How to Make Beautiful After Christmas Winter Mantel Decor

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Wondering how to decorate your living room mantel to last you through the season and after Christmas too? Make your winter mantel decor extra cozy with these easy decorating tips. Layers + textures + greens…the perfect combination!  Keep reading for some ideas and inspiration to make your winter mantel extra special this year! 

Are you getting started on your winter home decorating yet?  We definitely are around here and I’ve already thinking and planning ahead a little bit for the “after Christmas decor let down” that inevitably happens when the holiday decorations come down.  If the same thing happens to you, hopefully this post will give you some ideas of how you can keep a cozy, wintery look during the cold winter months.

We are going to go through the step-by-step process I use to get a thick, lush look on my white mantel with a soft glow and neutral color scheme for the long winter evenings.

How do you feel during this time of year when all the Christmas decor comes down?  Do you fall into the “I miss it so much and don’t want to take it down” group or are you in the “thank goodness the clutter is gone” camp?  Or, you can even save these decor ideas for next Christmas season when you maybe want to get started a little early on your Christmas decorations but aren’t ready to hang the stockings quite yet?

Either way, having a winter mantel display with a cozy feel that can take you through the holiday season and into winter too is always a great idea!  At the same time, you can hang the Christmas stockings for the holidays and remove them afterward.  Then, enjoy the magical winter look for longer than only the days of Christmas.

No matter what, it’s always fun to start the season or year with fresh style and winter vibe in your home!  It’s even better when you can create a beautiful base for your decor that can stay put as the holidays come and go throughout the season!  That is what we are going to work on today!


wide angle of a cozy white couch in front of a white wooden mantel styled for winter

What can I put on my mantle after Christmas?

Winter greenery is always the key for keeping the cozy and full feeling around our home.  Adding layers of greenery creates a base that you can use before, during, and after the Christmas holiday without any extra cost.  It will give you a beautiful look that allows for simple adjustments as you move through the winter.

After taking down all the Christmas decor and giving a good deep cleaning, I like to pick a focal point in each room to decorate.  Choosing a focal point really helps me define the cozy winter look I want for the rest of the room.

Often, the mantel and gallery wall over the top of the mantel is my inspiration wall for our entire living space. Since our home is pretty open, I love for the living rooms, kitchen, and dining areas to all flow together.

closeup of a small wooden clock on a white mantel

I love how my winter mantel decor turned out last year and especially how I was able to incorporate a few “new” old vintage treasures into my styling too!  Layering this greenery will be one of the first things I work on as I get a start on my winter and Christmas decorating this year.  You can even add a few pretty pumpkins or dried gourds to this look for Thanksgiving!

Often, a fireplace or mantel is a special feature in a room.  As a result, how you decorate it can set the tone for your entire home!

Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean your winter fireplace mantel decor cannot still help you create a cozy space to enjoy the long winter evenings!

How do you decorate a mantle in the winter?

In the steps below, I’m sharing the simple process I went through to create this layered, textured look for my winter mantel ideas.

It took me about 30 minutes to collect everything and get it like I want it, but I love how it creates a cozy, yet elegant look, with lots of vintage vibes!  Also, I was able to create a look that could last me from Thanksgiving all the way through the winter with just little, quick adjustments.  That kind of easy decorating is always helpful during a busy season!

How to Make Beautiful Winter Mantel Decor

white mantel styled with brass candlesticks, faux greenery, and large wooden frames and mirrors

Here is a list of items I used to create this look:

Additional optional decorative accents you could use:

  • Natural pinecones
  • Small Christmas trees (remove any ornaments, red ribbons, or accents)
  • Neutral colored bottle brush trees
  • Fairy lights
  • Birch logs
  • Winter wreath
  • White flowers
closeup of gold candle holders hanging on a wall

Process to Create Layers for Winter Mantel Decor

Step One:

The first step for any space I want to restyle is to clear it completely. Think of it as a blank canvas to create your art!  Plus, it always feels good to give everything a good dusting, scrubbing, and cleaning between seasons!  I worked on this last week in our home and it felt so good!

Once the space is completely clear (and cleaned!), I start with my largest items and begin by placing those on the mantel at different heights.

For this styling, I started with the frames, mirror, and clock face.

white mantel in front of a blank white wall, waiting to be styled

I added the largest frames and the mirror as my first layer.  The patina on these old frames give them such an elegant, vintage look.  It was exciting to find them on a trip to the Ohio Valley Antique Mall when we went up north one Christmas!

Layered with candles, mirrors are a great way to reflect the light and double the magic!  I use these battery-operated taper candles all throughout our home during the fall and winter.  The remote control plus a timer makes them so convenient.  At the same time, they look so realistic with the wax finish and flickering flame.  They can really help your room feel even more cozy during the cold winter months.

white mantel with a large gold mirror and two wooden frames beside the mirror

Step Two for Mantel Decor: Edit!

As I started adding the next layer, using the vintage clock face frame, I realized it wasn’t all going to fit.  I removed the second frame and love how now it all fills the space but isn’t too cluttered.  It has the perfect vintage vibe without feeling too jumbled.

Tip: a lot of home decor styling doesn’t work on the first…or second…or third try.  

Allow time and space to play around with your decor.  I often set something, leave it for a bit, and then come back to edit.  It is worth spending the time it takes to make sure you love the views in your own home!

I added the vintage clock frame to tie the mirror and gold frame together.  Using these three pieces as the focal point and decor triangle for my winter mantel decor defined the rest of the mantel space!

previous vignette with an added element of a wooden clock face in front of the frames and mirrors

Step Three for Winter Mantle Decor: Add complementary accessories

With this chippy, vintage backdrop in place, I could start adding the accessories that soften all the edges and make my winter mantel decor feel complete.

I laid vintage books on their side to create a base for this beautiful architectural salvage piece from East End Salvage.  I was thrilled to purchase this from them right before Christmas, with my winter mantel decor specifically in mind!

stack of deconstructed vintage books with wooden salvage pieces on top

Raising the salvage piece on books gave some extra layer and also helps the salvage piece to stand out from the mantel and frame.

Tip: Look for ways to add varied dimensions to your styled vignettes.  Vintage books are an easy thing to vary the different heights while also adding extra texture and character!  I also always watch for great architectural salvage pieces when we are antique shopping or look around flea markets!

mantel vignette styled with a mirror, wooden frames, faux greenery, vintage books and architectural salvage

I added thrifted brass sconces to the right of the frame to balance out and tie in the vintage brass candlesticks in front of the mirror!

Tip: Layer candles in front of mirrors to reflect the light and create an even more cozy warm glow!  You get double duty from your candles!  I like to use flameless candles on a timer or remote control for safety and ease!

brass candlesticks holding flameless candles reflected in a vintage gold mirror

Step Four for Winter Mantle Decor: Add winter greenery

To help all of these pieces feel connected and fluid, I layered two faux garlands.  My Norfolk pine garland has been a favorite for several years.  It looks incredibly realistic.  In fact, people will walk up and touch it in my home to see if it is real or not!  You can get the extra long garland HERE and the 60″ garland HERE.  The 24″ stems make great filler or add three in a tall vase for a quick centerpiece too.  You can find those HERE.  Also, this jasmine or rosemary would have a beautiful look for winter!

My favorite faux garland that I use year round is this real touch eucalyptus.  It looks so realistic and is super easy to work with.  I use it for every season and mix it with lots of different seasonal greenery pieces!

To get a layered look, I put the eucalyptus down first.  Next, I lay the norfolk pine garland down on top of it.  Then, I carefully pull some of the eucalytpus stems through to be more visible.  I think this gives a more natural look than twisting the two garlands together.

Mixed with the pine, it adds a really lush and full look.  I also love a variety in the green color and texture of the leaves too.  They are each so pretty and paired together, I love them even more!

For Thanksgiving, I used this same combination for my table centerpiece.  it really is a great mixture to take you from Thanksgiving through the entire winter season.

mixed pine and regular faux greenery garland

Step Five: Add small touches to fill the gaps

The icing on the cake are these little vintage clocks!  I love how they add an extra dimension with unique shape and character and maybe even a little touch of the unexpected!

I love for decor to tell a story and these little clocks help create that feeling with my winter mantel decor.  Maybe they even give a nod to a little slower pace, more time at home, and the long, cozy evenings?  That sounds lovely to me right now, for sure!

You could add any kind of collection, such as vintage ironstone, mortar and pestles, or brass figures, to name a few of my own collections.  Using my collections as part of my mantel decor is so much fun and gets them out of my decor stash and visible for me to enjoy!

For a more simple way,  you could mix in some neutral colors with florals.  At the same time, a few family pictures in simple brass frames could be easily showcased.

Whether its your mantel or a gallery wall or a long console table, I hope this gives you some inspiration to create a focal point that tells a story in your winter decor.  Keep it simple, add lots of textured layers, and a little touch of the unexpected.

small vintage clocks placed around greenery in vignette

Whether its your mantel or a gallery wall or a long console table, I hope this gives you some inspiration to create a focal point that tells a story in your winter decor.  Keep it simple, add lots of textured layers, and a little touch of the unexpected.

Texture + Greenery + Candles (glow) = Cozy Winter Recipe

For holiday touches, try adding the following:

Thanksgiving: Add dried gourds or velvet pumpkins

Christmas: Add chunky knit stockings and tuck some shiny ornaments into the garlands for an easy Christmas mantel

New Year’s: Add some vintage clocks (You can also watch for clocks and clock faces at thrift stores!)

Winter: Add some vintage brass deer and pine cones

Non-holiday: You can always add extra candlesticks and white candles to create the look of a collection.  I also use vintage books year-round, no matter the season.  They also help provide a variety of height which can be especially helpful for mantel decorating.

It’s a simple way for a decor recipe with cozy styling that you can enjoy all season long, from Thanksgiving all the way until the end of the long winter season!

Have fun decorating and stay cozy this season!

cozy white couch with a beautiful vignette and gallery wall behind it
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