Every year I have the same discussion with myself for my mantle and always in this order: 1) am I doing real or faux garland? and 2) what is the theme going to be?
Nothing beats the fresh balsam scent of real greens, but also the amount of sweeping or vaccuuming that goes along with it is sometimes too much! In years past, when I would do faux I would find myself purchasing floral pieces of greens to fill in the main part to make it look halfway decent but happily, over the last few years it has become easier to find high quality greens that look more realistic. The garland I have in the photos below were bought at a local store that doesn't sell online but I have been impressed with ones I've seen from Crate & Barrel and Frontgate this year and they are similar.
As far as theme is concerned, I tend to find one thing that inspires me then build off of that. This year what caught my eye was the beautiful handblown green glass balls you see hanging from the mantle. When I saw those I knew I would be sticking with a simple winter-green theme. I love that the balls come in 2 different sizes and because they aren't inexpensive, by using them on the mantle I could get away with only buying a handful rather than filling an entire tree. So I bought enough to have 3 on each side then incorporate a few more into the centerpiece on the mantle.
Because the last few years were trending toward simpler mantle decor, I was itching to create something with a little 'more' this year. To that end, I gave the mantle what I call 'restrained bling' (like that? I just made it up ;) ) I used some crystal garland to hang across the front of the fireplace and disconnected pieces of it at various lengths to hang the balls from and I love the sparkle it adds. I pulled a few candlesticks out in glass and mercury glass and intermixed them. Then I added some miniature glass snowflakes that I have had for years to tuck into various places in the garland which relates back to the crystals and I love that subtle touch of consistency. I originally had some white poinsettas that I've had for at least 15 years as part of the centerpiece and I fiddled with them for a few days before I realized they were not going to work (the wire was disconnecting with some of the petals- they had seen better days!) So ultimately I bought these absolutely amazing magnolia stems that ended up tying everything together perfectly. If you want a similarly styled mantle, check out the links below. Keep reading for my designer tips as well.
You can see the rest of the room followed suit with the winter-green theme.
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Bonus: 5 Designer tips to create a beautiful Christmas mantle this year:
Pick a theme or 1 item and build off of it. In this case, I used the green glass balls- which I could have taken in many different directions but I decided to do a 'winter-green' theme. Don't get distracted with every pretty thing you find; let your theme be your guide for everything you incorporate
In general, try to stick to 2-3 colors in varying shades. In mine this year, you can find white, crystal, silver, and a few different shades of green. This keeps things simple and consistent
Have varying sized items. This gives better dimension to what you're looking at. Imagine if the balls hanging from my mantle were all the same size; still pretty but much less of an impact.
Distribute the colors throughout the mantle. You can see this by taking one color at a time in the picture and focusing on it. (ie the white- magnolias, candles. crystals- candlesticks, garland, snowflakes & crystal coated stems in the centerpiece)
Always, always, always- add candles!!
Happy Mantle Decorating! Inspired? Let us know what you're
doing for your mantle this year!