I'm a big fan of the subtle mantle. In my mind, mantles should follow the less is more rule, enhancing the actual fireplace instead of trying to distract your eye away from it. This means no extravagant holiday decor, millions of accessories or elaborate displays. Just a few of your favorite things that remind you of the season you're in.
- Pick a feeling. Using the actual fireplace as a starting point, think of a feeling you'd like to portray with the mantle decor. Warm and inviting? Intimate and cozy? Sometimes it helps to think of a past experience and find objects and artwork that remind you of that time.
- Mix textures and finishes. As you're collecting potential candidates, be conscious of the types of textures included in the mix. Varying sleek with rough, shiny with dull, ceramic and iron adds depth to the overall display without adding to the amount of accessories you need to include.
- Don't stick to one style. Use this as a chance to be bold and experimental with different decor styles. Typically drawn to rustic accessories? Try to find a modern frame or vase to pair with them. Always interested in gold objects? Dare yourself to find a couple and incorporate into your design. Similar to mixing textures and finishes, combining different decor styles adds visual interest to your mantle without adding clutter.
- White space is good space. Not every single corner of the mantle needs to be filled. Especially with witches and spiders or turkeys and cornucopias. Use wall displays such as mirrors and framed artwork to add bulk without taking up the entire mantle. Then, pick a few of the best decorations you've collected and compose in a clustered arrangement to allow your mantle to breathe.
- Have fun. Nine times out of ten, mantles are positioned in the primary living space of the home. This is the area you typically entertain, enjoy family and friends or just kick back and relax. Find something that is guaranteed to make you smile and be sure to include it within your mantle display. It could be something you find funny, reassuring or even a little bit nostalgic - whatever the feeling you originally chose, find one thing that completely embodies it.