Monday, November 15, 2010

Dreams of Mantels Danced in My Head

Christmas is around the bend and I couldn't be more excited! The smell of the tree, the twinkle of the lights, the warmth of a roaring fire,  and the many many presents to wrap! I love it all! I know that it isn't even Thanksgiving, but I have a few presents wrapped and I am so proud of myself for jumping on it this year!
I finally learned how to make bows!

I am most thankful for our first home that I proudly get to decorate this year. It has been a long road here and I treasure our home. This time last year, Greg and I were moving into our first apartment when I got my first job. It was 900 square feet and no room for anything, but we loved it because it was our first place together. When it came to decorating for Christmas, there was not much that we could decorate. We had a small tree, a real wreath on the front door, and a few knick-knacks here and there. This year I am blessed to have our own fireplace and mantel to decorate and hang stockings, a banister to 'fluff' up, and room for a big, aka normal-size, tree.

Our little tree in '09.
Since I am starting fresh on my "supplies" for decorating, I wanted to do some research and find the perfect style for our Christmas decor. Most of our interiors are not the traditional colors and I tend to like things that are different and have that "wow" factor. I love traditional Christmas decor with reds and greens, but wanted to know what else is out there that might better reflect us and our home.

Mantels are the focal point, besides the tree, of the Christmas design and I hope to find the perfect style and inspiration for our home!

The Natural Look

One of my first thoughts was to do a real garland by using pine, bay leaves, pine cones, and red berries from the woods behind our house. I love this idea, but the downside for me is that it will dry up and can't be used the next year.

I love this relaxed approach; it is simple, yet makes a statement.
This is a great alternative to a natural garland. Still using fresh boxwood, pine, and other greenery, you can bunch them together and place them in different vases and containers. By keeping water in the containers, the mantel is guaranteed to stay fresher longer and you can add new and fresh greenery when needed. This look can also incorporate different color and shapes for the containers to add your personal style and colors of your other holiday decor.

Beautiful Paper-whites in silver containers.

Paper-whites are a traditional flower of the holidays. With this mantel, clusters of paper-whites are grown in several different sized planters and strategically placed on the mantel. Fabric is draped over the top to give the fullness needed between the planters. Oversized ornaments and silver-dusted pine cones are used as fillers to enhance the look. The paper-whites and ornaments are also used on the cocktail table.

Variation of candlesticks and candles with splashes of greenery, tulips, and paper-whites.

This idea speaks to me. For those of you who do not know, at our wedding, all the dinner tables were covered in candlesticks of all shapes and sizes. I am leaning towards this look as an homage to that great day in our lives. I would add boughs of pine, possibly from our tree, throughout the candles to add some color and depth to it. A creamy, textured stocking hanging below would be simply gorgeous and elegant! Here are some photos from our wedding:
The Alter with candles all around.

One of the centerpiece designs.
5-candle candlestick centerpiece.

View of tent and candles.

As you can see, I love candles and the romantic glow that they give off. Now back to mantels...

How beautiful and simple is this one? Because our tv is above our mantel, we do need something low profile. I would love to know the type of greenery that is used on the mantel! Having the two mint julep cups full of roses adds a romantic touch! Having the two urns with greenery adds a nice touch also. Again, a textured cream or silver stocking would be perfect for this look.

Mantlescape via Developing Designs blog.
I can't put my finger on it, but there is something beautiful about this design. The tall, whimsical orchids and twigs with small ornaments hanging have that 'wow' factor would make any mantel stand out. They would also be a gorgeous table centerpiece or perfect in a foyer.

This picture reminds me that if your tree and the mantel are in the same room, your mantel can play the supporting role and not try to compete for the spotlight!

Most of the ornaments and decor that I already have are crystal, white, and silver. I am planning to add touches of champagne-golds for depth in the tree this year. Through my search, I have come up with a plan and design for our holiday decor. It mixes several of the above ideas and I think it is perfect for us. Stay tuned to see the final results!

My question to you: what will your mantel look like this year?

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