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The secret to a good-looking mantel? A few key focal points, a handful of treasured objects, and a rotating cast of in-season swaps to keep things fresh and festive—just in time for holiday entertaining. The best fireplace mantel ideas are ones that are unique and inspiring but also complement your style. The right spread of items will spruce up your seasonal decor and bring the room together. But finding the happy mix of permanent and seasonal items can be a difficult feat. By keeping in mind a few simple tricks, the task won’t have to feel daunting.
While our editors prep their homes for family, friends, and fun winter dinner parties, we’ve gathered a few recommendations when it comes to decorating a fireplace mantel or buffet for the season. Sometimes the smallest additions make the biggest impact to the way a room feels. Fresh tulips on the table feel like spring, while dahlias and mums often remind us of the fall; a lush, green garland is a cozy addition to a beautiful winter setup. And whatever your design taste, just don’t forget to have fun with it! The fireplace is so often the focal point to a living room, which means that it’s the perfect place to take a risk or mix in a bold item.
1. Start With Art Decor
To help establish a mood and color palette, play around with your favorite art. A larger piece will draw in the eye and offer a starting point around which to style everything else. Lean your frames against the wall for a lived-in look (this also makes them easier to swap out), or hang them for a more formal feel. On a budget? Sites such as Etsy and Minted are great places to find affordable art online.
2. Bring the Outdoors in With Plants
Houseplants in beautiful pots are a winner year-round, and seasonal fresh flowers or sculptural branches add soothing color, organic shapes, and drama. To gussy up your mantel for the holidays, add some fragrant seasonal greenery such as eucalyptus, winterberry, or juniper. You can lay stems horizontally to act as a garland or present it in a flower vase to add some height. When all else fails, a gorgeous faux garland works wonders!
3. Shed Light With a Candelabra
Wall sconces or small table lamps are great lighting options for a mantel, but nothing beats candlelight to up the cozy factor. For evergreen decor, consider placing a pair of taper candles in brass candlesticks. For the holiday season, however, a group of candles (preferably an odd number, like three, five, or seven) in varying heights and vessels will make the room feel warm and inviting for the festive holiday season.
4. Add Meaning With Unique Home Decor
Add interest by mixing in objects that are also meaningful to you. Showcasing that brass owl that belonged to your grandmother or the ceramic bowl you got in Oaxaca will add personality and make you happy every time you walk past it. Displaying your personality subtly with a beautiful figurine not only sparks visual interest, but it also brings you joy.
5. Mix and Match Decor
Remember to mix things up! Your mantel accessories, vessels, and art should include objects both old and new. Think treasured splurges and budget scores, different materials and finishes, as well as a mix of shapes and sizes. Taking the time to stylize your mantel will result in a beautiful display of layered, rich, and unique pieces all your own.
By Hannah Baker | Photograph by Carson Downing
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