When the weather outside is frightful, nothing brings your family and friends together like a warm, crackling fire. To prep your hearth to be the star of the show this holiday season, make sure your mantel shelf looks the part. This year, think beyond stockings: get creative and have fun with unique decorations and themes to make your mantel memorable. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Pick a theme.
To keep your mantel looking purposeful, stick to a theme. Go as specific or as unique as you wish!
- Try a monochromatic look with all-white decor for a snow-covered look.
- Go crazy with plaid, using different patterns within the same color scheme for a masculine and traditional look.
- Opt for something more natural with dried cedar garland, faux berry branches, and a sprinkling of pine cones.
- Or, use the space to display a collection that doesn’t get the attention it deserves all year long. Showcase your dreidel or Santa figurines, a vintage nativity set, or colorful paper mache ornaments.
2. Layer it up.
The key to an eye-catching design is the art of layering. Add different textures, heights, and types of decor to keep things interesting.
First, lay a foundation for your mantlescape by laying faux greenery or draping a cozy holiday fabric along the mantel, such as a warm gingham or rich plaid. Next, group taller decor along the mantel before adding even more height by hanging a wreath, antique mirror, or vintage sign. Finally, tuck votives or twinkle lights along the shelf and between your decor to add light and a finishing touch to your beautifully decorated mantel.
3. Mix and match.
Switch up the type of materials and finishes you use. This, too, adds interest to your mantel and gives it the Instagram-worthy look your guests will love. Holiday decor lends itself to beautiful materials, so this shouldn’t be a challenge. Try to add at least three of the following materials to your mantel this year:
4. Add a personal touch.
We all love a good holiday haul from Homegoods or Target, but to make your home feel personalized for each holiday, always add in a sentimental item like a photo or keepsake item. Here are a few ideas to inspire your design:
- Add an old family photo from holidays past to a beautiful silver photo frame. Add a photo of your child on Santa’s lap, a vintage snapshot of a beloved family member in the snow, or a past ski trip. Keep it safe in a gilt or antiqued silver frame.
- Display handmade decorations from your kiddos. Precious handmade ornaments are are priceless — especially if your kids are teenagers or have flown the coop. Display these sweet mementos in shadow boxes to preserve the memories.
- Frame a family-favorite recipe. Every family has a special addition to their holiday table, whether it’s dad’s challah or your aunt’s famous truffles. Give the special dish the attention it deserves by framing a handwritten recipe card to serve as the ideal conversation starter.
5. Start with the right foundation.
If your mantel feels tired, looks dated, or doesn’t match your modern decor, it’s time for an upgrade. When it comes to simple-to-install wood fireplace shelves, our pick is Dogberry fireplace mantels. They’re the perfect canvas for your holiday decor.
The real wood shelves come fully assembled and are an easy DIY project for the average family handyman. In just an hour, or less, you can make your fireplace a relaxing and enjoyable focal point all year long. And, luckily, an upgrade to a Dogberry mantel doesn’t come with high price tags. Their gorgeous Weathered Beam mantel — one of our favorites — starts at just $157 (with shipping and necessary hardware included).
Use these tips to give your mantel a makeover before the holiday get-togethers begin. And don’t forget to tag us at @familyhandyman to share your design!