Holiday Mantel Decor Tips for Festive, DIY Style

Decorating for the Holiday is fun and easy.

Decorating holiday mantel and centerpiece designs help you create a uniform theme. There are many creative designs you can choose. Visit online floral shops and craft suppliers for inspiration and create your own unique designs.

Decide On a Theme

The first thing you'll want to do is decide on a theme. The most popular choices are:

  • Traditional - Red ribbons and greenery such as holly or pine
  • Modern - Purple and gold, teal and silver, pink and white, or other colors
  • Season specific - Santa, reindeer, carolers, etc.
  • Religious - Angels, crosses, nativity scenes, or other religious icons
  • Nostalgic -1920s, Dickinson, Colonial Williamsburg, and others

Design Styles to Consider

  • Decoration Forms - Such as the apple cone used in Colonial Williamsburg. Add fruit (apples and oranges are popular choices) and greenery (holly, boxwood, magnolia leaves). Use as table and mantel centerpieces.
  • Cascade - This starts at the center and travels down the table, tapering to a point.
  • Garlands and Garland Runners - Used on mantel and down center of a table
  • Wreaths - Above the mantel and also on the table with a large candle or cluster of candles in the center.

How to Determine Size of Design

Once you decide on the theme, you need to determine the finished size of your designs. There are several things to consider when selecting the size of your centerpiece and the overall size of your mantel decoration.


  • Tabletop size - Keep your centerpiece and mantel decorations to proper scale. If your display is too large for the size of your table, it'll make your guests feel crowded and uncomfortable. The height of the centerpiece is also important. You don't want your guests unable to see each other because of the decorations.
  • Place settings - Consider how many people sit at the table and the number of meals served using the same centerpiece. Keep in mind that a large portion of your tabletop is needed for place settings, salt and pepper shakers, and any serving dishes.
  • Lighting - Make sure your centerpiece shows up at night. This may require adding battery operated miniature lights placed within the greenery, especially if you're using a cascade or garland centerpiece.


You can achieve a uniform look to your overall design by using the same materials in both your table centerpiece and mantel decoration. A duplicate design should be kept to scale with the mantel size. You don't want the decorations appearing to fall off of the mantel. Neither should it be too small for the mantel. Be mindful of scale and proportion.

If using red ribbons in the centerpiece then also use red ribbons in the mantel design - same thing for the motifs and ornaments. If you use gold tapered candles on the table, use the same or larger candles on the mantel.

Decorating Holiday Mantel and Centerpiece Designs

You can create your own design or buy pre-made arrangements to modify into a unique design. Planning ahead is the key to successful designs.

Use various ornaments

Repeat Design Elements

Include same design elements in both the mantel and centerpiece decorations. Gold cherubs spaced among lighted greenery on the mantel can also be used in your table decoration. Ribbons, ornaments and other objects used in the table centerpiece will be used in the mantel design.

Don't Forget the Candles

Add candles to your centerpiece and mantel to give a dramatic effect. Choose a color to go with the overall design. Red, gold, silver, or white candles make excellent choices. Non-drip candles are a must.

Tablecloth Makes a Difference

Select the right tablecloth or placemats to match or back-drop your masterpiece.

Things to consider:

  • Color - Choose one that complements the centerpiece. Don't select one that competes with the centerpiece.
  • Design - If you use greenery of pine needles and pine cones, then a white tablecloth works well to show off the texture and color. Even a tablecloth with a pine needle design that repeats the theme can work as long as the design isn't too big or too bold.

When using greenery, avoid a solid green tablecloth. Your centerpiece will be lost in all the green. Choose red, silver, gold, or white.

Putting It All Together

Now that you've selected or made your centerpiece and arrangement for the mantel, you're ready to assemble it into a magnificent holiday display.

Centerpiece should be low enough so guests can see each other

Table Centerpiece

  • Spread out the tablecloth before assembling your centerpiece. Iron out wrinkles. It's important to take the time to make sure your tablecloth is crisp and clean.
  • Place the centerpiece on top of the cloth.
  • Use miniature lights in a centerpiece and weave through the greenery. You want only the bulbs to show whenever possible.
  • Add candles. If using various heights, keep the taller ones closest to the center. Keep your design symmetrical using the same number of candles on either side. Make sure the candle holders are large enough to catch any melted wax overflow or drippings.
  • Arrange any cascades of greenery toward each end of the table, tapering the ends to a smaller width. Stop one or two place settings from the end of the table. Remember if you are not serving buffet style, you must allow for serving dishes.
  • Next, place any ornaments, motifs or decorations within the greenery.
  • Add any ribbons, glitter or special effects.
  • Set the table with china, silverware, and crystal.

Leave the room and then return. What is your first impression? Adjust your design so it's balanced and gives a cohesive look to your table.

Mantel Decoration

Repeat the design of your table decoration.

  • String lights within the greenery
  • Assemble other elements of your design
  • Add candles, ribbons and ornaments
  • If celebrating Christmas, add stockings with special mantel hooks hidden underneath the greenery.

Enjoy Your Decorations

Decorating Holiday Mantel and Centerpiece designs are fun and can be enjoyed throughout the holiday season.

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Holiday Mantel Decor Tips for Festive, DIY Style