Santa favors the fireplace when he makes his annual arrival, so why not welcome him in style? Your mantel is a wide-open stage just awaiting some creative attention.
And transforming an everyday mantel to a festive one is easier than you might imagine. Here are two great looks the design team from Kansas-based Nell Hill fashioned, plus some tips on how to make the magic happen.
Organic and elegant magnolias
When we design our holiday mantels, we almost always start the creative process by picking a beautiful garland of greens to serve as our muse. You can’t go wrong with a garland of preserved magnolia leaves. It provides a nature-inspired backdrop for the sprinkle of shimmer to come.
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Mother Nature is not matchy-matchy, so you can find all kinds of colors and textures swirled together in the natural world, blending together to create a rich tapestry. Taking a tip from the great outdoors, we favor a variety of greens, in all hues and finishes.
Instead of swagging the garland over the top and sides of the mantel, we secure the rope of greens to the front of the mantel, letting the ends hang down loosely. Then, we embellish both sides of the garland swag with a variety of picks and baubles — think lime velvet ribbon, iced berries, pine branches, glittering fern fronds and shining mercury glass tree ornaments.
For a holiday mantel, take a tip from the great outdoors, pulling together a wide variety of greens.
Securing the display involves inserting a few mortar screws where the wall connects to the mantel, one on the left and one on the right. Wire attached to the screw can be wound around the base of the garland, and wire or plastic zip ties are used to cinch the ornaments in place.
Many floral picks have long enough stems that you can poke them down into the garland, and then wind the stems around it so that they don’t fall out.
Leaving the top of the mantel open allows for the addition of more accents.
Add mercury glass vases filled with an eclectic mix of frosted pine branches, artichokes, tulips and gilded pine cones.
A hurricane lamp, for instance, is easily flanked by a pair of floral arrangements with colors that echo the finishes and colors of the decorated garland. Add mercury glass vases filled with an eclectic mix of frosted pine branches, artichokes, tulips and gilded pine cones for extra bling.
Pearls, softer hues and a dash of dazzle
Another eye-catching display starts with a basic evergreen garland, pre-lit with retro-style white lights. One benefit of a simpler garland is that it allows you to go in many directions with your colors and accents.
For an updated option, try a palette of pink and green — giving the season’s traditional red and green palette a preppy makeover.
For the structure of this sort of mantel display, a simple swag with embellished corners works well. Once the garland is secured to the wall, as described above, it is adorned with sparkling picks, pink and green ribbon, and strands of pearls — in multiple layers and a variety of sizes.
Each corner of the swag is knotted, its folds of ribbon serving as a hub for picks adorned with items like decadent gold berries. A garland of vintage-look pink ornaments strung on a velvet ribbon — knotted to create clusters — adds a finishing touch.