There aren’t many rules when it comes to decorating for the holidays, but there is one that seems universally understood. If you have a fireplace, you hang stockings by the chimney with care. For those lucky enough to have a fireplace in their homes, it often becomes the place for guests to gather. As a natural focal point, fireplaces and mantels make the perfect base for your favorite Christmas decorations. It can be hard to know where to start, so here are some of our best tips for how to decorate your mantel for Christmas.

1) Start with a focal pointhow to decorate your mantel

When it comes to Christmas decor, there are so many options it can be hard to know where to start. We recommend starting with a focal point that you want to draw the most attention to. This can be something as simple as stockings hung from the mantel. Their color and size can set the tone for the rest of your decorations. If you have a lot of vertical space above your fireplace, consider placing a wreath or mirror to center on the wall.

2) Layer in some greenery

Whether you arrange it across the top of your mantel, create graceful swoops along the front, or let it drape down the sides, adding some greenery can create a sense of fullness on your mantel. We love fresh balsam for its scent–what’s more quintessentially Christmas than the scent of fresh balsam or pine? If balsam is too dense for the design you have in mind, don’t be afraid to explore other evergreen options. White pine branches have long, thin pine needles that create a more delicate look, and cedar branches feature more fern-like greenery. Don’t be afraid to flip the traditional color scheme either. Red berry branches (known as bittersweet) are a festive change worth trying if you’re aiming for a more minimal mantel this year.

3) Add some light

Whether it’s small, twinkling lights or snowball-sized bulbs, add some light to your mantel. You can purchase pre-lit garland, or find festive lighting to add on your own, but we highly recommend you don’t skip this step. Whether you choose white or multicolored lights, the glow will add an element of warmth to your fireplace, even if you don’t have a fire burning. You could even feature candles in your mantel decor, but if lighting them, be sure to keep them slightly separate from flammable decor, and don’t leave them unattended.

4) Play with height and dimension christmas pillar candles

A mantel is basically a long, flat shelf, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring! You don’t have to make everything symmetrical if you don’t want. It’s your mantel, you get to choose what looks good. As you choose your accents, try picking elements that are different in height and shape. This will add visual interest to your decorations and help to bring an otherwise flat space to life.

5) Add accents as you Decorate your Mantel

mosser glass christmas itemsThe options to accent your mantel are only limited by your imagination. Glass or metallic accents add extra sparkle to your decorations. Consider adding red carnations for vibrant pop of color, or a few pinecones for a more earthy feel. Bows, mini-trees, nutcrackers, and ornaments you’d normally hang on your tree are all great accent pieces and are a great way to express your personality. Display your Christmas cards or family photos right along with your favorite decorations for a sweet and personalized finish.

As you can see, there are endless options for decorating your mantel. We hope our tips to decorate your mantel were helpful. We’d love to see how yours turns out! Tag @vermontcountrystore in your Christmas decor photos on Facebook or Instagram so we can take a look!