By Hebe Hatton
An empty mantle over the holiday is a sad mantle. These spaces were made to be draped in evergreen, covered in twinkling lights, and adorned with ornaments. Christmas fireplace decor ideas are some of the simplest, most effective, and most enjoyable to create too. No having to evenly spread fairy lights around a tree and check each bauble is in the right spot, you can create the most beautiful looks with things you can just forage from your garden.
If you're a traditionalist, we have plenty of lovely looks that are all about the evergreen, but we've found some more unusual contemporary Christmas decorating ideas too that are perfect if you are going maximalist this Christmas. And for the minimalists, we've seen a big trend for simple, asymmetric looks that would perfectly suit a more clutter-free aesthetic.
Stylish Christmas fireplace decor ideas for every style
Whether you want to be inspired to break with tradition or just looking for ways to spruce up your tried and tested designs, we've pulled together all our favorite looks to help you decide on themes, color schemes, and more...
1. Add unexpected pops of color amongst the greenery
Everything about this fireplace says elegant and traditional, the deep grey walls, the original marble surround the antique artwork that sits on the mantle. So when the decor is so bold and modern and colorful it creates such a playful and quirky contrast that you can't help but be entranced.
The base of the decor is actually quite classic, a mix of evergreen leaves and delicate grasses, but then there's that explosion of colorful pampas grass towering above that really stands out against the darker walls. And that tinsel banner? It's so kitsch and we love it.
So this year why not give your classic evergreen decor a colorful update and introduce a pop of color? Dyed grasses work well because you still get those natural textures and they are readily available online and at florists, plus are perfect for adding height to mantel decor too.
2. Give your fireplace decor plenty of height
Speaking of height, when decorating your mantel, ensure you aren't just thinking horizontally, the most effective displays have height too. Do all the usual along the mantel, strings of ivy that cascade effortlessly off the sides, but also put the tendrils into vases too and place them at each end of the mantel. Add in more dense foliage like fir and holly too and decorate the larger branches with small ornaments to add in some festive color or sparkle.
For an all-natural look, copy this look opt for a simple vase that almost blurs into the background and the greenery remains the focus, but if you want to add in more color and prints vintage pattern would look lovely with this look.
Something to also take from this fireplace decor idea is to consider your wall color when decorating too, pick shades that are going to pop against the backdrop. Patrick O'Donnell of Farrow & Ball says, 'Rich, elegant shades of dark blue or burgundy will make always decorations pop. For a bold backdrop for your festive accessories, try Chinese Blue from our Archive collection. And go further to accentuate the height of your room by taking the same wall color all the way over the skirting.'
3. Keep it simple with forages foliage
Often the simplest adorned festive fireplaces are the most beautiful, especially when the surround is so ornate. 'Especially at Christmas, fireplaces really bring a room into its own. Generally, architectural furniture like this acts as a focal point in the room, so it’s important to get the decorations right.' says Owen Pacey, founder of Renaissance London.
'For particularly ornate fireplaces, minimal decorations that let the sculpture of the mantelpiece sing is best, while pared-back models benefit from a slightly more creative direction. Think boughs of holly and pine, some candles in antique candlesticks, and of course, a stocking or two.'
So get into the garden and forage for the best evergreen you can find and just trail it along your mantle. Fill in any gaps with taper candles at varying heights – we love the trend for more unusual candles at the moment like twisted designs or colorful patterns. For a twist on the traditional, throw in something unexpected like this oversized potted houseplant. It adds that all-important height and throws off the symmetry too, to give this classic look a more contemporary feel.
4. Create an asymmetrical design
Another trend that's huge this Christmas is asymmetric decorating. Half wreaths have been big the last few years and that almost unfinished look is seeping into mantel decor ideas too. Rather than crowd the whole mantel with decorations, focus on one side for a look that feels really uncurated, like the greenery is growing from the fireplace.
Use something central to anchor the design, like the gold frame used here or a print or mirror would work, and bring the greenery up add around that too so it becomes part of the decor. Counterbalance the look by adding something simple to the empty side of the mantle, candles are the obvious choice for adding elegance to this very rustic, natural style.
5. Pare it back
There's something to be said for Christmas fireplace ideas that really strip it back. As this living room designed by Sims Hilditch proves, just a subtle nod to the festivities can be every bit as eye-catching as a mantel that's sagging with decorations.
'For a smaller living room space, we recommend opting for elegant and minimalist Christmas décor.' says Emma Sims Hilditch, Founder and Creative Director for Sims Hilditch. 'Avoid a cluttered look by laying a seasonal branch or foliage across the mantelpiece, paired with a candle or two. You might also consider positioning a drinks trolley nearby, creating a subtle sense of occasion. Finally, If your fireplace is near to a coffee table or sideboard, why not arrange a bowl of pinecones on it to enhance the warming festive atmosphere.'
Recreate this look quickly and easily by either sourcing greenery in your garden or asking your florist for a nice selection of firs, eucalyptus, magnolia leaves, and holly. Berries and pine cones are a nice touch too. Arrange in layers with the larger, bushier pieces at the back and work down to the smaller stems, then secure at the base. Simple but effective.
6. Go for a quirky look with a mismatch of ornaments
Festive fireplaces don't always have to be about the greenery, for a more quirky look gather together all your weird and wonderful decorations and ornaments that you've collected, inherited, or begrudgingly been made and create a fun and creative mantle display.
Look closely at this mantel and you'll find nativities of all shapes and sizes, retro ornaments, vintage postcards of Santa on the beach, tiny Scandi wooden houses, and more. It's a feast for the eyes and despite not being a sprig of fir insight still feels appropriately Christmassy – the perfect inspiration if you are looking for a more eclectic way to decorate your fireplace.
7. Give your everyday fireplace decor a festive twist
For a more rustic Christmas fireplace idea, be inspired by this beautiful subtle space that's filled with pieces from The White Company's new Christmas collection. It's the perfect example of how you can keep up the decor that's there all year round and just give it a festive update. We love how the wreaths hang amongst the vintage soil sieves to create a festive gallery wall. And note how there's actually no mantle above this fireplace, but the garland creates the allusion of one, in fact, it's just strung up in front of the firebox.
'If you have a fireplace a mantelpiece is a great focal point of the room to make extra special at Christmas time.' says Chrissie Rucker founder of The White Company. 'I love to dress ours with a faux garland then wind in fairy lights (battery operated are a great option here) then a couple of days before Christmas I add in greenery from the garden. Add a few pine cones or tree decorations and layer in some storm lanterns with candles for a beautiful seasonal look.'
8. Light up an arrangement with neon
Festive foliage needn't be limited to the usual evergreen, this beautiful floral arrangement is filled with unexpected exotic blooms but still hits with those classic warm, rich Christmassy shades. And all those different textures, it's that mix of really shiny, almost plastic-looking leaves, layered with the soft matte eucalyptus, and all the various shapes and sizes too that really make a festive floral arrangement or a garland. You want there to be lots of depth and have a natural shape to it.
And let's not ignore the neon. It feels a little bit familiar, the classic festive slogan, glowing light, and yet it's got a distinctly modern edge that gives this overall look a cool, quirky, contemporary feel.
9. Don't ignore the hearth
The mantel gets a lot of attention when it comes to Christmas decor, but the hearth can also be prime real estate for festive flourishes. Group together lanterns, on either side, string fairy lights over stacks of logs, or be inspired by this regal-looking living room and fill up pots with luscious evergreen. This is a lovely way to decorate a fireplace if you don't have a mantel too. Just be sure that if you are decorating a working fireplace, everything stays a sensible distance away from the firebox.
How can you style a decorate a fireplace for Christmas?
'When it comes to Christmas decorating, no space should be spared! A festive fireplace is the perfect opportunity to bring a cozy atmosphere together with fabulous festive flair. For the adventurous creatives out there, a beautiful floral masterpiece on the mantel introduces instant impact. The design can also be made to last longer with the use of pampas grass, dried flowers and faux foliage. For inspiration on a floral mantel, look no further than the fabulous Nicki Bamford-Bowes (@andthentheywentwild) who created four mantel displays for Christmas last year.' says Lucy St George, Co-founder of Rockett St George.
'One of our favorite tricks for a festive fireplace is to embrace paper decorations, from honeycombs to hanging stars. These are easy to style and can be carefully placed in clusters or joined together to create an incredible cascading effect down the side of your fireplace. To take this look to the next level, pair with fairy lights and introduce plenty of candles to the mantelpiece for a glamorous statement with all the coziness of Christmas. Just be sure not to place any paper decorations too near to an open flame.'
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
Soundbar or surround sound system – which is best for my home?
Choosing between a soundbar or surround sound system is made easier with this expert guide to the best audio tech chosen to add cinematic style to your living room
By Emily Peck •
How to paint kitchen cabinets – an easy DIY to totally transform your kitchen
Learning how to paint kitchen cabinets will mean you can change the look of your space in just a weekend – just follow our easy step-by-step
By Olivia Emily •