcelain or silver plate to catch the wax or can be placed inside hurricane lamps to create more of a glow. Add smaller candles to your mantel for additional light, scent and holiday cheer.

Personal touches

No matter how much you customize your mantel, it won’t feel like your own without a few personal touches. You can display a few of your favorite holiday cards, either tucked into the garland or glued onto a stretch of ribbon. The mantel is also a great way to show off kids’ crafts. For instance, you can cut out snowflake shapes from poster board, cover them in rubber cement and sprinkle them with glitter. Again, you can tuck snowflakes into the garland or hang them off of the mantel using twine. 

However you decide to proceed, here’s to your most beautiful holiday mantel yet!



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