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A Designer's Guide to Decorating a Mantel

Updated: Feb 29

By Sarah Fuhrman

The holiday season is just around the corner, which means it’s our favorite time of year over at Hem Collective. Your mantel serves as a focal point in your living space, making it the perfect place to unleash your creativity and delve into your holiday spirit. The mantel is a great place to decorate all year round and let your guests know who you and your home aspire to be. In this blog, we'll explore some tips and ideas to help you decorate your mantel for the holidays.

Step one: Choose a Theme

Hem Holidays is here to help with this step. We are offering Glam, Organic and Scandinavian themed boxes to help get you started. In each box for the mantel, you will receive 4-6 decorative elements including garlands, vases, candles, and decorative objects. Perhaps you are a more traditional decorator wanting more classic holiday colors and decorations, or maybe you are more like me who gravitates toward the glitz and glam of the season with glitter and gold adorning my mantel. Which brings us to our next step…

Step Two: Start with the Base Layer

Begin with draping the garland along the length of the mantel, securing it in place using hooks or clips. Depending on the theme you have chosen, your garland may be the more traditional greenery or perhaps this year you’ve chosen to shake things up with a gold faux branch. Either option you choose, I suggest adding a layer of string lights to the garland or greenery to add a warm inviting glow. Weave the lights through or drape them along the mantel’s edge.

Step Three: Incorporate Ornaments and Baubles

Holiday ornaments are not just for the Christmas tree. You can use them to add a festive touch to your mantel as well. Hang them from the garland or arrange them in a decorative bowl or vase. This is an excellent way to tie your tree and mantel decor together.

Step Four: Add Height

Now we have our mantel covered with garlands, lights, and ornaments, time to add some dimension. Taper candles are a great way to add some height. Candles instantly create a cozy ambiance. I am a lover of candles the whole year. The holidays finally give me a good excuse to place candles all over the house. Place candleholders of different heights along the mantel and insert holiday-themed candles. Of course, be cautious of flames and consider placement if you have anything hanging above your mantel, LED candles are a great option for safety. Candles are not the only way to add height, brush trees are a fun way to not only add height but also play with color. If you are going with a more traditional theme your trees can be red and green but if you are stepping out of the box this season, consider adding pink and gold brush trees.

Step Five: Personalize Your Display

This step is optional and can mean different things to everyone. Maybe you've added personal ornaments already or perhaps the colors you've chosen are already personal enough and you prefer to keep your decor free of family photos. At my mom's house, this is when all the photos of my sister and I sitting on Santa's lap come out and adorn the mantel. Having been a ballet dancer in my former life, we have many Nutcrackers sitting in the garage waiting to have their mantel moment. The Nutcrackers also help add to the height from the step above.

warm glow, fireplace, holiday mantel, by interior decorator Hem Collective

Optional Step Six: Finishing Touches

Once you have stepped back to admire your now beautifully holiday-themed mantel, decide if you would like to sprinkle some faux snow or added glitz to your mantel for even more winter magic.


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