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.

 


How to Mix Dining Chairs: Start With Doubles

If you’re looking for a good recipe to shake up your dining room style, then start mixing things up with mismatched chairs. This eclectic style has become a here-to-stay trend we love—and why not? Mingling different chairs opens up countless ways to play with color, texture, and scale. When done right, it creates a fresh, unexpected look.

So how do you make it look so—well, put together? Here are a few tips from our designers to help you master the mismatch.

START WITH DOUBLES

You don’t have to start over to get in on this look. Ease into it by introducing one set of chairs in a completely different design at the head and foot of the table. If your current style leans toward traditional, swap out your armchairs for a pair of modern ones, or add a duo of dramatic wing chairs to make a statement.

HOW IT’S DONE: Our Jayden host chairs bring a modern, dramatic  vibe to this elegant dining room with high backs, sinuous lines, and sleek tapered legs. Our designers tie the look together by dressing them in bold, blue-and-white Greek key fabric to  coordinate with the upholstered seats of the Chauncey side chairs.

SET A BENCHMARK

To create a relaxed feel, rethink your seating arrangement and replace a set of side chairs with a stunning upholstered bench. This look is not only fresh and fashionable—it’s also great for comfortably fitting in more friends and family on one or both sides of your table.

HOW IT’S DONE: The Clinton bench, upholstered in a striking black-and-white striped fabric, cozies up this dining room with a fashionable edge and invites gathering, lingering—and tons of compliments!

MIX, THEN MATCH

Maybe you’ve got a host of vintage chairs you’ve been collecting, or you have an eclectic taste for all sorts of styles. If you love a cool, collected look, then go ahead—mix it up! Just keep this pro tip in mind: Dress your chairs in a similar color or pattern to tie the look together.

HOW IT’S DONE: Our designers chose a pair of Drew armchairs and Mackenzie armchairs to create this eclectic dining room. While these styles are quite different, they pulled off the look with a couple of expert tricks: choosing chairs that share similar silhouettes, scales, and finishes, and dressing each pair in its own globally inspired pattern to create a collected yet cohesive look.

Hungry for more inspiration? Here’s a look at a few more mismatched dining looks we love!

Berkshire Armchair + Clinton Armchair

Berkshire ArmchairBlake Armchair 

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