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Mantel Décor

12/31/2008 04:00PM ● Published by Super Admin

When I was a kid, there was one sight that instantly reminded me of the holidays and their impending arrival. No, not the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or Santa’s arrival at the mall. I’m talking about mom’s elaborate mantel display. Throughout the years, I enjoyed everything from snowy villages with twinkling lights to giant nutcrackers and glass vases filled with shiny tree ornaments. Just the thought of all that merry décor gets me in the spirit of the holidays. So, you can imagine the enormous letdown when the brown boxes came out of the garage and all the tinsel and trimmings were packed away for another year. Sigh.

So how does one cope with the post-season-mantel-blues? Winter mantels need not be as bleak as the weather outside. In fact, it’s a wonderful opportunity to “cleanse the palette,” if you will, and bring in a refreshing look as crisp as the January forecast. Style asked the pros to chime in on the best ways to dress your mantel for the New Year.

Go White, Minus the Christmas
Just because the holidays have passed doesn’t mean the winter magic has to go out the door with the tree. In fact, there’s nothing cozier than a roaring fireplace perfectly dressed during those chilly nights. “Mantels are a great place in your home to make seasonal changes,” says Laura Minto of Wild Plum in Historic Grass Valley. “They are normally ‘focal points’ and should reflect what you love and how you want to feel in your home.” She suggests plenty of beautiful greens, snowy scenes, and even bare branches. “We have a lot of customers who like to work with whites and dark chocolate browns in the spirit of winter colors,” she notes. “This, however, does not need to be cold or stark. Lush winter bulbs, such as amaryllis and narcissus in mass could make for a striking display.”

Thanks For the Memories
The New Year is an ideal opportunity to reflect on the past and anticipate the future. One way to translate that idea into a mantel display is through photography and keepsakes from treasured events in 2008. A collection of images and mementos can be creatively arranged with a beautiful impact. Jane Reed of INTERIORS by Decorating Den suggests leaning framed pictures of different sizes on the mantel instead of hanging them above. “Odd numbers always make better grouping arrangements,” she says. Shadow box frames are perfect for collage-style projects and look fantastic next to nicely framed photographs. “Of course, mantels can always be used to display collections, but try to incorporate changes in texture – metal, ceramics, wood, etc. – for interest,” Jane notes.

Real Simple
If you’re still seeing visions of sugarplums dancing in your head each night, perhaps drastic measures are in order. “After all the pizzazz of the holidays, try going minimalist for a while,” says Jane. “Clear your mantel totally and place one beautiful object, plant or vase of flowers on one end.” Or, why not keep it light with a little candlelight. “Beautiful candleholders are always excellent [because] the most usual time to have candlelight is throughout the fall and winter season,” says Laura. What’s the best part of having a mantel? No matter how you choose to design it, there’s a roaring fire just below for quality moments of warmth and relaxation with those you love.

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