The secret to setting a merry mood all season long? Dressing up your mantel with holiday accents. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get a designer-worthy look. Here, design pros reveal their best DIY, affordable Christmas mantel ideas that will suit every style — from farmhouse to midcentury modern and traditional. They’re sure to make your mantel look extra merry!
Christmas mantel ideas #1: Midcentury modern
The key to an eye-catching mantel that sets a magical mood with hints of midcentury nostalgia and modern hues: combining colorful artwork with festive figurines, sisal trees 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 Michaels.com for the full garland how-to). Next, hang colorful framed Christmas artwork on the wall behind the mantel, then add the finished garland, larger sisal trees, a nutcracker, cozy yarn trees and a pom-pom garland to the mantel to finish.
Christmas mantel ideas #2: Traditional holiday
“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 SweetHumbleHome.com. “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, like Red & Gold Ornament & Pinecone Wreath (Buy from At Home, $14.99) 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 (or tree branches from the yard that look like antlers) into the garland.
Christmas mantel ideas #3: Cozy cottage
Pairing 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 cotton wreath, like Bibelot 18inch Cotton Wreath (Buy from Amazon, $19.99) on the frame. Next, place a “sleigh rides” sign in front of the frame, like Agriism Sleigh Rides Tin Sign Wall Art Decor Metal Sign (Buy from Amazon, $9.89), 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.
Christmas mantel ideas #4: Festive farmhouse
“This beautiful display captures a rustic Christmas feel,” says Samantha Candela, style merchant at Grandin Road. “The wreath and evergreen garland sprinkled with pine cones and berries add classic style, and the marquee lighting offers a fun glow.” To do: Center a wreath kissed with pine cones, berries, bells and plaid ribbon above the mantel, then hang a garland below it, tucking in matching pine cones, bells, ribbon and berries. To finish, add candlesticks, porcupine figurines, a marquee sign and a Christmas card holder sign, like the ‘Merry Christmas’ Rustic Card Holder Wall Décor shown here (Buy from Amazon, $29.99).
Christmas mantel ideas #5: Whimsical wonderland
Dressing up a mantel with elf shoe-inspired stockings, wrapped presents and deconstructed nutcrackers creates a unique display that’s sure to add a magical touch to your holiday décor. Says Candela, “Here, playful holiday style and whimsy combine!” To do: Mount a lighted pine cone and berry-kissed wreath above the mantel; lay a matching lighted garland below it. Place black pedestal stands on the mantel, then top with DIY or decorative ribbon-wrapped presents, like Grandin Road Homespun Presents (Buy from Grandin Road, $34.50), and a nutcracker head planter filled with pinecones. Tip: To make your own customized nutcracker plant pot, pick up the 7″ Ceramic Nutcracker Planter by Make Market (Buy from Michaels, $14.99) and decorate with acrylic craft paint; let dry. Hang four fun elf shoe stockings on the mantel to finish.
Christmas mantel ideas #6: Bright boho
“I love creating a theme for my holiday decor each year, and this year I chose the theme of ‘Joy to the World,’” says designer Jennifer Hadfield of TaterTotsAndJello.com. To bring a boho-chic, joyful touch to her mantel, she used a variety of craft-store staples. To get the look, hot-glue pom-poms, tiny pennant banners and seasonal snippets to five embroidery hoops in various sizes. Tie the hoops and a small faux lamb’s ear wreath, like Studio His & Hers Lamb’s Ear Candle Ring (Buy from Hobby Lobby, $4.19) to a tree branch using bright ribbons, then hang the branch above the mantel. Line up bottle brush trees and mini white decorative houses, like ANLIONYE 4 Pcs Ceramic Christmas Village Houses (Buy from Amazon, $39.99) on the mantel, then drape a few pom-pom garlands in front.
Christmas mantel ideas #7: Merrily modern
“This dazzling display conveys a sense of Christmas wonder,” says interior designer Taniya Nayak, co-host of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight. “The baubles add whimsy and the greenery and signs add sophistication.” To do: Lay a faux garland on the mantel. Nestle 24 fresh pine boughs into the garland so they cascade vertically; affix with floral wire. Thread a strand of icicle lights between the boughs and add ornaments. Next, mount an ornament-filled wreath, then hang two signs made by covering canvas with red spray paint and jotting down a holiday message using a white paint pen. Add red, green and white ornaments, like Grandin Road Be Jolly Ornaments (Buy from Grandin Road, $59.50) and mini wrapped presents to the mantel.
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.