17 festive fireplace ideas for the holidays

Smart décor tricks and shopping tips for a gorgeous winter mantel. Your hearth is about to feel even more homey.

Milles Studio | Stocksy United

It’s about that time … the weather is turning cooler and holiday decorations are beginning to make their annual appearance. And there’s no place that feels more like the heart of your home than your hearth, where friends and family gather to warm themselves by the fire, exchange gifts, or see what Santa left in your stockings.

MORE TO READ: 16 ways to set a beautiful holiday table

Feast your eyes on these inspired mantels guaranteed to create a homey winter feel and amp up your holiday décor game. Bonus: you won’t even have to unpack last year’s tired trimmings. Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to “get the look” with a minimum of muss and fuss.

1. Santa’s showstopper

Make a bold statement with a festive canvas to anchor your mantel. The choices are endless. Buy a ready-made version or create your own with this twinkle light canvas tutorial. Top with a few golden accents and a garland made from coffee filters.

2. Let it bloom

These simple, tall flowers are more stalk than bloom, which looks fresh—even peaceful—to the eye. By using multiple clear vases in a row, the mantel resembles a grassy field. The mirror adds a little grandeur, but also creates the illusion that there are even more flowers.

Simple + beautiful holiday mantel [ inspiration : via gardenstyleliving.tumblr.com ] #decoratingwithflowers #holidaymantel #design

A photo posted by Garden Style Living (@gardenstyleliving) on

3. Frame it

That old frame you’ve been hesitant to toss out has just become the key to your holiday mantel. Use a piece of burlap ribbon to suspend a live greenery or dried wreath or make your own monogram wreath. Finish with candles wrapped in twine and step back to admire your new masterpiece.

4. Cheery & bright

This pastel-hued mantel turns the traditional holiday color palate on its ear. With an on-trend trophy head (buy from Target or make your own with this tutorial from Chezlin) and unexpected materials like plywood, felt and giftwrap, this mantel is certainly a conversation starter. Hone in on a color scheme and either rummage around your craft closet or make a trip to the dollar store to pull this look together.

5. Message on a bottle

Putting together this visual delight is about as uncomplicated as it gets. Bright berry branches provide the perfect contrast to striking green glass bottles scored from a flea market or antique shop. Don’t have time to search for the perfect bottles? Nab some from SaveonCrafts.com, or recycle old wine bottles. Finish with silver pipe cleaners and hang tags embellished with a favorite saying or family member’s names.

6. Jars of joy

Turn the humble glass jar into the star of your holiday mantel. Up-cycle a set of jars from your favorite food—pickle jars work well—to create a miniature winter wonderland. Nestle tea lights in the base of jars that have been lined with a bit of greenery and fake snow. Next, wrap gold string or netting around the mouth of each jar and finish with twine strung with painted pinecones.

7. Understated glamour

This mantel is all about texture. An inexpensive, hand-made garland provides the foundation for a subtle look that beckons you in. Paper honeycomb balls provide volume, while feathers and faux fur soften the scene. Crisply wrapped boxes and a tone on tone piece of art provide the finishing touch for this cozy gathering spot.

8. Reclaimed revelry

This looks exudes simplicity and serenity … and many of the elements you need may already be in your attic. Old frames take on new life as a canvas for scrap holiday paper, while forgotten shutters or windows become structural elements that add depth and interest. Personalize with family photos and knick-knacks, but be sure to keep the color palate neutral to nail the look.

9. Nordic noel

Create a modern holiday display with this striking mantel in red, black and white. Felt or wooden block houses are cleverly displayed on white cake stands, while the trees can be achieved by creating cones out of holiday wrapping paper (or buy similar ones from Target). Soften the look with a DIY pom-pom garland and a ‘cute as a button’ felt Rudolph.

10. Pops of color

For maximum effect with minimum effort, choose a set of basic stockings and trim with scraps of fabric from previous projects. Or, make a trip to the craft store and sort through the scrap bin to find pieces that complement each family member’s personality. Finish with any trim that suits your fancy. The result—a focal point that harmonizes, but doesn’t read as too “matchy matchy.”

11. A monochromatic Christmas

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Create one on your mantel. (This works especially well if your fireplace already has white details like the one below.) No matter what you decide to display, stick to bright whites, and just a thin green garland to add texture to the look. Then hang a silvery-white wreath above the scene, like this flocked pine artificial wreath from Houzz ($55).

12. Love letters

If you want to leave out matching stockings for old St. Nick, you can still personalize them for family members with chic hanging letters. To get the look, try these handblown glass letters from Nordstrom ($7 each).

13. Nutcracker nostalgia

This whimsical display is sure to delight one and all. Adorn simple stockings with a few well-placed pom-poms and complement a circular mirror with your own homemade paper banners. Then, line the mantel with nutcrackers, bottle brush trees and assorted collectibles—anything goes, beloved relics from your childhood or flea-market finds.

Merry & Bright is right! ... Come scoop up these jolly stockings and festive banners // in shop now//

A photo posted by Wild Child (@wildchildparty) on

14. Twigs & toys

For this rustic and endearing vignette, look no farther than your backyard. Collect twigs and assemble into stars with any yarn you have on hand. Use an old wooden frame to house a homemade paper wreath and drape with felt, pom-pom and handmade lettered cardboard garlands (or try this one from Target). If you are feeling particularly crafty, try this DIY Christmas wreath (pssst…it’s really a hula hoop wrapped in twine). Antique toys (or ones from Target) add just the right touch of whimsy to complete the look.

15. Cedar houses

The idea behind this sweet mantel is literally a walk down memory lane. Each of these simple houses is meant to represent a home that your family has lived in at some point. Fashion abodes with blocks from your local craft store or simply cut shapes out of corrugated cardboard. Finish with a bit of chalk detail, a bough or two of live greenery, canning jars with votive candles and branches wrapped in burlap. The key to this one is keeping it light and clean.

16. Topiary typography

The focal point of this beauty is the vivid greenery message and it is easier to achieve than you might think. Spell out a favorite word (or even your family name) in live topiary or hack it by simply cutting letters out of cardboard and using a hot glue gun to attach plastic craft store greenery. A few well placed garlands, some trim and voila! An inspiring message to grace your home throughout the holidays.

17. Sugarplum fantasy fireplace

This confection is a sight to behold and starts with wreaths formed from assorted ball ornaments in pastel colors. The mantel itself features vintage tree-toppers, but you can riff on the concept with your own collection, such as apothecary jars filled with smaller ball ornaments. Gauzy ribbon and wireless fairy lights set the stage or try this DIY crocheted ice-crystal garland. The fireplace here is the icing on the cake—a hint of warmth from candles at varying heights woven with greenery and a reclaimed window grate.

Amy Cojac Andrews
Amy Andrews

Amy Cojac Andrews is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and New York City. She writes about luxury and family travel for Ciao Bambino and other publications.

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