Creating whimsy to me means creating spaces in my home that make me smile, that are changed when my mood or the season changes and uses things I love. The fireplace and mantel are often the focal point of your living room or den. Therefore, it is the perfect place to stage an ever-changing tableau that reflects the seasons and incorporates things you love. Decorate a mantel for all seasons!
Begin creating your mantel for all seasons by hanging something over the fireplace. I used an antique clock – you could use a clock, a mirror or a favorite picture. If you want to use a mirror, be sure that it reflects something lovely. Avoid hanging it too high so that it just reflects the ceiling. If the view that it reflects is not one that makes you smile, don’t use a mirror in this location. You want this anchor to be neutral so that you can change decorations around it by season or mood.
When you decorate a mantel, consider one large anchor piece. For me it is a large metal vase. In it I use curly willow “sticks”, and seasonal color. This provides structure and balances the height of the fireplace. A vase is nice so that you can change the color throughout the year, however any large anchor that you like will work.
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Recipe for a beautiful mantel for all seasons:
- Hang a large neutral piece over the fireplace (clock, mirror, metal work, picture, etc.)
- Sit a large anchor on one side, or place matching large pieces on each side to provide structure
- Include some sparkle- candles, metal, mercury glass, etc.
- Fill in with seasonal decorations or household items that make you smile
- Change every few months shifting from full and complex to clean and clear.
- Have fun!
Here are some of my seasonal mantels. You’ll see how I use some of the same pieces in different ways with the different holidays and seasons.
Easter Mantel Decorating Ideas
Up close details- the layers of color and shape make the difference
This year the Easter Mantel omits the mercury glass and large in vase in favor of a green vase and colored candlesticks.
I used the white washed candle sticks my husband made for texture, added pink glass and yellow ceramic for color. Then put in the Easter touches – large bunnies, eggs and carrots. You can use whatever you have handy. Grouping your decorations makes a bigger impact than adding one thing to each surface in the room. Besides, it is easier to put away!
Anchor with a large vase and something tall.
Anchor the other side of the mantel with something that gives it visual weight, like the green vase placed here. Add something tall – the skinny bunny – and fill in with accessories that draw from the ones used on the other side. Think about additional color and texture. Here I wanted lots of green with spring pinks and yellows since it’s time to welcome the season!
Here is the complete mantel for another Easter. You can compare last Easter to this one and see lots of the same favorite items, with different accessories. It is always fun to change with another season and create whimsy for you and your family to enjoy!
Decorate a mantel for spring
After each holiday, when my mantel is really full, I swing back toward something more simple and streamlined. With the bunnies packed away, the mercury glass is now grouped on one side of the mantel with the same large floral arrangement. This time I added two antique Staffordshire pieces to bring color and interest to the mantel. Look around your home and find something you like, something that you may not notice or things that have been packed away. Play with items you already have, stand back and admire your work. When needed, make minor adjustments or just start over! Changing the mantel changes the room and keeps it fresh.
Summer Mantel Ideas
Now it is the start of summer and time for another change. I love the mercury glass, but my husband does not. So, to be a nice wife, I moved it to the other room. Here is the mantel without it and with a little more color.
Fill that fireplace with a pretty fern. This one is silk so it lasts all summer. Be sure to put it in a pretty pot.
Right side is anchored by a tall arrangement.
Use an odd number of objects and be sure to vary the height and shape.
Left side is lighter, but balances the mantel as a whole.
Smaller items balance the other side of the mantel. Set of glass oil lamps is broken up to add some reflective surface on each side.
Now go change your mantel! No point in dusting if you don’t move things so people notice. Pick out a few of your favorite things and enjoy!
Fourth of July / Independence Day Mantel Ideas
Decorate a mantel with a little red white and blue for the 4th of July!
Time to change the mantel again! To decorate for Independence Day, while maintaining some sophistication, I added red and blue accessories with classic items I have around the house. You will notice that the large arrangement and flower blue platter stay, but the platter moves to the other side of the fireplace. With it, I added a red Asian vase, candle sticks and a blue duck as a nod to traditional ginger jars. Around the big vase on the other side of the fireplace, I added white candle stick, a red hurricane lamp, and a star shaped tray. The finishing touches are a cardinal, a blue and white orb and a wire star garland.
No need to purchase things, just gather items you have around the house in the colors you want and play with them! If want to add a few things that you can use for another holiday, the star tray and garland are fun for 4th of July, Christmas and New Years and don’t take up much room to store.
Halloween is just around the corner, so it’s time to update the mantel. Add switch, some pumpkins and some seasonal candlesticks to put a Halloween look on your mantel.
While I already had the fall arrangement and the white and mercury glass candlesticks on the mantel, I could just add the big witch and tuck the pumpkins around, then hang the banner to turn my fall mantel to Halloween. Come November, the witch goes away, the Jack O Lanterns turn around and I add some feathers and additional fruit and we have a mantel to be thankful for! Change your mantel, use what you have around the house and create your own whimsy!
Between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving decorations can be easily overlooked. Take a few minutes to clear the ghosts, witches and spiders, but leave those pumpkins out- they are the foundation of your Thanksgiving decor.
If the pumpkins have Jack O Lantern faces like some of men do- simply turn them around! Group the pumpkins with something taller- mine if the same candle sticks I used for Halloween. Now add some other items in earthy tones from your collection. If you have some pilgrims or turkeys add them too!
In less than fifteen minutes you have a Thanksgiving mantle! A little fall color to enjoy as the weather turns cooler and before the glitz and glamor and business that comes with the Christmas season. That is something to be thankful for!
Then I added this little painting as the perfect background for the pilgrims and turkey!
Ready to decorate a mantel? Browse through all of the home dec ideas and inspiration on Create Whimsy.