How to Thursday - Decorating Holiday Mantels

I really like how these are grouped tightly together on the mantel. It's a simple, clean arrangement but one with a great impact!


While working as a visual at Ethan Allen one of my favorite areas to design was a mantel. Even to this day I absolutely love decorating a mantel. Maybe it is the small space and the challenge to make it all it can be or because it is usually the focal point of a room, you have the opportunity to WOW people. Regardless I love it! As it is "How to Thursday" I thought I might share some of my recent favorite mantels and give a few tips on making yours great! With a little twist, knowing this time of year can be expensive I put a "budget friendly" design to it!

The idea is to create a mantel scape that flows with the style of your room. It can be overflowing with pieces or be minimal, as long as it is grouped together in a cohesive way with a little balance it will turn out perfect.

To get started, look around your home for pieces you might already have frames, vases, candles preferably items of varying heights. First clear off the entire mantel except for the wall decor piece you will keep. Next look for the largest piece in your collection of items, where would you like to place this? The picture above starts from the left and works to the right. My first trick is to "connect" your biggest piece with the wall decor. See how the tallest cone is just about touching the mirror? This creates flow and a "unit" between the 2 pieces. Next our "story" continues with the smaller cone, across with the "NOEL" sign and than up again with the gold frame which connects you back to the wall decor and over again to the tall cone. Can you see how you easily move in a circular flow from one side of the mantel to the other? Your eye just breezes right over taking into account each piece. Lastly add your gold leaf garland. This pulls together all the mantel pieces into one cohesive unit. Remembering a few simple tricks like varying heights, grouping, connecting and flow will make the set up very easy. When I was a visual we used the term "Heaven, Man and Earth". Heaven is your highest point (the mirror), man is the middle point (cones/frames) and earth is the lowest point (the garland).


A romantic setting to the mantel. Again, notice the different heights of the candles. The twigs in little bud vases create height and add a new texture to the grouping.


I really enjoy pulling greens from outside and using a few of my favorite ornaments on the mantel. It's easy to nestle them into the greens and the bright pop of sparkling colors is a nice surprise! You can also use clear tacks to scatter a few just above the green to create height. Just place it so they connect and don't look out of place.



We all have clear vases or even white vases in our homes. Why not group them together like they have above? You can even spray a few pine cones with white glitter or add tiny white lights to the grouping. If you want to go more traditional pick some red berries and tuck them in the greens.


Looking around your home and using items in a new way can lead to an inexpensive mantel design and one you could possibly keep up throughout the winter! I hope these tips have helped! Leave a comment if you have inexpensive mantel tips.

(images from Better Homes and Garden, Living Etc, Home Ideas and Southern Living)

1 comment:

Vanilla Lavender said...

I loved this crispy white with greenery mantle! It is so beautiful!