damage-free decorating

The holiday season is in full swing, and renters everywhere are faced with the dreaded decision, to spread holiday cheer and risk damaging their apartment or to sit out of the decor festivities because they want their security deposit back.

If you’re hosting a holiday bash and want to ring in the Christmas season with stylish decorations, but don’t want to use nails or permanent fixtures, this damage-free idea is the perfect solution.

Few things are more cheerful and spread holiday joy like a finely decorated mantle with your favorite holiday stockings, however for most renters and apartment dwellers, the idea of a brick encased fireplace is merely a dream. This year, don’t sit out of the festivities or worry about damage by using only command products to create an unexpected and entirely beautiful faux mantel.

 Damage-Free DIY Holiday Mantel

command strips faux mantel

The supplies:

  • Command Slate Picture Ledge (2)
  • Oil Rubbed Bronze Command Hooks (3)
  • Clear Mini Command Hook (1)
  • Stockings (3)
  • Wreath
  • Holiday Decor

The Set-up:

To make our mantle I purchased two of Command’s Slate Picture Ledges. These floating mini-shelves are designed to hold your favorite framed photos (each ledge holds up to 5 pounds). However, I felt inspired to get a little creative with these shelves to spruce up my fireplace-free space and placed them side by side to create a faux mantle from which to hang my stockings with care.

Be sure to follow the instructions to ensure a good hold, and use a level to maintain a seamless look as you place the ledges side-by-side (I actually found a handy level mobile app to use).

To make the mantle look complete, add your oil rubbed bronze command hooks evenly spaced underneath the ledges; these will hold your stockings later.

Christmas decorations on mantel

The Decorating:

Once you have your shelf up and ready to go, decorate it appropriately. Be certain that your decorating choices won’t weigh more than 5 pounds on each ledge!

I used a few items I already owned, and hit the dollar store for a surprising array of knick knacks and fillers to make our mantle truly sparkle. I also purchased a few sparkle leafed twigs from our local craft store, cut them apart using wire cutters, and layered them across the ledges to create the festive garland appearance.

I found that it was much simpler to place any photos or knick knacks on the ledge first, and then build your gardland up in any unused space. This ensures that you’re not struggling to stack your decor on top of an uneven surface.

Pro Tip: There’s nothing worse than trying to find the perfect look while wobbling on a ladder or step stool. If you’re hanging your mantle from a height that is difficult for you to easily decorate, make the process quicker by doing a layout with your ledges on a table first. This will allow you to make tweaks easily until you land on the perfect look. Simply take a photo of your final product and recreate it much more quickly while the ledges are on the wall!

Pom Pom stockings hung with command hooks

The Finishing Touches:

Once your ledges are filled with your favorite decor, you will know exactly where to hang your wreath without it interfering with any taller items. Use your mini clear command hook to hang your wreath. It’s the holiday cherry-on-top.

Now that your faux mantle is photo-ready, hang your favorite stockings on the hooks. I actually got ours from the dollar store! Simply adding felt wool pom pom balls can make even a dollar store stocking surprisingly trendy and fun. Congratulations, Santa will now know exactly where to put your peppermint sticks and little presents–no fireplace necessary.

No damage Pom Pom garland on Christmas tree

The best part about this project, is that the mantle is completely removable after the holiday season, or you can leave it up all year to hold your favorite photographs, or non-seasonal decor. No matter whether you decide to take it down December 26th, or leave it up until you move to a new place, you don’t risk sacrificing your security deposit in the process.

Nail-free Christmas decorating

Want more decor inspiration? Check out this article on Renter-Friendly Holiday Decorating Ideas