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Decorating: Holiday Mantels

Produced by Jan Currie, Lucy Fitzgerald, and Julianne Hilmes
  • John Bessler

    Decorating for the holidays is a family tradition, and whether your taste is casual or formal, exuberant or minimalist, the fireplace is the focal point of the room and the spot where you can express your distinctive style. Steal these ideas for adding seasonal flourishes to your décor.

    In the middle of a winter, the bright, cheerful colors of fresh fruit liven up any space. Creating tree forms is a unique way to display the fruit; combined with luscious, leafy garland, this mantel treatment is versatile beyond the holidays.

  • Eric Roth

    The shearling stockings on the mantel are embroidered with the family’s names and blend with the neutral color palette of the family room. Pinecones and pearlescent balls are tucked into the green-and-brown garland, continuing the natural color scheme.

    Design: Gerald Pomeroy

  • Eric Roth

    Silver ornaments nestle into the greenery on the mantel and tie the mirror—a regular piece in the home—into the holiday look.  The colors look especially lovely against purple walls.

    Design: Gerald Pomeroy

  • Werner Straube

    Silver and gold garlands of pinecones and leaves offer a celebratory kick to the mantel. The metallic colors are a sophisticated twist on traditional holiday hues.

    Design: Nora Marra

  • John Bessler

    Fresh-cut greens and holly branches mix with large decorative pinecones and pheasant feathers lending woodsy appeal to the mantel and blending with the dark, rustic dining room.

    Design: Lisa Hilderbrand

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Ceramic reindeer, fleur-de-lis stocking holders, and brass candlesticks glow as they nestle into the mantel greenery. A mirror reflects the sparkling Christmas tree just beyond.

  • King Au

    A large, lively display of branches and greenery make this mantel the focus of the room. Bonus: the simple, natural mantel decorations are versatile beyond the Christmas season.

  • William Geddes

    Silver and gold make a glamorous holiday duo. Here, a garland in metallic hues complements the tiled fireplace surround. Perched atop the mantel, the color theme continue. Two miniature trees bring a splash of green.

    Details on the following slide.

  • William Geddes

    It’s not quite chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but a glass bowl filled with the seasonal nuts is a fun, decorative tribute to the holiday classic. Candles in varying sizes bathe the top of the mantel in a flickering light.

  • The green-and-white color combination from the tree is continued on the mantel. Twin candles and paperwhite narcissus flowers flank the fireplace and draw the eyes up towards the wreath.

    Photographer: Alise O’Brien

  • A sweet and colorful way to decorate the mantel is by filling glass containers with hard candies. Red-and-white peppermints add a lovely holiday touch.

    Photographer: Ray Kachatorian

  • White hydrangeas sit atop a garland of pine, while pinecones provide textural variation. Two statuettes of Santa in a brown coat complement the natural hues of the living room.

    Photographer: Werner Straube

  • Against a calm white background, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and green garland stand out. White stockings hanging by the fireplace echo the neutral palette of the room.

    Details on the following slide

    Photographer: Emily Minton Redfield

  • Paperwhite narcissus flowers add height to the arrangement. A vase filled with juicy green pears anchors the mantel.

    Photographer: Emily Minton Redfield

  • Scale is masterfully balanced in this classic living room. Thick ribbon weaves through pine boughs to add weight and texture; creamy knit stockings add subtle winter charm. A bowl of greens and fresh pomegranates complement the living room’s palette.

  • Modest greenery above the mantel makes a beautiful impact on this living room bathed in white. A large round mirror hanging above highlights the silver accents in the garland and elsewhere throughout the room.

    Details on the following slide.

  • Holiday display goes natural with magnolia leaves, spruce, and pinecones accented with silver.

  • This den’s lively palette makes an extra-cozy spot for the holidays. A mantel display of poinsettias adds to the rich crimson around the room. The crackled wallpaper pattern mimics the movement of the fireplace’s flames.

  • Candy red and snowy white make an impact on this holiday hearth. Miniature pine trees and charming ice skates are an ode to snow days gone by. Ribbons add pops of color and interest. For added whimsy, Santa and his reindeer bound over the pine boughs.

  • There’s nothing wrong with having a blue, blue Christmas when a neutral room begs for an alternative holiday color. Sparkly turquoise fabrics invigorate the space with their unexpectedly modern twist. Fresh greens tie together the icy hues with the room’s palette of warm oatmeal and beige.

  • A row of tea light candles nestled among greenery provides a twinkling glow, perfect for subtle mantel décor. Embellished votives and silver accent pieces lend some extra sparkle.

  • A rustic display enhances the cozy comforts of the holidays. Bowls of potpourri, balls of moss, and leather-bound books lend personality. Pinecones add texture while providing a natural departure from the greenery. White lights weaved in among the boughs illuminate the powder snow and make the mantel shine.

  • A subtle mantel display keeps the mood relaxed and soothing in this master bedroom. Soft amber candles twinkle against the gold highlights around the room; an arrangement of thin boughs keeps the focus on elegant design details, like the “Madrid” wall covering from Scalamandré.

  • Lush boughs are draped across a stately mantel in this formal dining space. Classic molding and a marble surround on the hearth contrast with sprigs of wild berries and leaves. Lemons, nuts, and hedge apples add textural interest to the display. Complementing the notes of gold elsewhere in the dining room, the warm tones of these unexpected details offer striking highlights of color.

  • Silver is a timeless choice for holiday décor. Make a statement with sterling, pewter, and other sparkly details. This display utilizes vertical space as well: Stacking ornaments on a tiered display is a great way to balance pieces of varying weights and sizes.

  • Winter details like snowflakes and icy blues are expertly balanced with a tall stone hearth and a warm knotty wood mantel. Stockings hang like icicles above the fireplace; bare branches are arranged in ceramic urns to mimic the blanched boughs outside.

  • Silver and gold decorations are a classic choice for the holidays. Pair with cool blue hues to create an unbeatable décor trifecta. Glass containers filled with multicolored balls are a fabulous way to extend your tree’s motif to other areas of the home.

  • Here sweet details that give a holiday mantel charm. This snowy arrangement features triangular trees made from recycled paper. Tiny snowflakes hang from the mantel for a textural border. Finely powdered “snow” acts as the finishing touch.

  • Elegant simplicity: a garland with lights highlights the dining room's custom fireplace surround, featuring Pewabic tiles made by family members and friends.

    Photographer: John Bessler
    Regional editor: Khristi Zimmeth
    Architect: Alexander V. Bagaerts
    Interior designer: Lucy Earl
    Builder: Thomas Sebold & Assoc.
    Floral designer: Flowers by Gabrielle Reilly, Flowers by Gabrielle

  • Tall, dark, and handsome, this library mantel features natural, woodsy branches, pinecones and simple amaryllis for a punch of color. Roses nearby add a feminine touch to the otherwise masculine library.

  • All is calm, all is bright. Complementing this master bedroom's understated and elegant decor, a garland of unadorned greenery highlights the mantel.

  • Werner Straube

    Fresh swags of handwoven magnolia leaves, cedar mix, winter pods and berries, and sedum mingle on the mantel, showing off a collection of antique and vintage mercury glass balls and contemporary mercury glass Christmas trees.

    Interior designer: Lisa Luby Ryan
    Floral designer: Adam and Alicia Rico
    Holiday greenery: Andrew Lenz and Brenda Lyle

  • Sparkling plenty, the mantel is ready for its close-up.

  • A pair of large mercury glass vases are embellished with a garland of hand-woven magnolia leaves and pine cones, and custom-made iron stocking holders and stockings. The silver tray on the coffee table adds more sparkle, filled with antique and vintage mercury glass candlesticks, vases and Christmas balls. Turquoise and lime colored balls add a chic touch.

  • Quietly pretty holiday stockings are custom-made from vintage French linen.

  • A swath of greenery and silver julep cups filled with white paperwhite narcissus highlight the clean lines of the honed limestone mantel. Adding a pop of color, a silver bowl on the coffee table is filled with fern fronds and amaryllis.

    Photography: John Granen
    Regional editor: Barbara Mundall
    Architect: George T. Myers
    Interior designer: Elizabeth Hague

  • A silvered mirror above the cast stone honed limestone fireplace is part of the pretty mix of silver, gold and white. A boxwood wreath tops the mirror, and a mix of votive candles and julep cups filled with tulips and amaryllis keep things young and light.

  • John Bessler

    All it takes is one if it's the right one. A massive wreath of greenery and shimmery ribbons and bows enlivens an outdoor fireplace wall.


    Regional editor: Khristi Zimmeth
    Architect: Alexander V. Bagaerts
    Interior designer: Lucy Earl
    Floral designer: Flowers by Gabrielle Reilly, Flowers by Gabrielle

  • For the holiday season, gold branches and candles and a sprawling swag of greenery highlight the fireplace with festive charm. Ornaments dangle at varying heights, and gold-painted trees stand sentinel at either end of the mantel, playing off the antique mirror and gold-framed antique prints.

    Photographer: Gordon Beall
    Regional editor: Eileen Deymier
    Interior designers: Mary Southworth and Kevin Boksha
    Floral designer: Jozef Cross

  • Magnolia leaves, pears, and copper-colored glass balls create a masculine library garland, a perfect complement to the wood paneling, raffia wallpaper, and antique mirror.

    Photographer: Bruce Buck
    Regional editor: Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Interior designer: Gerald Pomeroy
    Floral designer: Daniel Lopez-Ospina and Jeb Taylor

  • Cedar branches and magnolia leaves woven together in an unexpected shape add interest to the mantel and form a base for an arrangement laden with fresh fruit and more magnolia sprays.

    Photographer: Eric Roth
    Regional editor: Eileen Deymier
    Interior designers: Richard Bradshaw and Matt Overstreet

  • Natural accents highlight the home's impressive limestone fireplace and antique iron chandelier. Bare branches and sprigs of evergreen bring in the holidays while accentuating the room's understated elegance.

    Photographer: Colleen Duffley
    Regional editor: Barbara Mundall
    Architect: Mark Candelaria
    Interior designer: Joan Colangelo

  • During the holidays the homeowner displays her collections of Santas on the mantel of the family room's massive river-rock fireplace. To add texture to the decorations, she uses traditional greenery mixed with dried berries and flowers.

    Photographer: Jenifer Jordan
    Regional editor: Mindy Pantiel
    Architect: Phil Pokorny
    Interior designer: Lane Elizabeth Oliver

  • Unusual mantels provide an opportunity for dramatic treatment. A huge Della Robbia wreath of apples, pears, berries, nuts, pinecones, and fresh evergreen bows forms a focal point for the family room. The wreath type was named after the 15th century Italian sculptor who framed his subjects in flowers and fruit.

    Photographer: Jon Jensen
    Regional editor: Barbara Mundall
    Interior designer: Mary Roberts

  • Dried hydrangeas, pomegranates, oranges, and magnolia leaves adorn an oversized wreath while yellow and rust-colored garlands and needlepoint stockings enliven the living-room mantel.

    Photographer: Gordon Beall
    Regional editor: Eileen Deymier
    Architect: John Milner
    Interior designers: Courtney Coleman and Bill Brockschmidt

  • To complement the formal dining room, the homeowner chose elaborate holiday decorations, including masses of red poinsettias on the sideboard, red roses on the table, and a fresh evergreen garland with red berries on the mantel.

    Photographer: Eric Roth
    Regional editor: Eileen Deymier
    Interior designer: Richard Bradshaw and Matt Overstreet

  • A simple pinecone studded wreath and a garland woven with pinecones give the plantation dining room a warm, inviting look for the holidays.

    Photographer: Gordon Beall

  • Cuttings of evergreens, magnolia, rose hips, bare branches, and pinecones that came from the homeowner's farm create an elaborate natural treatment that complements the wood-paneled library.

    Photographer: Eric Roth
    Regional editor: Eileen Deymier
    Interior designers: Richard Bradshaw and Matt Overstreet

  • Red plaid ribbons and bright red decorations, including a collection of whimsical dragonflies and butterflies that have alighted on the mantel swag offer a jolly contrast to the restrained elegance of the sage-green wood paneling. Fanciful Father Christmas figures flank the hearth.

    Photographer: Gordon Beall
    Regional editor: Eileen Deymier
    Interior designers: Mary Southworth and Kevin Boksha
    Floral designer: Jozef Cross, Designs by Jozef

  • Tria Giovan

    The bedroom's holiday touches--garlanded topiaries and delicate wreaths on the mantel--are restrained and elegant, enhancing the serene mood of the room.

    Regional editor: Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Interior designer: Robin Pelissier

  • When adding seasonal touches to the living room mantel, the designer chose to forgo the traditional holiday colors and highlight the tones in the painting. The greenery, pinecones, and glass balls are casually interrupted by silver finials in varying heights that add interest.

    Photographer: Bruce Buck
    Regional editor: Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Interior designer: Gerald Pomeroy
    Floral designer: Daniel Lopez-Ospina and Jeb Taylor

  • Mirroring colors in the walls and the painting, fresh coral and gold Dendrobium orchids glow in an extravagant mantel decoration: a lush garland of the orchids interwoven with magnolia leaves. Orchids fashioned into topiaries stand high on the mantel.

    Photographer: Bruce Buck
    Regional editor: Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Interior designer: Gerald Pomeroy
    Floral designer: Daniel Lopez-Ospina and Jeb Taylor

  • Neutral tones in the fresh greenery and orchids give holiday distinction to the elaborately carved antique Venetian mirror.

    Photographer: Emily Minton-Redfield
    Regional editor: Hilary Rose
    Interior designer: Eva Quateman

  • In the pastel-toned bedroom a swag of greenery and pinecone warms the mantel, while a bowl full of lilies and white pillar candles in crystal holders of varying heights echo the room's muted colors and create a serene holiday setting.

    Photographer: Gordon Beall
    Regional editor: Hilary Rose
    Architect: John Forehand
    Interior designers: Barbara Svihla and Olivia Paxton

  • Complementing the neutral tones of the living room, white holiday flowers bring formal balance to the mantel, which is also graced by architectural finds and a reproduction Charleston mirror.

    Photographer: Colleen Duffley
    Stylist: Sheila Potter
    Regional editor: Lynn McBride
    Interior designer: Jo Kelly Edwards

  • For an unusual and fragrant holiday decoration, the homeowner wove a garland of pink rosebuds and fresh evergreens.

    Photographer: Eric Roth
    Regional editor: Eileen Deymier
    Interior designer: Richard Bradshaw and Matt Overstreet

  • To add a seasonal touch to a modern and minimal slate fireplace, the homeowner chose simple sprigs of greenery and stark architectural shapes. Ivy topiaries soften the mantel.

    Photographer: Michael Partenio
    Regional editor: Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Designer: Janis Aldridge

  • Evergreen boughs and small Christmas-tree shapes complement the rustic cupboards and oak-slab mantel that frame the fireplace in the great room.

    Photographer: Jenifer Jordan
    Architect: Chuck Postumus
    Regional editor: Amy Muzzy Malin
    Interior designers/homeowners: Lynda and Tom Clement
    Floral designer: Ralph's Garden

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