How to Style a Holiday Mantel
Mantels are one of our favorite surfaces to decorate for the holidays and since the fireplaces are often the heart of the home, it’s a great place to make a statement with festive additions and natural, textural elements. The mantel is one of the most versatile surfaces to style for the holidays and with so many different ways to curate a festive look, finding inspiration is a great place to start.
Although there are countless ways to decorate mantels, we have a formula we’ve used over the years to create the perfect simple yet festive mantel, that’s perfectly in line with the Studio McGee style as a whole. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to decorate your fireplace mantel this year, we have a few ideas for you to get you started. Here, our step-by-step styling guide to creating a holiday mantel you can’t wait to show off.
No. 01 | Establish a Focal Point
When decorating any holiday mantel, we like to start with a styling focal point. Whether it’s a scene-setting art piece or a statement mirror, a centered anchor draws the eye in and creates balance in the mantel as a whole.
No. 02 | Bring in Faux or Fresh Greenery
There’s no better way to bring a festive feeling to your fireplace mantel than by adding a layer of greenery. From seeded eucalyptus to textural cedar, faux garlands set the scene for layering.
We love the look of hanging greenery to one side to create some asymmetry, and it’s simple to recreate this look in your own space by laying your garland flat over the top and letting one side hang lower than the other. If you’re using a garland that isn’t heavy enough to weigh down on its own, try securing it under one of your stocking holders.
No. 03 | Add in Lots of Layers
When layering decor on a fireplace mantel, we like to create groupings to bring asymmetry to the look. Whether it’s a group of decorative trees or a layered art piece, try playing with different levels to get a balanced look. If you’re draping your garland to one side, try styling your taller items on the other. If you’re going garland-less, try using potted greenery on one side with shorter, contrasting decor on the other.
If you have a mirror above your mantel year-round, keep it up and incorporate your holiday decor with your normal styling elements. Adding a wreath to the mirror is a large focal point that instantly makes the mantel feel ready for the holidays. By pairing contrasting textures, you’ll add dimension to your mantel styling. You can tone down metallics with softer textures like wool and velvet.
No. 04 | Hang the Stockings
Stockings are a great way to bring personality and texture to your mantel, and they bring an instant cozy feeling to every fireplace look. If you’re going for a uniform stocking look, try staggering them to create an asymmetrical look with uneven sides for more interest.
No. 05 | Don't Forget the Small Details
If you love the look of uniform stockings but still want to personalize them for each family member, adding bells, ornaments, letters, or even ribbons in different colors is a great way to set them apart.
Create playful lower levels on your mantel by clustering cute ornaments or groups of small decor. Instead of distributing them evenly, try placing them in groups to look balanced and giving your eye a room to breathe.
We also love placing styling elements on the ground in front of and to the side of the fireplace. Festive poufs or a pile of pillows are fun and add extra seating for holiday hosting.