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.  
This Thanksgiving, say goodbye to entertaining stress! These simple tips can help you plan a day that everyone can love. Make a Plan Nothing is impossible once you break it down into simple steps! So: Get your menu set and your shopping done a few days before; jot down a schedule (e.g., what's being cooked in what order, who's arriving when, how you'll pace the hors d'oeuvres, dinner, and dessert) and build in some socializing time for yourself; and make sure there's enough seating for all your guests.   Back to the Future Nothing beats a recipe that's been passed down for generations. Send happy Thanksgiving memories into the future by preparing a family favorite or two – you could even have copies of the recipes for guests to take home.   Get an Early Start Check those recipes to see what you can make in advance. Stocks for gravy, sides, and dough are all good candidates for pre-prep.   Ready…Set…Set the Table! Tablescaping game on. Check out our Harvest tabletop here.   Card Your Guests Hosting a crowd? Assign seats with place cards, mixing friends and family to create a more social experience.   The Warmest Welcome Greet your guests with a signature cocktail or a steamy mug of hot mulled cider (with or without the rum!).   Open with a Wow Feel like stretching those creative culinary muscles? Start with one over-the-top appetizer to get your party started.   Child's Play Set up games, an easy craft, or a space where the little ones can put together a simple yummy dessert, and they won't have time to ask, "Is it ready yet?"   Pass the Sanity, Please If there are lots of people or lots of dishes, simplify your hosting duties: Set up a buffet near the table and let guests serve themselves.
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