Holiday Decor: 5 Different Approaches to Decorating the Mantel

Chances are you display the same holiday decorations on your mantel each year, mixed in with some evergreens and freshly purchased candles. If this sounds familiar, consider switching it up this year with these unique approaches, non of which include nutcrackers or tinsel.

1. Hang kumquat and boxwood garland for an elegant, alternative take on red and green. Citrus fruit has long been a favorite decoration for Christmas and for the Chinese New Year. The orange and green color combination is fresh, light, and feels appropriately celebratory.

2. Go for a rustic look by showcasing a row of miniature evergreen and boxwood topiary trees, classically trimmed into triangle shapes. When wrapped with burlap and intermixed with garland, this almost feels more winter than holiday, but it can work for either. The paperwhites placed in the midst of it all are a nice pop of white amongst all the dark green shades.

3. Try a layered, eclectic mantel using several different kinds of greens and branches, housed in varied vessels. This was actually my mantel from last year, and my main motivation was using what I already owned, as my budget was small. I chose cheap flowers — white carnations — and put them in silver mint julep cups. The over-sized branches came from my dogwood tree in our front yard, as did the magnolia leaves. More is more is more.

4. For an old world, old fashioned mantel, consider stacking vintage/antique books to play with scale. Then on top of the stacks of books pile on vintage mercury glass candlesticks, cranberry balls, topiary trees, and other curiosities that have a festive feel. Picking one color, in this case the red, for everything to be in also lends to this comprehensive look.

5. The less is more, Scandinavian approach is perfect if you want a subtle mantel that will take you through the winter. Here the necessary ingredients include a natural color palette of whites and beiges, with pinewood, small scaled items, and Nordic curiosities such as horns or pine needles.

(Images: 1. Rapha Elles, 2. Traditional Home, 3. The Charlotte. 4. Houzz, 5. Real Simple)