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Seven Decorating Tips for a Festive Holiday Mantel

With stockings hung by the chimney with care, make sure St. Nicholas does not find the mantle bare! When decorated for the holidays, a fireplace mantel comes to life, creating a warm, homey ambiance. To help make sure you don’t find coal in your stocking come Christmas morning, we asked Santa’s little helpers (aka our favorite bloggers and stylists) for some decorating tips to create a festive mantel for the holidays. 1. Candles, candles, candles... “Candles, candleholders, and glass lanterns can all be found at local dollar stores and you rarely need much else to be festive,” says Tonya Lee, the Budget Decorating Guide for About.com. Dress up the candles and candle holders with craft items; For a splash of color, fill lanterns with pretty holiday candy. 2. Take Time to Reflect You can never go wrong with the traditional mirror-over-a-mantel idea, but take it a step further by using the reflection to highlight your décor. “Removable holiday decals are a wonderful way to dress up a mirror,” suggests Tonya. “Or use thin fishing line or ribbon to hang ornaments or glittery snowflakes from the ceiling in front of the mirror.” The sparkle will shine twice as nice thanks to the reflection.

3. Get Back to Nature Don’t let the Christmas tree be the only form of Mother Nature found in your home this holiday season. Bring in acorns, nuts, and evergreen leaves for a bit of seasonal allure. “One of my favorite things to do in December is to force paperwhite bulbs,” says Jennifer of The Newlywed Diaries. “They grow without soil in a variety of mediums (anything nonmetal that can support a root system – think colorful pebbles or marbles).” These low maintenance plants can be placed in individual pots and lined upon a mantel. “As a bonus, individual blooms make sweet parting gifts for your holiday party guests,” says Jennifer. 4. Use Props Use items that are already found around the home this time of year to add festive flair to your mantel, such as holiday cards and presents. “When layered, color-coordinated wrappings can create a pretty display,” Tonya explains. Or find a spot for those holiday cards by placing two vases at each end of your mantel, stringing a line between and use twine, ribbon, or wooden clothespins to drape a frugal, yet chic, mantel garland. 5. Be Dramatic “When it comes to decorating with greens, I always say more is best,” says Seleta of Simply Seleta. “Instead of layering with a single strand of garland, try two for a more opulent feel. Also, don't be afraid to mix your greens for added drama. I like adding plants with oversized leaves to the mix.” For those not comfortable with arranging loose garland or greens, for fear of little wandering hands, Seleta suggests placing cuttings in a series of containers. “The key here is to use the same colors or textures in the containers but in different sizes. This brings a collected look, which is unexpected and interesting to the eye. 6. Get the {Focal} Point “If your focal point is dead center on the mantel, make sure that the tallest item is in the center then have the remaining items taper off on either side,” says Seleta. 7. Add an Element of Surprise Once you line the mantel with your main filler, such as the garland, embellish with layers of your favorite accent color (like a vibrant teal), in various shades. “Then use your smallest item ever-so-subtly as a final layer in a surprise color, such as silver snowflakes or votives,” explains Seleta. > images courtesy of Studio EMP for Found Vintage , A Simply Klassic Home and ABHome Interiors.

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