How to Perfect the Holiday Mantel


Ana de Guzman of Redfin Blog shared how to create the perfect holiday mantel that will help add to the festive atmosphere of your home this holiday season. Guzman and her team gathered professionals, including Fig & Dove's founder and creative director, Colleen Waguespack, to help you design the perfect mantel space this Christmas. Read Guzman's blog and the designer tips you should consider when decorating your mantel below. 

Craft additions for you and the whole family

Get crafty! Incorporating handmade objects into your mantle is the perfect way to customize and add that special something to your holiday decor. Swing by your local hardware store and pick up some fresh pine branches and twine to create a fragrant garland or support independent artists by adding unique handcrafted elements to holiday decor! – Craft Contemporary

Optimize every inch of the mantel 

As a centerpiece of the home, changing mantle decorations seasonally is the perfect way to create a focused look, without needing to cover multiple rooms with seasonable decor. A strong mantle vignette uses all of the available space, both horizontally and vertically to create depth and layering.

Start with three or four items that can remain on the mantle year-round. Plants or family photos in a neutral color palette can create consistency in your look. Vases or other containers can easily be updated for each holiday with fresh fillers, pumpkins at Halloween, ornaments at Christmas or seashells during the summer. Build the look around these focal

items and continue adding more to the mantle until 75% of the available space is covered. In mantle decor overfilling the available area can make the look appear cluttered and unintentional. – Rocky Mountain Bliss

Add Festive decor while giving back to the community

To inspire some giving in this season of getting, use a template to create and cut out 12 round ornaments. On each ornament, write an easy and inspiring kindness idea that the kids or the entire family can do together throughout the holiday season, from donating toys to a Toy Drive, writing a kind note to a teacher to baking cookies for a neighbor. Tuck these notes within an evergreen garland across the mantel or string onto a festive ribbon to create a kind garland across the mantel’s front. – Crafting Kind Kids

Customize your mantel with personalized stockings

To make a great holiday mantle it needs to be festive but also must represent your family. Personalize it with a custom family sign or stockings with everyone’s names on them. Monogrammed ornaments hung along with the stockings are another great option! This is a great DIY project to do with a Cricut cutting machine or you can find lots of personalized holiday decor on Etsy. Don’t forget to include the fur babies! – How To Heat Press

Create a special place that showcases your family

Develop a scene incorporating your memories (ornaments, photographs, stockings).  Keep with that theme throughout your holiday decorations so everything ties together. Start your mantel with a strip of LED lighting along the top back edge to create a soft glow. Add in your momentos and then fill in with fresh greenery and flowers that are easily changed for a new look throughout the season. – Brick and Mantel

Focus on the colors of the season 

It seems that magenta and blue are the leading colors for this Holiday Season, but we’d like to point out something far more important. Focusing on natural elements, rather than color, combined with abundance for a rich effect, will welcome and color (or color combination) in the mix if thought outright. With abundance in mind, greenery, wooden, wreaths, mixed with candles, ribbon, miniature toys or statues, glass bowls, wrapped gifts….will create the perfect Holiday Mantel and add magic to any space. – Perpetuum Designs

Start a DIY project that everyone will enjoy

A budget-friendly way to add character to your holiday mantel is by making stocking hangers out of scrap wood!  Use 4×4 pieces of 1x4s (2 for each hanger) and paint them the color of your choice. Then add a letter cut out of vinyl to spell out a word (I used PEACE for our family of 5), screw two pieces together so they form an upside-down T, add hooks and hang your family’s stockings. – Leap of Faith Crafting 

Less is more when it comes to the holiday mantel

Go with a garland: The simplest and most impactful way to bring in holiday cheer is to use a garland on your mantel.  This brings in texture and if lights are added, an ambient glow at night.

Mix and match: Don’t be afraid to mix styles!  As seen above, the traditional garland pairs beautifully with the geometric art pieces and the color palette ties the two together

Keep it simple: Sometimes the minimalist designs are the most impactful. Don’t feel like you have to place every decoration you have up there. Choose a few pieces that tie together via color palette and place your other pieces elsewhere. Keeping it simple allows for a very distinct and eye-catching focal point! – Abstract Art by Nicolette Capuano

Make sure the decor compliments your home interior

The most important aspect of decorating for the holidays is to make sure the style and color scheme of your seasonal decorations complement the overall interior of your home. I like to focus on pulling inspiration from the geographic location of the space and incorporating unexpected objects, bold textures, and elements that engage all the senses. Large fragrant shoots of eucalyptus, antique brass bells laced through burlap or silk tartan ribbon, pheasant feathers contrasted by glossy magnolia leaves, and generous groupings of dried or fresh citrus fruits that will fill the room with a cheerful aroma once warmed by the fire. By creating a sort of collage with garlands and trimmings you’re able to design a very layered and unique mantle that will serve as a backdrop for the holiday season. – Danielle Rollins

Decorate stockings to match the holiday spirit

A holiday mantel is not complete without stockings and who says they should stay as plain as they come from the store? With Siser® Heat Transfer Vinyl you can customize them with glittery names, sparkling sayings, or even fuzzy figures for a stocking that shows off your unique holiday spirit. All you need to get started is some Siser® HTV, a vinyl cutter, and a home iron- so anyone can make their holiday mantel shine this season! – Siser®

Natural elements will keep your home festive all season long

Holiday time includes many traditions from various religions and therefore, our approach to holiday mantle scales is to lean into using natural materials. Natural greens from various pines trees express a sense of winter festivities as opposed to committing to any specific holiday.

Natural pine cones, dried fruit such as oranges or pomegranates add a festive feel while mixing in magnolia leaves give the base greens an umph of volume to bring drama to the mantle-scape! 

Use your imagination by adding anything natural and appealing to the eye. – Michael Del Piero

Decorate by layering materials

There are several things I love to incorporate when decorating a mantle for the holidays. First I like to work in layers- First I put my stocking holders on the mantle evenly spaced. I usually buy cypress garland from a local nursery and then layer it in with other seasonal greenery to add additional texture, height, and variation in color. For warmth (and safety), I layer in our flameless LED lights. This year I plan on adding a different element by using sterling silver bells on our ornament stands. Finally, to add a punch of color I add a colored tassel to each stocking to tie in the color scheme that I selected for our wrapping paper. – Fig & Dove

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