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Fireplace Mantel Decor | Holiday Season Interior Designer Tips

Laveta Brigham

Photo courtesy of Michele Plachter How to decorate your fireplace mantel decor for the holiday season, according to interior designer tips. When we think of the merriest holiday decorations, we immediately think of sparkle, shine and rich colors—but what decor inspires interior designers during the holiday season? We reached out […]

Holiday season

Photo courtesy of Michele Plachter

How to decorate your fireplace mantel decor for the holiday season, according to interior designer tips.

When we think of the merriest holiday decorations, we immediately think of sparkle, shine and rich colors—but what decor inspires interior designers during the holiday season?

We reached out to four different interior designers to get their take on fireplace mantel decor for the holiday season and beyond. Using interior designer tips, you can make your holiday hearth your favorite spot in your home for cozying up with some hot cocoa

Read on to get interior designer tips for fireplace mantel decor that shines bright all holiday season long.

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MICHELE PLACHTER OF MICHELE PLACHTER DESIGN | PHILADELPHIA, PA

Michele Plachter is the founder of her own full-service interior design company, Michele Plachter Design, and she adorned this beautiful holiday hearth for a client project.

Fireplace

Photo courtesy of Michele Plachter

“On this project, I had a vision of an elegant and colorful Christmas, but in a non-traditional colorway,” Platcher says. “I loved the idea of teals, whites and splashes of pink to compliment the home we designed.My client loves a touch of glam, so we had a few gold Christmas trees in the entrance.”

“I decided to partner with Coleen Christian who specialized in Christmas decorating as it was a big undertaking—I love collaborating with other experts! She was amazing and so helpful. We both had a great sense of what the house needed and how to make it feel special and unexpected while keeping the Christmas spirit the point of focus,” she added.

Her recommendation for decorating your own mantel for the holiday season? Keep it simple.

“Less is more, keep it simple and elegant,” Platcher says. “Create a focal point using a mirror or a piece of art. Use natural accents and not too much, consider using an odd number of objects and varying heights to keep things unexpected.” 

“It’s like an internal garden. Keep some empty space and breathing room on the mantle, it can look too cluttered if you fill it up,” she added.

Platcher also says to think outside the box—you don’t have to decorate with the typical red and green to make your home feel festive.

“Look around and grab inspiration from the style and colors in your home and go from there,” Platcher says. “Thematic items can be kitschy—I’m not a fan of “cute” for Christmas. Elevate the objects you decorate with by using meaningful items or things that were carefully curated, keep it elegant and pretty.” 

“Update pillows to feel more festive, but stay away from stuffed snowman pillows or pillows with quotes. Subtle equals elevated,” she added.

“Less is more, keep it simple and elegant,” Platcher says. “Create a focal point using a mirror or a piece of art.”

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DAN RAK OF DAN RAK DESIGN | CHICAGO, IL

Dan Rak is the principal designer of an award-winning interior design firm, Dan Rak Design, and he went traditional for his client’s fireplace mantel decor design.

Photo courtesy of Dan Rak

“In the formal living room, we wanted the mantel decor to tie in with the tree and the permanent decor,” Rak says. “We used jewel tones and peacock feathers to tie everything together. In the family room, we wanted a more casual, family-friendly vibe.”

“We chose traditional red stockings, and wove cranberry beads through the garland for an old-world touch,” he added.

Dan Rak

Photo courtesy of Dan Rak

The best way to decorate your home during the holiday season? Rak says it’s all about having fun.

“The holidays offer such a great opportunity to have fun with decor. There are lots of dos and don’ts when it comes to permanent decor, but the rules can stretch quite a bit when it comes to the holidays,” Rak says. “That said, from an aesthetic perspective, it’s best to come up with a theme and color palette and work within those parameters.” 

“Green and red tends to be the most common color palette for most, but there are lots of colors that could work. For example, the peacock tones we used in this formal living room. Some other themes that we’ve loved working with in the past include a Candyland room and an old-world Santa’s workshop theme,” he added.

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To keep your mantel looking beautiful all year round, Rak says to follow the “less is more” rule of design.

“I love to find one or two well-scaled objects that are simple, but beautiful and place them on one end of the mantle for an asymmetric look.” Rak says. “We focus a lot of effort on selecting beautiful stone or wood mantels for our projects and we like to allow those architectural elements to shine.”

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MEGAN MOLTEN OF MEGAN MOLTEN | MOUNT PLEASANT, SC

Megan Molten is the founder, principal designer and creative director of her full-service design firm by the same name, and she is a lover of all things interior design. For her mantel, she worked with a local textile designer to fit her vision of the holiday season.

Photo courtesy of Megan Molten

“I had these stockings made by Charleston local textile designer, Emily Daws,” Molten says. “I do not have a traditional mantel, so we had to get creative and attach the greenery to my fireplace using command hooks. I was able to successfully create the modern, coastal Christmas look I was going for!”

When decorating the holidays, Molten says to focus on colors you already have in your home for a cohesive look.

“For example, if you have a lot of white, brass and black, you may want to consider adding Christmas decor that incorporates well with the other accessories, such as pops of color and gold finishings,” she says. “It’s good to create a fun mix and balance between the two. Also adding touches of greenery—a mix of real and faux—really helps elevate your holiday decor.” 

Once the holidays are over, Molten recommends keeping fireplace mantel decor simple.

“Keep it simple,” she says. “I typically like to include palms on either side of the mantel in tall cylinder style vases. When you’re decorating for the holidays you can always switch out the palms for something a little more festive!”

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“Adding touches of greenery—a mix of real and faux—really helps elevate your holiday decor.”

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SARAH WILLETT OF PATINA VIE | RIPON, WI

After working behind the scenes as a designer, stylist and product developer for 20 years, Sarah Willett started Patina Vie in 2012 to share her own unique eye for design—and her talent is evident in her decorated hearth.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Willett

“We live in a rustic little cottage in Wisconsin’s emerald countryside; quaint and cozy thanks to our grand old hearth,” Willett says. “The hand-hewn mantel holds 22 years worth of our property’s fallen (shed) whitetail antlers, a family tradition we started when our kids were little. 

“I don’t think we’ll ever run out of space even if we continue for another few decades,” she added.

Willett’s favorite part about decorating for the holidays is taking it slow and enjoying the process along the way.

“My favorite approach to holidaying is to enjoy the process,” she says. “Lots of greens, family memories and a few unexpected touches—all without too much fuss or planning. I adore the nostalgia that decorating/styling my own space can give me.” 

“I’ve learned over the years to give myself permission to play.. to throw little touches together.. to allow the process to be as magical as the outcome.”

Her recommendation for keeping your mantel beautiful all year long?

“Simple and easy touches are all that our ancient mantel ever needs. Fresh potted herbs in summertime, and glittery branches to celebrate the chill of wintertime,” Willett says.

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