Experts show us three different ways to style a mantel.

By Sarah Yang
Updated November 09, 2017
Paul Viant/Getty Images

The holiday season means it’s time to the trim the tree and hang a wreath on your front door, but don’t forget about the mantel. With the right styling tricks and tips, it can be the centerpiece of your living room. We asked design experts to share how they would decorate a mantel with three different styles in mind: natural, modern, and traditional—so whatever your holiday decor inspiration is, there’s a mantel idea for every preference.

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Natural Mantel

“Whether you lean more modern or a little more traditional, a natural mantel design can bring in the holidays without making it feel like you’ve got Santa himself living at your house,” stylist and designer Emily Henderson says. For a natural mantel, Henderson suggests starting with evergreen clippings, which can be found at your local forest or even in your own backyard. Place the clippings along your mantel and mix in pinecones and twinkle lights. Next, display natural or neutral-colored trees of varying heights across the mantel.

Modern Mantel

For a modern look, event planner and designer David Stark suggests: “Go asymmetrical and minimal for a modern, chic interpretation of mantel decor.” For his modern mantel design, he experiments with asymmetry by placing stylized tree sculptures on one end and white stockings on the other end. “It looks clean and crispy,” he says. “You don’t need tons of things…you just need the right things.”

Traditional Mantel

If you prefer to keep things traditional, it can still be stylish and anything but boring. Using classic, timeless decor is key. Lauren Buxbaum Gordon and Sasha Adler, co-design directors at Nate Berkus Associates, suggest covering the mantel with a favorite runner (preferably in a seasonal color palette), and placing potted evergreen topiaries and silver picture frames with some memorable holiday family photos.

Illustrations by Yelena Bryksenkova; designed by Rebecca Hart