Real-Home Christmas Mantel Decorating

Make your home merrier this holiday with these tested tips for pretty Christmas mantels.

By Elizabeth Jensen

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Christmas Mantel Collage
Our Favorite Real-Life Christmas Mantels

    We reached out to some of our favorite bloggers for their prettiest Christmas mantel ideas. We found designs featuring traditional fir garland, bright felt stockings, fluffy fake snow, and more. Use their tips to replicate these gorgeous decorations.

White-and-Silver Mantel

    Since faux garland tends to be rather skimpy, beef up your display by purchasing two strands and blending them together. Wendy Hyde ( created her bountiful garland by twisting the branches of two strands together every foot or so. She then fluffed it up to make sure the twisting wasn't visible. Then she added faux berry garland and a string of lights for extra sparkle and shine. White stockings finish off the display with a clean and classic finish.

Iron Scrollwork Christmas Mantel

    To create a mantel like Beth Bryan's (, choose an eclectic variety of traditional decorative pieces. Add height by using tall, wrought-iron scrollwork that also holds your wreath and other elements. A shaved wood wreath, like Beth's, is the perfect decoration to use in any season.

Decorate with Long Stockings

    Incorporating fun colors and textures is what makes mantel decorating so much fun! Layla Palmer's (the long, skinny stockings add whimsy. To create depth and illusion, she hung a variety of ornaments from her ceiling with white, flat-head thumbtacks and 8-lb. fishing line. Instead of traditional greenery, she used red hydrangeas and placed them in classic white pitchers.

A Natural Mantel

    Moss balls are low-maintenance and can be used in a variety of ways. Place them in a silver setting, as Cristin Bisbee Priest ( did, for a festive touch. Cristin glammed up her mantel by putting white tallow berries in mercury glass votives. The berries complement the natural tone of the mantel, and the votives lend extra sparkle.

Red-and-Gold Mantel

    Arminda Rifflard ( filled out her mantel by doubling up the garland. For filler, she added red berries, a string of 100 white lights, and hand-picked pinecones. Different shapes and sizes of pinecones create a more natural feel.

    Arminda created her ornament wreath by hot-gluing shatterproof ornaments to an untwisted wire hanger. She topped it off by adding a bow and another ornament.

    Arminda's tip: Hot-glue the tops to the ornaments to prevent them from popping off under the pressure.

Classic Red Mantel with Firs

    To re-create Laura Putnam's ( classic mantel, remove small potted trees from their original bases and place them in vintage tea- and coffeepots. Laura spray-painted the reindeer, originally brown, to be the focal point of her red color scheme. She balanced the look with complementing ornaments, felt snowflakes, a mirror adornment, and stockings.

    Laura's tip: Use a quality spray paint and take the time to do several light coats. Trying to get full coverage on the first coat will most likely give you a coating that's too heavy and will drip.

Cream-and-White Mantel

    A neutral cream-and-white palette sets the tone for this gorgeous Christmas mantel. Jenni Pearson ( used a variety of ironstone pitchers and teapots to create a clean and classic look. To fill in the spaces, she used pieces of cedar clipped from a tree in her yard. To add height and dimension, she wrapped books in old pieces of sheet music.

    Jenni created her wreath by using the pages of a vintage shorthand dictionary. She rolled each page into a cone shape and folded over the ends. She hot-glued the pages onto a foam wreath, working her way from the back to the front. She finished by gluing the pages flat on the back and inside of the wreath.

Santa Claus Christmas Mantel

    Kim Nichols ( created her traditional mantel by using vintage pieces, such as Santa Claus characters, and a eucalyptus garland. She added twinkle by featuring flameless candles and tucking a string of white lights into the garland.

Vintage Christmas Mantel

    Create your own winter wonderland by rolling out thin snow batting onto a flat surface. Nita Stacy ( made scalloped edges by pressing a candleholder onto the material and cutting half circles. She used branches from a white Christmas tree and miniature vintage elves and houses to fill out the bulk of the mantel. For the final touch, she created faux snowflakes by draping fishing line with cotton balls strung on it.

Greenery-Filled Christmas Mantel

    Skip the traditional pine and fill your mantel with greenery from the yard. Susan Herin ( used magnolia branches from her Southern Magnolia tree and added berries from her Nandina bushes.

Silver Sparkle Mantel

    Fresh greenery is a great way to add fragrance to your home. Beth Hunter ( used fresh juniper branches with silvery blue berries to fill out her mantel and accent her mirror. To create the sparkle and shine, Beth wrapped costume jewelry around pillar candles and filled an apothecary jar with silver ornaments.

Soft Palette Christmas Mantel

    Choosing your palette is incredibly important when it comes to creating a mantel that reflects your family. Linda MacDonald ( suggests using several larger pieces that make a statement. Her fabric sign, purchased from an online craft designer, features pretty white words on a soft blue background. Find similar cardboard deer heads, hurricane vases, and decorative white trees at your local crafts store.

Weeping Cedar Garland Mantel

    Let your imagination soar when it comes to your holiday mantel. Heidi Parson ( received a lot of compliments on her colorful, leopard-lined stockings and weeping cedar garland. Heidi used oversize ornaments to convey strength and cohesion. A glass doorknob adds height and provides a place to hang a pretty wreath.

Bright and Colorful Mantel

    Playful and color-packed at Christmas -- you bet! Mindy Black's ( main focus was to keep her mantel fun and light, which included incorporating felt stockings. She created the cranberry wreath by sticking short toothpicks into real cranberries, securing them with hot glue to a foam wreath.

Oversize Stockings Mantel

    Alysha Cauffman ( wanted to blend warmth and sophistication when she put together her mantel. Fresh greenery from her yard, oversize elf-toe stockings, and classic silver votives made her mantel look both simple and chic. She created her mini wreath by wrapping garland around a foam wreath and attached the ornaments with hot-glue. At the center of it all? Her black-and-white wedding photo.

Metallic Mantel with Greenery

    Touches of metal instantly give any mantel a festive touch. Shauna West ( used a variety of simple silver pieces and filled in the spaces with fresh rosemary and evergreen clippings from her backyard to create her holiday display. Since the mantel is often the focal point of the room, Shauna suggests using items on your mantel that mean something to you, such as a vase or picture, to bring a personal touch to holiday tradition.

Holiday Must-Have: Mantelscape Cookie Cutters

    We love this BHG-exclusive kit with seven custom-designed oversize cutters -- a church, three houses, two squares, a rectangle, and a car.

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