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How to Design an Elegant Christmas Mantel

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Today we are going to learn how to design an elegant Christmas mantel with an easy step-by-step process! Let’s create some Christmas magic and build this Christmas garland from scratch.

Elegant Christmas mantel in a living room.

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How to Decorate a Christmas Mantel

There is more to creating an elegant Christmas mantel than simply hanging garland on a mantle. However, creating a layered Christmas mantel isn’t difficult!

How to make a Christmas mantel pinterest pin.

Today I’m going to share my step by step process and Christmas decorating tips to show you how easy it is to design a showstopper Christmas mantel garland.

Additionally, today 20 of my talented friends are also sharing their beautiful mantels as part of the Seasonal Simplicity blog hop hosted by Krista from The Happy Housie! Make sure to check out all of their inspiring mantels linked at the end of this post.

20 Inspiring Christmas Mantel Ideas

Key Elements of an Elegant Christmas Mantel

First, let’s start by studying what key elements make up an elegant Christmas mantel.

  1. A Variety of Garlands
  2. Faux Stems
  3. Faux Picks
  4. Accents and Embellishments
  5. Lights
  6. Stockings
Stockings hung on a mantel.

All of these key elements will be part of the actual mantel garland. Additionally, you can add Christmas fireplace decor on top of the mantel.

Here are some examples of fireplace mantel Christmas decor ideas:

  • Tabletop Pine Trees
  • Bottlebrush Trees
  • Candles
  • Globes
  • Books
  • Artwork
  • Wreaths
  • Mirrors
  • Star
  • Pinecones
  • Themed items like rustic cabin or woodland accents.
  • Seasonal accents like snowmen, elves, reindeer…etc.
Christmas decor on the mantel.

How to Create a Cohesive Mantel

As you are gathering the items you want to use to decorate your Christmas mantel, keep in mind cohesiveness.

Elegant Christmas garland with a Christmas tree.

Mixing and matching different greenery is a great way to add interest and movement to your mantel.

However, you want to be sure that the additional elements you incorporate mesh well to create a curated look. To do so, use some of these strategies as you plan your Christmas mantel decor.

  • Stick to a color scheme of 2 main coordinating colors and 1 contrasting color.
    • My mantel color scheme is green and gold with white accents.
  • Choose a theme to work from and focus your decor around. Some options are:
    • Winter Wonderland
    • Woodland
    • Nature Rustic
    • Around the World
    • Elegant
    • Whimsical
    • Vintage/Old Fashioned
    • Romantic
  • Sometimes cohesiveness means adding more and sometimes it means taking away. If it’s feeling off, try removing elements to tone it down.
Christmas mantel swag.

How to Hang Garland on a Mantle

Once you’ve gathered all of your materials, it’s time to decorate your Christmas fireplace mantel!

If you’d like to see this mantel come together in real time, make sure to check out my YouTube video!

YouTube video

The first step to hanging garland on a mantel is choosing the proper method of securing it.

Elegant Christmas mantel decor.

There are a few ways to hang garland on a mantel, but it depends on what type of mantel you have. The construction will determine what method you must use, but here are some options.

  1. Command hooks
  2. Metal Stocking Holders
  3. Fireplace Stocking AND Garland Hanger (Two in One)
  4. Adjustable Stocking and Garland Hanger

Since I have a 100 year old barn beam mantel, I simply use nails. My mantel has tons of marks and character from natural aging, so small nail holes don’t impact it negatively.

Christmas mantel at night.

Next, it’s all about the layering!

There are a variety of ways to hang a garland on a mantel. You can hang it asymmetrically, which I teach you how to do in this post.

Or you can layer it swag style, like I’m doing today. For this method, start with your longest garland first.

Layering holiday mantel garland.

Secure it on both sides and in the middle, if necessary.

Next, add another contrasting garland that is the same length. (See image above for progression.)

After that, layer on a substantial garland in the center. Then, drape each side with thicker garland so the draped sides aren’t sparse.

Add as many garlands as you’d like to get the fullness desired. My mantel has 5 full garlands on it.

Fireplace mantel.

Layer in Embellishments, Stems and Picks

Once you’ve secured all the garland, you can fill in holes or gaps with stems and picks.

Stems and picks on a garland.

I always use a variety of greens and florals. This year, I’ve included the following accents throughout the garland.

Mantel with a mirror.

And finally, I added a strand of battery operated twinkle lights.

More Christmas Decor for Mantel Styling

Now that the garland is complete, let’s talk about how to style the top of the mantel.

Below you’ll see four options at varying levels from plain to elaborate. I love how layering allows you to choose how simple or intricate you want the final look to be.

To top it all off, I used a beautiful arched mirror and pampas wreath as the focal point. Of course, I love having my Christmas tree beside my fireplace for that extra magical glow.

Final Christmas mantel.

After Thanksgiving our family always gets a real tree and we decorate it family style. For now, this faux tree holds it’s place.

Bottle brush trees on a mantel.

This year I really went fairly elaborate on my Christmas mantel compared to years past! I love the extra cozy glow it offers. You can check out some of my other Christmas mantels for more inspiration below.

  1. How-To Style Asymmetrical Christmas Garland
  2. Stone Fireplace Star Christmas Mantel
  3. Christmas Mantel With Lighted Garland

Stay Connected

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, of sorts.

You can follow along with me daily on Instagram and weekly on YouTube for more DIYs, design tips and decorating tricks to come!

Sarah Signature

20 More Christmas Mantels That Inspire

As I mentioned, today I’m joining some of my talented blogging friends who are also sharing their Christmas Mantel Decor Ideas with you as well. Be sure to visit their posts by clicking on the links below the images.

Snowy Natural Rustic Christmas Mantel Decor at The Happy Housie

Asymmetrical Christmas Mantel Garland at Maison de Pax

How to Create a Gorgeous Full Christmas Mantel Garland at Maison de Cinq

How to Design an Elegant Christmas Mantel at Grace In My Space

Festive Farmhouse Holiday Mantel Decor at She Gave it a Go

Colorful Holiday Bedroom Mantel at Tatertots and Jello

Classic Burgundy and Silver Mantel at Deeply Southern Home

A Traditional Red and Silver Christmas Mantel at Sincerely, Marie Designs

Elegant Holiday Mantel with Candlesticks at Modern Glam

Console Table Holiday Mantel at Rooms for Rent

How to Decorate a Rustic Christmas Mantel at The Tattered Pew

Neutral Christmas Mantel with Green Garland at Taryn Whiteaker Designs

Red and White Modern Holiday Mantel at This is Simplicite

Winter Wonderland Christmas Mantel Ideas at Clean and Scentsible

Asymmetrical Christmas Mantel Ideas at Life is a Party

Our Outdoor Fireplace at Christmas at This is Our Bliss

A Christmas Village Mantel at A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

An Elegant Christmas Mantel at Rambling Renovators

Green and Gold Neutral Holiday Mantel at Joanna Anastasia

Warm and Elegant Holiday Mantel at Life is Better at Home


  1. I love how you layered so many different types of greenery to create this look! The bottle brush trees and candlesticks are the perfect touch … so very beautifully done!

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