1 Mantel, Decorated from October to December

1 Mantel from October through December

It seems as though as soon as you’ve decorated your fireplace mantel for Fall, it’s time to do a whole new look for Christmas! This year, we’re taking on a new strategy — we’re decorating our mantel bit by bit. We’re using the same pieces from early Fall through Christmas, just adding things here and there. Here’s how we did it:

Fall Mantel decorated with branches, magnolia leaves, and candles

October Mantel

We started with these items:

Fall Mantel decorated with branches, magnolia leaves, and candles

This simple arrangement is a great way to kick off a new season. It feels festive and perfectly appropriate for Fall, and what’s more, it’s the perfect base for your Christmas mantel later in the season.

It’s important to remember when you’re decorating your mantel to have something at each height. First, you’ll want something very tall, the same height or three-fourths the height of your actual fireplace. We used a large mirror (which has a gorgeous antique gold finish), but you could also use a large piece of art!

Fall Mantel decorated with branches, magnolia leaves, and candles

Next, we chose something in the middle, still tall, but not as tall as your focal point. Two large tortoise hurricanes are perfect, and they’re perfect for holding dried branches.

Finally, we brought some things that are short and fill up the ledge of the mantel. Flameless candles with a birch texture look pretty, plus they’re remote operated, so you can turn them on all at once. Paired with some dried magnolia leaves and a long, narrow votive holder, you’ve got the perfect mantel for this Fall season.

A Fall mantel decorated for Thanksgiving using natural elements and warm colors

November Mantel

Once November hits, entertaining is in full swing and the holiday season is nearing. We like to take things up just a notch by adding two large ropes of Live Magnolia garland (so the ends can hang generously off the sides of the mantel), a twig wreath with an ochre colored ribbon, and a few pine cones.

A Fall mantel decorated for Thanksgiving using natural elements and warm colors

This mantel works beautifully for Thanksgiving since it has natural elements that work year round, but the warm colors remind us of pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes!

A Fall mantel decorated for Thanksgiving using natural elements and warm colors

The magnolia garland makes a statement on this mantel since it’s so full! We did use a carved reindeer — the wood works perfectly with the rest of the mantel.

For Christmas, add a larger wreath with a red ribbon and your stockings

December Mantel

Once Christmas rolls around, we add a big magnolia wreath tied with red ribbon, burlap stockings, reindeer stocking holders, and red berries and glass icicles to our branches.

For Christmas, add a larger wreath with a red ribbon and your stockings

Another great thing about this holiday mantel? You’ve been adding pieces bit by bit, so you’ll never feel overwhelmed. Decorating the mantel is a much less intimidating task this way.

Find tons of holiday inspiration here, and shop Ballard Designs Holiday decor.

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments.


About the Author:

Caroline McDonald
Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. May November 10, 2015 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Love the transition ideas! Very warm and festive without being too cluttered. Any design thoughts on whether or not a mirror should sit directly on the mantel versus hanging on the wall a little above it?

    • Caroline @ How to Decorate November 13, 2015 at 1:40 pm - Reply

      So glad you liked this post. Thanks for your comment. Its a personal preference, and depends on the size of the wall above your mantel and your mirror. For a very large mirror that’s a bit overscaled to your fireplace, we love the look of leaning it. If your mirror is smaller, hang it so it takes up more room above the fireplace.
      Does that make sense?
      The How to Decorate Team

  2. Colleen November 8, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    If you don’t have a mantel use the top of your bookcase or entertainment center

  3. Kay S November 4, 2015 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the mantle idea. I struggle with this focal point of my house with the change of each season. This is so easy to follow and looks like a designer stopped by my house.

    Keep posting these great ideas!

  4. Kim November 1, 2015 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    This is great! Can you show an example using a round mirror?

  5. Sheila October 4, 2015 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Lovely mantel ideas to transition through the fall to holiday season. I don’t have a fireplace/mantel in my home though, and I always struggle with how to decorate my living/gathering room that has no real focal point. Any tips or ideas for those of us in that situation? Thank you!

    • M.M. Baxter November 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      Antique store or salvage store buy a fireplace sir-round (spell?) make your own focal point. You will have a lot of fun with this.

  6. Janet October 3, 2015 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    LOVE these suggestions! I feel pressured 4 times a year to change everything Hong out for the next season and this fits my busy schedule! How about doing this again for spring into summer?!

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