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How to Decorate a Mantel for Christmas

The mantel is many things. It is the bearer of framed family memories and relics; the focal point of beauty within the living space; and–for one month each year–the harbinger of holiday joy, acting as the all-important stocking holder (and Santa chute entry), donning bits of cheer.

Christmas Mantel with Candles, Trees and Stocking Holders

Knowing what an important part of your home the fireplace represents at the holidays, we have a few timeless Christmas mantel decorating ideas to help you create a holiday display of the finest décor:


Make it multi-dimensional

Texture, texture, texture. This is the key to a well-balanced design. Mix and match smooth pieces—vases or figurines—with organic elements like cinnamon-scented pine cones. Adding a strand of garland is a nice way to texturize your holiday mantel décor.


Sprinkle in some glitter

Not literally. But the twinkle in Santa's eye is his charm, and so are the twinkle lights intertwined among your display. Consider incorporating shiny ornaments throughout the garland on your mantel. Better yet, wrap the garland itself in twinkle lights. But this is one area where you might prefer to keep it minimal–festive yet classy.


Take it to new heights

Bookending the mantel with tall candlesticks gives it symmetry and boosts its presence. As a general rule, mingling flatter elements with loftier pieces creates a more dynamic display. Placing a miniature Christmas tree in its center, especially if placed in front of a mirror, is one of the best ways to easily make your mantel merry.

Silver and Gold Christmas Mantel


Reflect back its beauty

Hanging a mirror above the fireplace has multiple effects: It creates the illusion of depth within the decoration, acts as a unifying centerpiece that pulls the ornamental elements together, and enlarges the perception of the room as a whole. It also reflects the excitement that will spread across the kids’ faces on Christmas morning.


Create a stunning color palette

Choose your hues wisely, as they are the foundation for your holiday display. For classy simplicity, consider mixing deep greens and earthy browns with cream accents. For eye-catching elegance, mingle white, gold and silver together. Or you can never go wrong with a more traditional fireplace display full of primary reds and greens, with a dash of gold.


Breathe some life into it

Never underestimate the value of plants. A hint of foliage can breathe movement and life into the narrow platform. Anchoring the ends with red poinsettias is a surefire way to spruce up your mantel for Christmas.


Cut back on chaos

Between the presents, stockings, cookies, and twinkle lights—your home already looks far more ornate than usual. You don't need a mantel centerpiece that gets lost in the Christmas chaos. Whether simple and elegant, or fun and whimsical—depending on your design goal—keeping it simple draws your eye to the specially chosen elements displayed atop your fireplace. Trim the clutter—not just the tree.

There’s one final step in your design endeavor:

Just before you open up your home to friends and family, Go ahead and put your slippered feet up on the ottoman, sip some nutmeg-laden eggnog, and revel in the holiday mantel motif you’ve made.

For more Christmas mantel decorating ideas, check out the Crate and Barrel Blog.

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