The fireplace is not only the focal point of many living spaces, but at Christmas time, it’s the subject of many a beloved Christmas tradition. Stockings hung by the chimney with care, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a place to leave Santa’s cookies…you get the picture. This special spot in the home deserves some festive décor.

Several years ago, CIRCLE was featured in CEO Magazine to give some decorating tips for the holidays. For this article, we styled and photographed three different fireplaces. So this post is a throwback to that, using the photographs of these fireplaces. But now, we’re going more in depth about styling principles for your fireplace.

So no matter the style of your home, whether it’s traditional, modern, or rustic, we’ve got you covered. From the mantel to the hearth to the fireplace itself (if you’re not actually using it for a fire), we’ll cover color schemes, elements to include, and how to arrange these elements depending on the look you’re going for with your fireplace this holiday season.

Some common fireplace décor elements, regardless of style, are:

  • A central focal point that hangs above the mantel (artwork, mirror)
  • Something to add light (candles, lanterns, or sconces)
  • Natural elements in vases or pots (flower arrangements, branches, greenery, miniature trees)
  • Smaller filler accessories of varying heights (figurines, monograms, picture frames, etc.)

At Christmas, you can use this same combination of elements, but swap out your usual pieces for ones with holiday flair. For example, use a wreath instead of artwork. And of course, add in the holiday fireplace staple—stockings! Check out our photos and tips below for each of these three styles.

Traditional Fireplace Styling for the Holidays

A traditional fireplace styled for the holidays is well balanced, accentuating architectural elements with the classic reds and greens of the season. The key to a traditionally styled fireplace is a symmetrical layout. So when it comes to choosing accessories, think about buying in pairs, or pairing similar items (in style and height) to offset on opposite sides of the mantel.

Start from the center and work your way out. Depending on the size of your mantel, you may need more pairs of decorations than we have pictured. Place a bow or other larger Christmas accessory right below your main centerpiece. Then place two accent pieces on either side. Try for a metallic accent here, something with texture and shine, such as the silver reindeer figurines we used. Finally, place two pieces on the outside edges of the mantel. These should be your tallest elements, since they serve as anchors for the layout. Finally, fill in around these all these pieces with natural elements such as greenery and berries.

While not pictured, if you use stockings, stick with that pairing method by placing even numbers on both sides. If you’re styling a hearth, or the inside of an inactive fireplace, you can use items with a larger scale than what you would place on the mantel. Again, stick with the classic reds and greens and one metallic accent such as silver or gold.

Modern Fireplace Styling for the Holidays

The modern, holiday-styled fireplace is clean and simple. For your color scheme and accessories, try mixing metallics. A combination of gold, silver, rose gold, and bronze tones will bring depth and shine into your room for a contemporary feel.

As far as elements to incorporate, try mixing the shiny ones with several accents that have texture. For example, in this central piece above the mantel, the texture of the bow compliments the shine and pattern of the silver. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to textured items – we used urchins as a contemporary accent to the ornaments we used in the glass bowl and vase.

For a more clean, modern look, you won’t want to cover your entire mantel with garland or greenery. However, still try to incorporate at least one natural element, such as our floral arrangement with greenery, gold branches, and white poinsettias. Focus on simple when it comes to your stockings and holders, again focusing on simplicity with a mix of texture and shine.

On or around the hearth, you can use some taller accessories, such as the candles and trees we used. Arrange your elements on the mantel and hearth asymmetrically, mixing in accessories of various heights.

Rustic Fireplace Styling for the Holidays

A rustic fireplace styled for Christmas is playful, casual, and cozy. The color scheme is a little earthier, focusing on a variety of textures such as wood and burlap with pops of classic red, green, and white. Holiday characters, colors, and sayings bring this fireplace to life.

Like the other styles, you still want a central focal piece to hang above the mantel. From there, style asymmetrically, layering accessories of different heights and textures. In our example, we layered the main central piece with another large frame that has miniature stockings with a countdown of days until Christmas attached to it. This brings height and depth to the layout, as well as visual interest.

With a lot of accessories layered in closely, you don’t need to use greenery as filler like you would in the traditional layout. However, we did still incorporate some natural elements with the tree and poinsettias on the hearth. Also, incorporating an element for light like we did with the wood pillar candleholders brings warmth to the design.

We hope this post has given you some fireplace decorating inspiration. For holiday accessory recommendations for your fireplace and for the other pieces of furniture in your living space, check out our post on how to transform your furniture for Christmas. No matter the style of your fireplace, we encourage you to be creative and let this focal point in your home—full of Christmas tradition—tell you and your family’s story this holiday season.