Deck the Halls...and the Mantels and Walls

Soon we will be decorating for the holiday season. The fireplace mantel can provide a great opportunity to add a little festivity to any room. It is a small surface, but it can make a big impact. Last month, I wrote about how the mantel came to be, so let’s thank our forefathers and come up with some great holiday redesign in their honor.

The fall and winter seasons bring us back inside for festive meals with friends and family. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just two of the occasions to be creative. Head to Pinterest, home magazines like “Elle Décor” or “Veranda” and keep your eyes open while on the Rocky River Holiday Home Tour for new ideas to try on your mantel. From simple to elaborate, stark to full of fluff and glitter, no matter your everyday style this is an opportunity to experiment. Try a style that is the opposite of how your mantel is currently decorated.

Collections can be the key to dressing the mantel in any season. Pick an item and go with it - crystal Christmas trees found at antique shops or local retailers, vintage felt pixies from the sixties, or glass vases filled with colorful ornaments. A cohesive grouping is always fun to put together. Moreover, when you see your mantel full of like items of various sizes, it does not look cluttered. A grouping of like items act more as a unit and less as a large number of things.

Laying greens over the mantle, either artificial or real, is a lovely tradition. Once the greens are in place, think about what else can be added. Collections of candlesticks - brass, silver or glass - can bring that next layer of contrast and shimmer. Although I am partial to off-white candles, it’s the holidays so get colorful if you wish.

Remember a more successful arrangement is created with various sizes in odd amounts. Also, do not be wimpy, do it right and fill the mantel with a baker’s dozen. When you enter the room, you see a simple and elegant picture—a mantel draped in lush greens and punctuated by various candlesticks poking through.

So you have no mantel or have one that is not even deep enough to place a thimble on. Do not think small or nothing, think big! The holidays can give you good reason to swap out art with an image of a winter landscape. A large wreath is also another option. Fill it with pinecones, holly berries and other natural accents to bring nature into your home.

If your home is modern, swap out the natural for the artificial and create a wreath filled with glass ornaments over a bed of white or silver artificial pine branches. Remember the wreath acts as the mantle, so the same rules apply: varied sizes and odd amounts.

The winter holidays are not long and can be the muse to experiment with design on a small scale. You should not tire of your new look as it will be taken down in several weeks. A few small chachkies sprinkled throughout your home can be lackluster, but they can be impressive when gathered all in one place.

Give those that gather at your home this holiday season a feast for the eyes - the gleam is not only your roaring fire but also the mantle or space above it.

Mitchell Sotka

Mitchell Sotka

The Eponymous Antique Shop Owner

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 2:57 PM, 11.30.2015