Don’t forget the fireplace as you deck your halls this Christmas.

Any self-respecting homemaker is now au fait with the art of table scaping, in which you throw a riot of colour, texture and detail into the way you lay your table. Glossy magazines and social media have been singing its virtues – and raising the bar – for years now.

But how do you fare when it comes to the latest interior trend, the rarefied art of mantel scaping? In this discipline, which comes into its own at Christmas, you devote the same amount of time and energy to the decoration and curation of your mantelpiece as you might to your table.

Stylist magazine says: “What is this new buzzword we hear you cry? It’s the concept of styling your mantelpiece with amazing homeware pieces – from candlesticks and matchboxes to vases and trinket dishes. It is all about clever ways to make your fireplace a focus point for the room.”

It is easier than you might think to achieve the bountiful look of the fireplaces you see on Instagram.

Here is our guide to the things you need for a marvellous mantelpiece this Christmas – and the tastemakers who will help you achieve it.


This is the year to invest in a good fake garland. Sure, it may set you back a bit, but it will give you pleasure for literally decades to come. If you start with something pretty but basic, you can embellish it as you will, creating a different look from year to year. We like this Ultimate Garland (£85) from The White Company. The Instagram account of fabric and wallpaper brand Barneby Gates – @barnebygates – will provide endless inspiration. Buy it.

Fairy Lights

Invest in a delicate new string of indoor fairy lights (be sure that they are battery powered, like these Indoor Wire Lights, £8, from Garden Trading) and weave them through your garland for maximum festive twinkle. If you are feeling brave, you could go for a coloured string. As ever, Matilda Goad – @matildagoad – has the right idea. Buy it.

Scented Candle

The aim with a festive mantelpiece is to assault all the senses, and a smelly candle plays an important part in this endeavour. We like Skandivansk’s Skog Candle (£35). It isn’t officially a Christmas one – it is supposed to represent the calm of the boreal forest – but it is extraordinarily right for this time of year. It goes without saying that you must never leave a lit candle unattended, much less one surrounded by fake foliage. Interior designer Carlos Garcia – @carlosgarciainteriors – has some excellent Christmas mantelpiece ideas on his Instagram feed. Buy it.


A fantastic, preferably oversized, bow brings a great focal point to the centre of the mantelpiece. Affix one like this Gold Sequin Bow (£19.95) from VV Rouleaux (designed to hang on the backs of chairs) and tongues will wag. Sarah Corbett Winder – @sarah.corbettwinder – put them on her tree last year. Buy it.


Among the many ways to style a great mantelpiece at Christmas is to make sure there are bits and bobs displayed on it. A pair of these Brass Forest Flower Candle Holder (39.95 euros) from the heavenly brand Anna + Nina, which is based in Amsterdam, would look magical when placed amid the garland’s greenery. Stylist Sarah Clark – @littlespree – understands and illustrates the need for candles at different heights very well. Buy it.

Fresh Greenery

For this one, you need either to forage in your garden or local countryside or to head straight to the florist. You are looking for pretty bits of holly, ivy, berries and anything else that might soften and freshen up the fireplace. When you have gathered your greenery, you simply tuck it here and there into your faux garland and are good to go. The Instagram account @hillhousevintage will give you some great ideas of ways to bring the outside in at Christmas.

Your Own Trinkets

Provided it works in the scheme you’ve created, any decoration, pot, jar, jug, vase or sculpture in your home that you love is worthy of a place on your festive mantelpiece. Slot them in wherever there is space once you’ve laid out the elements above. For example, Pentreath & Hall’s Alphabet Brush Pots (£40) never fail to add flair. Cookery writer Skye McAlpine – @skyemcalpine – does mantelpiece maximalism with aplomb.

By Becky Ladenburg
December 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.