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Decorating a Christmas Mantel

Sometimes I have to laugh about the whole “blogging” life — I was looking through for ideas yesterday and in four different places I unexpectedly happened upon pictures of various rooms in my own house from the past few Christmases, featured in their idea books. I did a double take!

Of course, I had given them permission to use the photos and ideas when they asked last summer, but it still catches me off guard to see my OWN house on Hmmm. I am now getting ideas from myself. {I’m a little crazier than I thought.}

Update: this mantel was also featured in Cottages & Bungalow Magazine!

Last year for my mantel, as you can see in the above photo (and in the HGTV idea book), I went with limey green apples and sparkly vines mixed with shiny blue and silver. I wanted my mantel to look fresh and pretty.

I used some of the same decorating principles for my Christmas mantel that I use on ordinary days. Here are some tips:

Mix things up

I love mixing up things that you might not ordinarily think of putting together (in this case, lime green apples, blue shiny Christmas balls on glass candlesticks and sparkly faux greenery in conjunction with the rustic willow wreath, shutters and black lanterns). You might mix styles, objects or themes to come up with something entirely unique for your own for your holiday mantel! You’ll never know what might work until you try it!

Add texture and contrast

For my mantel, I tried to add lots of texture and contrast (such as the shiny blue balls and sparkly greenery to contrast with the rustic twigs in the willow wreath). Texture and contrast added the warmth and timelessness that I love with a bit of sparkle and fun that feels fresh and new.

Be authentic and meaningful

To personalize our stockings, I tucked my grandma’s antique doilies around the cuffs. This detail gave our Pottery Barn white quilted stockings a little more history and a personal touch. Doilies are not expected in the mantel mix, but that just makes it more fun and authentic to me. I’ve had those doilies for years and years so it made me happy to see them on our stockings! I use them most every Christmas in different ways. Tying in meaningful objects from your past makes your style unique and personal.

Have fun being creative

This Christmas, my mantel is really different once again! I’d say it is more of a rustic woodland natural look. I’ll hopefully get photos and a post about it soon, I’m sorry to leave you hanging on last year’s mantel (you already saw a sneak peek of the garland here!).

I always have fun finding new ways to express my own style. I want to be authentic in my style, yet have it look different and interesting from year to year so I don’t get in a rut! Creativity is fun like that, let yourself try something new and unexpected this year!

What unique ideas or items are you using for your mantel this Christmas?

Related post: Tip for hanging garland and wreaths


Decorating a Christmas Mantel

This week’s posts on The Inspired Room are sponsored by the wonderful Red Letter Words. Dee is offering a discount code this week for your holiday shopping! Yay!
15% off through Friday (not valid on custom prints or print of the month)
coupon code INRM15


  1. Lynn from For Love or Funny

    For some reason, I’m really struggling with my Xmas mantle this season; it looks blah – but I’ll try your suggestions and see if I can jazz it up!

  2. Shannon

    Oh, how I wish I had a mantle!

  3. Estela

    I love decorating my mantle. I’m trying not to go overboard this year :)

  4. Jess

    I have a faux mantel and it has been difficult some times to figure out what I should do with it! I am going to be using your tips though!! :)

  5. Deanna

    I am going with a simple look this year, natural mostly.

    I do the same as you – a mix of textures; smooth and shiny with rough and woody, etc…

    I vary the heights of things on the shelfs or mantles as well. Makes for better “eye” flow!

  6. Traci

    Great advice… I don’t have a mantle yet… but when I do, I will use this great advice. Love, Traci

  7. SimplyLKJ

    Currently working on our mantle. Love all of your suggestions!

  8. Franki Parde

    I use doilies all the time…they remind me of snowflakes. Love the Christmas stocking idea! franki

  9. heidi

    looks just lovely – congrats on the HG feature, that’s awesome!

  10. Jennifer

    I loved this mantle! With December right here, I am struggling to find time to decorate, much less plan a mantle. Thanks for the inspiration to give me a swift kick in the pants.

  11. Christine

    I so wish I had a mantel. I have a console table and decorate that! Love the post though!

  12. Bonnie Mattson

    Hi Melissa!

    I was inspired to get it done early this year and done more simply that before. Just as I was finishing I found out our 3 year old granddaughter is very seriously ill and in the hospital and needing many prayers. I shudder to think what it would be like right now with the house totally torn up and boxes everywhere. I am glad I listened to that prompting to keep it more simple and get it done. Now it just feels peaceful and orderly and is helping me get through this crisis.

  13. Barbara (WA)

    “I am now getting ideas from myself.” Love it !

  14. Jenn L

    Congrats on the HGTV lovin’! These were some fabulous tips – thanks!


  15. Karen


    I love the idea using the doilies—I have never really had a place for them but have saved them knowing how much time my mom and others put into crocheting them…great idea.

    I have nutcrackers on my mantle every year but maybe I need to mix it up a bit.

  16. Marigold

    How cool is that? finding your own beautiful photos on HGtv’s ‘Idea book’…not surprised Melissa, you have a knack and a very gifted eye my friend :) xo

  17. danamc

    This year I have a faux mantle shelf. I plan on decorating it with rustic elements – twine will be a big player!

  18. Lisa

    Melissa, I saw some of your photos on too! That is so cool! I love your cream Christmas stockings. Ours are super colorful but the kids love them so they’re staying….even though I’m dreaming of a white (mantle decorated for) Christmas! Thanks for sharing your great ideas.

  19. Sue

    I really love those stockings! I like to mix different textures and styles together. I just finished my holiday mantel and placed some succulents on contemporary candlesticks. Not traditional, by any means, but I tend to like the unique. :-)
    ~ Sue

  20. Vee

    What a kick! You have such a fun way of expressing it, too…”Hmmm. I am now getting ideas from myself. {I’m a little crazier than I thought.}” Hahahahahaha… It’s a beautiful mantel and is rightly featured at HGTV.

  21. Regina

    I really wish I had a mantle. I have an 11 month old that is walking and I have hung the stockings on the bottom of my entertainment center. I wonder how long before I have to move them?

  22. Amanda

    I just wanted to let you know that I am your newest follower!


  23. Darlene

    great inspiration, as usual!!!
    so funny about HGTV!

  24. Myra

    I love decorating my mantel for all seasons, but I’m especially thrilled with how it turned out this year. I literally bought NOTHING this year and used everything that I have. Your advice is spot on for decorating mantels! :)


  25. Fiona's Mosaic

    I have done the same thing when I walked into someone’s house and saw my photos up on their wall! I was like, “Whoa! I did that.”

    I tell people the same thing about photos, add texture whenever you can, it adds so much to the look.

    I love the stockings with the doilies! Crisp, and clean, but loaded with charm! Perfect!

  26. Richella

    Must be exciting to see your own house “in print”!

    I don’t think you’re crazy to be getting ideas from yourself. I think you’re brilliant!

  27. Susan MacEwen

    Wow! I bet that is exciting to see your own place in a book or on t.v. It would make me feel very giddy… and thanks for sharing your ideas!

  28. angela

    wow, this is so weird. I just “searched” christmas mantels earlier this evening looking for ideas for my new house. I’ve moved into a large home with a fireplace for the first time since my husband and I were married over 15 years ago, so I need to add to my repertoire. I landed on the HGTV site and flipped through those pics, saving a couple in my “house decorating ideas” folder on my laptop. My first save? the picture, above, of your mantel apparently. I saved it because it’s much like what I’ve done in an area of my last house- but it wasn’t holiday specific and I liked what you’d done to make it work for a christmas mantel. Later I went back to my search results and clicked on this page because I thought that the name of your blog looked promising for ideas. I guess I was right! ;) It was very funny to see that same picture again as I scrolled down. Great job. I might just follow your blog too.

    • Melissa

      That is great! I hope you’ll come back to visit!! :-)



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