5 Tips for Styling Your Christmas Mantel

It is that busy, exciting, hectic and stressful time of year when the ‘to do’ list is never ending and our calendars are filled with shopping, parties, dinners and visits with family and friends. One of the big ‘to do’s’ is Christmas decorating and we are challenged to squeeze it into the schedule somehow. I have to admit I am often challenged to get my own done too which is why I have broken my home into sections and focus on one at a time. It is far less overwhelming and allows me to update each section completely as I have time. This week, I share 5 easy steps for decorating your Christmas mantel; if you don’t have a mantel, this approach works well for a coffee or sofa table display, or the top of a hutch or sideboard as well. Read on!

1. Clear the Decks

Start by ‘clearing the decks’ and cleaning the area – this is a great opportunity to dust when you aren’t working around things. It also allows you to see the space clearly, consider the area you have to work with and what might fit.

Summer Refresh Cleared Mantel.jpg

2. Select Display Items

Think about what you want to include in your vignette and what your theme is. Are you including the same thing as previous years? Adding in some new items? Changing it out completely? One way to reduce the pressure of having to put all the decorations away as soon as Christmas is over is to use items that are not Christmas specific. There are lots of decor items available that are winter themed but can do double duty beautifully for Christmas, such as, trees, snowmen or deer.

3. Place Large Items

I place the larger items first as they anchor your display and provide the base from which to build. In this case, two glass hurricane lamps with mercury glass pine tree shaped bases frame the vignette. I then added in 2 bottle brush trees which together with the hurricane lamps. I next added in 5 more trees of varying heights, materials, colours, textures and shapes. Remember the the ‘rule of odds’ - an odd number of items result in displays that are more visually appealing and attractive and actually bring balance to the look.

Christmas Mantel - Step 2.jpg

4. Fill the Gaps

You don’t want to fill in every possible area but it is important to have some negative or blank space to make it the items stand out and allow the eye to be drawn across the display. Often displays are over crowded and too many items drown the display making it difficult to see and appreciate the items we have included. Remember that ‘less is more’.

I have a mirror casually propped on the mantel which creates the illusion of space and brings more light and depth to my displays. Of course, I always like a touch of whimsy to keep my displays from looking too stiff and formal; my mantel is no different so I have included 2 silver deer tucked among the trees.

Christmas Mantel - Step 4.jpg

5. Give it Texture

Texture is an important element in decor, especially when creating a display. Without it displays look flat and one dimensional. Layers of texture create movement and interest and bring depth and vitality to the space. In my display the varying materials of the trees bring instant visual as well as tactile texture (my ever lovin’ will confirm this as he likes to move the trees around when I’m not looking). I kept the garland of greenery in my display as a way to add a splash of colour and another layer of texture. It also connects the items and encourages the eye to move over and around the display. A string of glimmer lights add that extra punch of sparkle and shine and bring light to the whole display.

Christmas Mantel - Step 3.jpg

The most important part of creating or styling a display is to have FUN! Style, re-style, experiment, play with the display. It costs nothing to keep moving things around until you have a look you love and is gorgeous in the space. And be sure to share pics of your displays - I love seeing the results of your work.