Here’s how to decorate your fireplace for the holiday season without adding a lot of clutter and things to dust while still creating a cozy warm winter vibe. Written in partnership with Wayfair.
One of the most iconic places inside our homes to decorate for the holidays is the fireplace. It’s the classic scene for stockings, collectibles, and that warm glow of a fire just after the sun sets and the house gets dim. As fun as it is to decorate a fireplace mantel and hearth, it’s also easy to go a little too far leaving you with a cluttered and chaotic vibe. Not what the holidays are all about, right? Here are my tips for dialing back your fireplace decor this season and creating an intentional and uncluttered look, plus some sneaky ways to add functionality and storage, too.
Clean Your Fireplace First
Before you add any holiday decor, it’s super important to start with a fresh, clean fireplace. Clear off your mantel and hearth, remove old logs if your fireplace is wood burning, as well as accessories like removable screens or fire-tending tools.
Start by using a hand vac to pick up any debris around and inside the fireplace. If it’s made of stacked stone or brick, you can add the brush attachment to your hand vac and remove cobwebs easily from between the cracks.
Then wipe down the mantel with a gentle cleaner that’s safe for whatever material it’s made of. Mine is made of finished wood, so I like to use wood polish. But a general all-purpose cleaner works great, too. You can also wipe down any mounted lighting, artwork, or televisions if you have them above the mantel.
Start With The Big Stuff
When you’re decorating a fireplace with an uncluttered look in mind, it’s best to start with the biggest items. Things like mantel garland, artwork swaps, a large wreath, or a new fireplace screen make a big statement, and all the smaller things usually sit around or in front of them.
Use adhesive hooks or mantel clamps to keep garland in place so it doesn’t slip off and create a fire hazard. And if your garland has lights, add a smart plug that can be controlled with your phone so you don’t have to climb up and move things around every evening to turn them on.
If you’re changing out framed artwork for a winter scene, leave the old artwork in the frame behind the new print so you don’t have to worry about storing it safely somewhere else. You can usually stack up to four prints in one frame, so you could have all four seasons of artwork behind the glass to rotate through the year.
Add Mantel Decor Next
Now that the garland is draped around the mantel and the big items are placed, you can start adding smaller decor pieces. Try to stick with groups of three in varying heights for a well put-together look.
If you have one large piece in the middle of the fireplace, add one group of three items on both sides for a symmetrical feel. This symmetry eases our mind and makes us feel less stressed. Funny how that works, right?
If you plan on adding extra things to the garland to dress it up, you can add these now, too. In order to keep things minimal and uncluttered, try draping a strand of bells like these instead of big berry sprigs and pinecones. The metallic bells add another texture without being too overwhelming.
You can also hang a set of larger bells off one side to mimic the symmetry of stockings hanging from the other. This makes the mantel feel cohesive while still leaving some breathing room for your decor to really shine.
Speaking of stockings, I found these mantel hooks from Wayfair, and they’re great for non-adhesive hanging. They come with two different sizes so they can clamp onto even the chunkiest mantels. That clamp design paired with the nonslip backing makes them great for renters, too. No holes to drill or sticky adhesive that may or may not pull the finish off.
Fireplace Hearth Functional Decor
Now that the upper half has been decorated, you can start on the lower half. The reason I like to start with the top half is because it helps you minimize what you put below. If the mantel is minimal, you can add a little more to the hearth. But if the mantel has a good amount of decor, you can dial the hearth back a bit.
One way to make your fireplace look extra cozy while adding some functional storage is a large basket for blankets. This woven basket is extra tall and can hold 4-5 rolled up blankets inside. And even though it’s technically storage, it looks really nice, too.
You can also up your hearth decor game while keeping functionality in mind with new fire tending tools for wood burning fireplaces. If yours are looking old and worn, and no amount of polishing makes them look new again, it’s time for an upgrade.
And if your fireplace doesn’t work and is just for looks, you can fill the whole opening with battery-operated candles. They work with a remote, so with one push of a button you can have the look of dancing candle flames without the work of lighting them all every time.
Get My Cozy Minimal Fireplace Look
I outfitted my entire fireplace with items I found on Wayfair. I love to shop Wayfair.com for holiday decor because they have the biggest selection and options to choose from. Everything from the lighted garland to tapered candles, and fireplace screens to fleece blankets. Here’s all the products I used so you can get a similar look in your own home this holiday season.
- Lighted Garland (I used two)
- Small Bell Garland (I used two strands and swapped the string for jute)
- Large Bell Swag
- Gold Taper Candle Holders
- Dark Green Tapered Candles
- Stocking Hangers
- Fireplace Screen
- Blanket Basket
- Plaid Blanket
- Area Rug
- Green Knit Blanket (similar)
- Battery Operated Candles (similar)
- Mirror (similar)