How to style a mantel for the holidays

If you have a fireplace—working or not—and it has a mantel, you’ve hit the holiday decorating jackpot. A mantel, or mantelpiece (or chimneypiece in England), is by definition a shelf—but it really is so much more. It’s prime real estate in any room: an instant focal point, an opportunity not to be missed. Often, the architectural style of a mantel (and surrounding millwork) dictates how you decorate it—but not now. From candles and crystal to cherished collectibles, anything goes during the holidays. Mantel decorating “rules” still apply:
  • Choose a center of attention.
  • Design with odd numbers.
  • Keep scale and balance in mind.
  • Add depth by layering.
  • Stick with your theme.
Following these principles, we styled our own holiday mantel to show you how it's done. Let us take you through it, step by step.
  • Focus! Center a large mirror or work of art on the mantel and lean it close to the wall. For our spectacular statement piece, we chose our Aged Silver Provincial mirror; it always sets an elegant mood.
  • Go green. Place natural evergreen garland along the length of the mantel, dangling some over the sides for a lush look. Drape greenery on your mirror or artwork, too—for dramatic effect.
  • Add a little color. We chose sprigs of red winterberries.
  • Go glam with a few metal accents. Our lovely Pomegranates (available in gold, brass, or nickel finishes) and ever-popular Song Birds add some shimmer.
  • See the light. Amp up the ambience with candles in hurricanes wrapped in red ribbon. DIY tutorial: A RIBBON RUNS THROUGH IT 
  • Turn on the sparkle! We finished our mantelscape with mini battery-powered LED lights.
  No mantel? No worries! Try this on any long-ish horizontal surface: a buffet, a console table, or the top of a bookcase or china cabinet.  
Great Gifts for Less Than $100 Looking for a stylish and cost-effective way to flatter your design-savvy friends and family this holiday season? We’ve got you covered. This curated gift list includes beautiful accents that run from pretty to plush and from chic to shimmery—and the best part is they’re all under $100. ARTY FACT. Our brass Patina Painted vase has a rich, variegated finish that complements any décor. ($99) PENGUIN CLASSICS. Nickel-finished Emperor Penguins are ready to waddle into a loved one’s heart. ($99) ALL CHOKED UP. Start with an aged-finish Gold Artichoke to create a stunning still life on a holiday table. ($59) WARM UP EXERCISE. Think soft, cozy, and comforting: That’s our Ivory Chunky Knit throw. ($69) IT’S A WRAP. Our jewel-toned Serene throws are available in Goldenrod, Wine, and Teal. ($99) ONE OF A KIND. Every Merryl vase is an original, mouth-blown by a master artisan in Portugal. ($79) Ready, set, save! Make your list, check it twice, and go here for more fabulous, affordable gift ideas.
Crafty Ways to Roll Out the Holidays When it comes to seasonal décor, ribbon is one of the most versatile materials there is. Everyone knows ribbon can transform a gift—even one wrapped in plain brown paper—with a simple twist, knot, or bow. Ribbon can give a tired wreath a festive twirl in seconds. It can dress your dining chairs for dinner. And it can stand in for garland, then top a tree with sparkling finesse. We love ribbon of every stripe, whether wide, wired, plaid, pinked, grosgrain, or velvet. We unspooled some holiday classics (a pair of tartans and razzle-dazzle reds) to jazz up a couple of our favorite everyday accents. With a snip here, and a snip there, we used ribbon to create holiday statement pieces—and you can, too. Let's get rolling! Wrap candleholders with lovely tartan ribbon to give your tabletop or mantel a quick holiday update. We used our simple glass hurricanes, available in three sizes. Cut lengths of ribbon two inches longer than the circumference of the hurricanes. Wrap ribbon around each hurricane, folding over the extra. Secure with double-sided tape. Layer narrow ribbon over wide for added cheer! Our Oval Link tray is fab as is—perfect for displaying decorative objects, candles, flowers, or for serving up your favorite cocktail. We used narrow, red satin ribbon to add a pretty punch of color. Just weave your ribbon through the links, leaving about two inches to neatly fold over and secure with double-sided tape.  
At Ethan Allen, we’ve been on the move, exploring new places and styles, new colors and finishes, new fabrics, and fresh, new pieces designed to bring the world home to you. We call it Passport, home furnishings and accents inspired by the rich tapestry of cultures from around the globe. Passport is drawn from looks past and present, near and far—from India’s hand-knotted rugs to campaign-style dressers, from Ming Dynasty-inspired display cabinets and occasional tables that hint of pagodas, to woven rattan chairs designed in the rich tradition of British Colonial style. Passport is exotic yet warm, collected, authentic, and livable. There’s something for everyone to love, whether you’re an armchair tourist (by the way, have we got an armchair for you!) or an intrepid traveler. Passport is your license to live adventurously, anywhere in the world. We invite you to indulge your wanderlust in the comfort of your own home. Take a look—and come along for the ride!
Our furniture speaks for itself. Every piece of furniture we make has a personality of its own—from the Robyn bed’s country casual vibe to the Vivica chest’s go-glam-or-go-home attitude. There isn’t a chair, chest, ottoman, or etagère that doesn’t make a statement; we designed them that way! Recently we imagined what our furniture would say—how it might introduce itself, for example—if only it had the chance. We featured some table talk in our October magazine, but the conversation didn’t stop there. Meet some of our favorites: ROBYN: I'm a sleigh bed infused with a cottage vibe—contemporary yet rustic, as cozy in a city loft as I am in a summer beach house. KINGSTON: I'm tropically inspired, with a reeded headboard and footboard design; I'll instantly transform your bedroom into an island getaway. LINCOLN: I may look casual, but I have great fashion sense. My upholstered headboard can be dressed in your choice of dozens of fabrics so I can show off your unique style. FAIRFAX: I'm proof that traditional doesn't have to be old-fashioned. I'm neoclassical with a modern twist—and I steal the show in any space. GRAYSON: I have a generous seat for roomy relaxation—and with my Chippendale-inspired design, I look fabulous anywhere, especially in the middle of a room. VERSAILLES: I’m inspired by Louis XV and generously proportioned for comfort. My hand-carved details are subtle—but stunning. VIVICA: I’m all about the glamour; my silver leaf wood frame is dressed head-to-toe in antiqued mirror panels. Va va voom! ADELAIDE: I’m Gustavian (that’s part Swedish, part French); my breakfront effect and delicate ring pulls make me one-of-a kind. BOWEN: I’m a petite beauty with a big personality, dressed in a faux snakeskin-embossed leather in white or silver, and detailed with antiqued silver nail head trim.
Take a peek at True Blue, our October magazine (download it here), and we promise you won’t feel blue in the least. Our designers captured some pretty cool blue moments—from the natty Baldwin settee on the cover (love the Greek key nailhead trim) to our sumptuous Monikka bedding (p. 22—be still our hearts!). Blue is widely considered the world’s favorite color (go on, Google it), and we know that in home décor, blues of every stripe just never seem to go out of style. Join the navy? We’re in. Reach for the sky? We’re up for it. Take a powder? We love all the baby blues. In fairness to fall, we can appreciate its fiery reds and glorious golds, but give us any hue of blue—in any season—and we’re down. Here are some of our favorite looks!
Summer is officially over.  It’s time to close the pool, rake the leaves, plant the bulbs … but whatever you do, don’t call off the outdoor entertaining—not yet. Even if you live in a region with four distinct seasons, there’s still time to get out and grill, chill, sip, and nosh, while hosting friends and family in style. Fall entertaining is all about creating a cozy vibe. Bring on the harvest hues and amp up the creature comforts. Swap the beach towels for toasty blankets and throws. Let there be light: Bring out the candles and lanterns, and build a fire. Think hot cocoa instead of cold brews. And because you never know when a chill will chase the party indoors, remember to eat dessert first—especially s’mores, everyone’s fireside favorite. Our colleague Marta Eriquez was kind enough to share her recipe for indoor s’mores with a deliciously gooey twist. The best part: You can make them all year long (no fire or charred marshmallows required). MARTA’S S’MORES BARK Ingredients
  • 24 oz. dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 3 full sheets of graham crackers, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Line a 9" x 12" rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Melt half the chocolate in the microwave and use a silicone spatula or the back of a wooden spoon to spread it on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Crumble the graham crackers and set aside.
  4. Heat the marshmallow fluff in the microwave. Quickly spread a marshmallow layer over the hardened chocolate.
  5. Press graham cracker crumbs into the marshmallow layer. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  6. Melt the rest of the chocolate and very gently spread it over the graham cracker layer. Refrigerate for an hour.
  7. Break into pieces and serve.
Bark can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator—if you have any left over!    
It’s our anniversary!  This fall we’re celebrating 85 years of craftsmanship, innovation, style, service, and quality. We picked Labor Day to kick off the party—a day that honors the great tradition of the American worker. Appropriately, we’re celebrating 85 years of jobs well done. We’re so incredibly proud of our workers—from the craftspeople who make our wood pieces to the designers who help our customers create beautiful rooms. Throughout September we’ll be celebrating our history (look for highlights of our timeline), our favorite anniversary palette (beautiful black and gold), and the creativity of our artisans. We’ll be sharing entertaining “then and now” stories and going behind the scenes inside our photo studio and manufacturing plants. Don’t worry. We’ll still be sharing our Design Stars’ stories and serving up fresh decorating ideas, but we’ve got some serious celebrating to do this September. We may be 85, but we can party with the best of them—come along for the ride! —The Ethan Allen Design Team      
A beautifully made bed is a pleasure to behold, with its sumptuous layers and gorgeous mix of textures. It all starts with the bed, of course—and no one makes beds like we do. The bestselling Quincy is just one of the beds we manufacture right in our own American workshops. And we do it all: from sourcing timber to applying finishes by hand. Take a look and see for yourself how we bring the Quincy bed to life—from wood … to wonderful.
The ancient art of block printing has been around for 2,000 years. As a traditional method of textile design, it’s held up surprisingly well. Block printing is essentially the transfer of an image or design (in this case, coral) to a surface (a soft, white linen-and-cotton blend fabric) from a carved material (rubber, although wood is widely used) covered in ink (ours is water-based and nontoxic). PRINTING OUR PILLOW, STEP BY STEP An artist starts by carving the coral design into a piece of rubber to create a stamp that can be used again and again. The stamp is then glued to a piece of plexiglass, and ink is rolled out onto the raised stamp, ensuring the pigment is applied evenly. The pillow face fabric is placed on a padded surface, and the plexiglass is then turned over and positioned onto the fabric, inked side down. Pressure is evenly applied to the back of the plexiglass. While the fabric is held down, the plexiglass is then cleanly lifted away. The fabric is hung to dry before being sewn into the finished pillow. Our Fan Coral Pillow is a contemporary example of the time-honored technique that’s widely associated with India, China, and Japan. The beauty and fine details of the natural sea fan coral are printed by hand onto cloth to produce an original, strikingly modern design—done the old-fashioned way. Our gorgeous block-printed pillows are made close to home, in a workshop in downtown Chicago. Each print is inked by hand, so variations will occur—only adding to the natural beauty of the piece.