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Decorating a Mantel for Winter

Six décor ideas for taking you through the cold months

While a mantel is often a prime spot for holiday decorations, once the new year rolls around this living room accent is often back to looking just as it did the previous fall. 

Rather than resorting to the same old, same old, why not embrace the colder months by curating an inviting display that keeps your mantle “in season” until the first signs of spring call for a change.

Here are six tips to get you started. 


Tone things down

Warm neutrals, such as creamy whites, tans, beiges and blue/green grays are a soothing reprieve from high-energy reds and gold. Try mantle décor solely in that palette, with green or silver accents for pops of color.


White stone fireplace with pompas in a white vase Pair creamy white with tan for a relaxing vibe

Feature a swag

Speaking of green, why not leave your holiday garland in place, sans balls, stockings and nutcrackers? Or swap it out for a garland with winter-like berries, or even something a little more out-of-the-box, like eucalyptus.

White fire place with gray walls and greenery accent on mantel Keep that wintery feeling with your holiday swag.

Add some blooms

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beauty of flowers. And while African violets are cheery, they seem a bit out of place in a winter display. Instead, try your hand at forcing bulbs—specifically, paperwhites. Their dainty, daffodil-like blooms have a slight scent and they’re easy to force indoors (you don’t need to chill them before planting, the way you do with other types of bulbs).

Light blue vase with white orchids and a blue accent wall behind it Force paperwhites to bring the outdoors in.

Include faux animals

Woodland critters, such as deer, owls, raccoons and foxes, add a touch of whimsy to a winter mantel. Available in all kinds of materials, from resin and felt to sisal and tin, they’re the perfect complement for a cold-weather scene.

Incorporate natural textures

You can’t go wrong by adding pinecones—that ubiquitous symbol of chilly temps—to a winter mantel. Whether tucked here and there into some greenery or displayed in a clear glass vase, pinecones provide texture and an organic form.

Green pine vine on wooden fireplace mantel with brown tuck in seed pods for accent Tuck in seed pods for extra texture.

Light it up

The finishing touch for a winter mantle is light—whether it’s in the form of tiny white string lights, LED candles or even a mirror or two (for reflecting the natural light in your room). The key is to keep it simple: string lights or candles paired with a mirror look lovely; using all three together looks like you went overboard.

dark brown glass votive candles on a granite white plate on a fireplace mantel Add illumination for soothing ambiance.

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