Fall mantel decor ideas – 10 looks for an autumnal fireplace

These fall mantel decor ideas will make you want to get cozy at home by the fireplace

A fireplace mantel with oval mirror, pumpkins, pampas grass in a vase, candlesticks, pine cones and fall foliage
(Image credit: @homesweetlakehouse)

In search of gorgeous fall mantel decor ideas to welcome the changing of the seasons? The shift from summer to fall is always exciting: the crisp feeling in the air, the changing foliage, and the shorter days represent a sort of fresh start and the onset of the holiday season. 

This also makes it the perfect time to transition to a warm and cozy feeling at home with some fall decor—and a fall mantel is a great way to welcome the season and all the cozy aspects that come along with it.

If you’re lucky enough to have a working fireplace mantel in your home, you know all too well just how wonderful it is to gather around the warmth of the fire on a particularly cool day—and even more so if you’ve gone out of your way to make your mantel the centerpiece of your living room or den.

That said, you don’t need a working fireplace in order to foster a cozy fall mantelpiece. There are tons of different approaches that will offer the same results as a traditional fireplace mantel. 

We spoke to a handful of decor and design experts to get their insights into this fall decorating idea. So turn your mantel into a seasonal centerpiece with these fall fireplace decor looks in time for the cooler months.

Fall mantel decor ideas to welcome the season

1. Consider neutral colorways

white washed brick mantelpiece with glass vase, pampas grass, a basket and fall foliage

(Image credit: @the.highland.home)

You might be tempted to opt for burnt oranges and reds—but a neutral fall color scheme can have just as big of an effect without looking too bold or overly bright. 

'Fall is about the falling leaves swaying with the wind. In decorating your mantel for the fall, you should consider mixed incorporation of texture, pattern style, and color,' explains Stacy Lewis, Interior Designer. 

'Neutral colors are the common representation of fall. The colors of dried leaves and wood are what I suggest.'

2. Opt for minimalism

fireplace with wood blocks, a pumpkin and wood mantel with black candlesticks and mirror

(Image credit: @tarynwhitaker_designs)

'The first and probably the most important tip is—don’t overdo it,' says Mark Cutler, Co-founder and Interior Designer at CutlerSchulze

'I know that the change of season is exciting and the fall colors are everywhere, but remember, just as the trees are shedding and baring their branches, a bit of shedding and simplicity will go a long way to creating the perfect fall vibe.'

3. Avoid fall cliches

a brick fireplace mantel with pumpkins and fall foliage

(Image credit: @tarynwhitaker_designs)

According to Cutler, you should typically try to avoid clichés, so things like dried flowers and stacks of fake leaves should be out as a fall living room decorating idea

'Make it about nature and natural things, but perhaps in unexpected ways,' suggests Cutler.

'For instance, instead of stacks of dried grass, maybe a few platters of natural woven material will appear to be more dramatic and sculptural.'

4. Look for unexpected ways to use warm tones

A fireplace mantel with oval mirror, pumpkins, pampas grass in a vase, candlesticks, pine cones and fall foliage

(Image credit: @homesweetlakehouse)

'I like to look for those warm tones in things other than just pumpkins and gourds,' says Cutler. 

'Try incorporating some metals like bronze or copper, maybe using them in candle sticks of sculptural elements or as statement pieces.'

5. Forage for simplicity

brick fireplace with white wash, vintage artwork, wicker baskets and dried flowers

(Image credit: @houseonheatherfield)

Sometimes absolute simplicity can be best, says Cutler.

'It might be as simple as one really fantastic architectural branch laid across the mantle that captures the feeling of the change of seasons,' he explains.

Or why not make a fall garland to arrange below the mantel?

6. Don’t overlook scent

a cream fireplace with arched mirror and large lantern

(Image credit: @homesweetlakehouse)

According to Cutler, it’s key to add some scent into your arrangement for maximum effect and it's an easy way to decorate for fall.

'Don’t forget scent too, it can be a powerful trigger, so maybe your arrangement will feature a scented candle with a woodsy smell, once again avoid the cliché of cinnamon etc, this is not a coffee shop trying to sell you a latte,' he says.

7. Go easy on pumpkins and gourds

pumpkins and gourds on a mantelpiece in a living room with beige sofa and check cushions

(Image credit: @simplysoutherncottage)

If you are looking for something more modern—but still want to incorporate classic fall tropes—repetition may be the solution. For example, you could opt for a no carve pumpkin idea

'Try a collection of pumpkins or gourds with nothing else spread evenly across your mantle, the geometry will create a contemporary feel,' explains Cutler.

8. Choose unexpected natural elements

a collection of gold candlesticks and a eucalyptus garland on a white mantelpiece with round mirror

(Image credit: @whitecottagehome)

According to Interior Designer Lisa Melone Cloughen,  unexpected natural elements may offer the same cozy, kitschy feel without leaning too hard on tradition. 

'Add an assortment of objects from a variety of natural elements such as shells, rocks, crystals, and even branches mixed with decorative items such as boxes, small sculptures, or metal objects,' she suggests. 'This all enhances the dynamics and mood of the mantel.'

9. Use what you have

checked frame and matching ornament on a mantelpiece with candlesticks

(Image credit: @calypsointhecountry)

You don’t need to go out and buy all new decor pieces just to use them for the autumn season. 

Instead, Cloughen suggests using what you have; foraging through your house for pieces that might be in storage or used elsewhere. 

'Candle holders and vases are great decorative additions that you may already have on hand,' she explains.

You could even create one of these pumpkin vase ideas for a stylish take on pumpkin displays.

10. Go for florals

seasonal fall floral arrangement with white pumpkins on a white mantelpiece

(Image credit: @frenchbluecharm)

A mantel is usually a slim area so balance and scale are very important interior design theories to consider, says Cloughen, and a floral arrangement is a great way to add height or width. 

'Flowers are beautiful any season of the year but I always especially love dried flowers and leaves or red/orange flowers during the fall months,' she explains. “They look so stunning and add a live element to your mantel.'

How do I decorate my mantel in the fall?

There are so many ways to decorate your mantel for fall, and we've shown you ten fabulously stylish ways. One easy win is to go minimalist with metallic or grey pumpkin decorating idea and used a mix of dried or fresh foliage to add a splash of color. Play with stems of eucalyptus, pampas grass and berries for a bold statement.

You could keep things simple with wooden decor, lots of candles and wicker baskets and accessories that add texture to a neutral room.

Or why not simply use fragranced candles on the mantel with scents that remind you and your guests of fall. Try pumpkin, spice and smoky fragrances to really get your guests into the season spirit.

When should I decorate for fall?

Even though there are no rules as to when you should decorate for fall, a good time to start is the official start of fall. September and October are prime times to create a DIY fall wreath. If you're hosting parties in the autumnal season, make sure to get your decorations up and ready before to really impress your guests. You could even take note of these stylish fall table decor ideas to help create the ultimate centerpiece.

Kaitlyn McInnis

Kaitlyn is an experienced travel and lifestyle writer with a keen interest in interior decorating and home optimization. An avid traveler, she's currently splitting her time between her apartment in a century-old châteauesque building in Montreal and her cozy chalet in the woods (that she built with her own two hands... and many YouTube tutorials!). Her work has been published in Travel + Leisure, Tatler Asia, Forbes, Robb Report Singapore, and various other international publications.