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These Unique Holiday Hearth Looks Will Make Your Christmas Mantel Shine

Design pros share their best decorating tricks.


The secret to setting a merry mood all season long? Dressing up your mantel (or any freestanding shelf) with holiday accents. However, it’s easy to get carried away and spend too much money on this section of the house. We’re here to guide you with three different styles that come together with inexpensive yet effective decor. Here, design pros share their best decorating tricks that are sure to make spirits bright.

The Merry-Meets Modern Mantel

merry meets modern blue holiday mantel

Get the look: For colorful holiday decor starting at $3, search ‘North Pole Journey’ at

The key to an eye-catching mantel that sets a magical mood with hints of nostalgia and modern hues: combining colorful artwork with festive figurines and a DIY garland. “Simply upgrade a classic pine garland by affixing ornaments for a pop of color, then attach sisal trees and bird accents to add a fun, handmade feel,” says Mandi Clark, Director of Trend & Design at Michaels.

Visit the “Peace on Earth Garland” section of, then you’ll see a “Projects” tab to click for the easy how-to. Hang artwork on the wall behind the mantel, then add the finished garland, sisal trees, a nutcracker, cozy yarn trees and a pom-pom garland to the mantel.

The Classic Christmas Mantel

classic Christmas mantel with antlers
Adobe Stock

“A plain mantel adorned with metallic ornaments in golds, greens, and reds is a fast, festive way to create a shimmering, happy atmosphere,” says Jeannine Rose, founder of “And tucking in one or two pairs of faux antlers lends another layer of rustic charm!” To capture this look, hang an ornament-covered wreath on the wall above your mantel. Then lay a fresh (or faux) garland atop your mantel, as shown. Next, use bits of floral wire to attach metallic baubles and pine cones to the garland. To finish, hang classic stockings and tuck a pair or two of faux “reindeer” antlers into the garland.

The Cozy Cottage Mantel

cozy cottage Mantel

Pairing the traditional holiday reds and greens with cheery wooden signs and splashes of greenery makes this mantel scene warm and inviting — like a Christmas cottage. To do: Center a white wooden “window pane” frame on the wall behind the mantel, then hang a wreath on the frame. Next, place a red painted wooden sign in front of the frame, then add candle pedestals, mini trees, lanterns, and other accents in varying heights for visual interest. Continue by hanging a garland of fresh greenery in front of the mantel, along with knit stockings in snow-white and bright-red hues. The quick finishing touch? Flank the hearth with two small white Christmas trees strung with lights for a magical, snow-kissed feel.

To Make the Space Extra Magical

keepsake ornament
courtesy of Hallmark

Add a keepsake ornament: Whether strung from your tree or garland or displayed on a mantel, this festively dressed Hallmark Keepsake Ornament is sure to bring on cheer and merriment for all. (Noble Nutcrackers Count of Cozy Christmas Ornament, buy from Hallmark, $24.99)

singing ornament
courtesy of Hallmark

Add a musical ornament: This musical Hallmark Keepsake Ornament offers loved ones a glimpse into the North Pole’s magic, and it plays the classic holiday tune, “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.” (Santa’s Workshop Wonders Ornament with Light, Sound and Motion, buy from Hallmark, $64.99)

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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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