Style One: Understated Elegance
Characterized by its muted colors and minimalist styling, this mantel is best described as simple and sophisticated, summed up by the term \"understated elegance.\" Here a palette of white, gray and charcoal helps to blend its seasonal trappings with the room's year-round decor.
The term \"new neutrals\" is often associated with understated elegance. It suggests muted tones that, like classic cream and taupe, meld with most every color in the spectrum. From a pair of greige stockings adorned with blue-gray ribbon to cardboard fabric letters wrapped in wintry dove-gray yarn, new neutrals are incorporated into nearly every element of this mantel's decor.
Sophisticated spaces often incorporate mirror, mercury glass or metallics, adding the dazzle of reflected light and an overarching sense of glamour. For this mantel design, sheen is added through a trio of floral cones covered in greige, olive-green and gold fringe trim, while metallics are present in the form of pewter candlesticks.
Most interior designers attest that the perfect room includes a mix of wood, metal, stone, textile, glass and ceramic. While more luxurious elements such as stone, glass and ceramic add elegance, wood can introduce both pattern and color. To keep the wooden elements on this mantel simple, basic pine birdhouses are nestled into a green garland.
Use of Textiles
Textiles play a major part in the design of elegant and understated rooms. Wall and window coverings are usually made from high-end fabrics, often organic textiles in interesting textures and neutral palettes. To work these fabrics into a holiday mantel design, a series of cardboard-and-fabric letters are covered in dove-gray yarn and arranged to spell out J-O-Y. Besides coordinating with the white of the fireplace tile, the subtly toned yarn picks up the hues in the handmade rosette garland beneath.
Style Two: Rustic
Today rustic is all about mixing weathered textures and timeless farmhouse style. To bring a touch of rusticity to this transitional mantel, a black-and-white photograph depicting a snowed-in cabin is on display above a lush green garland dressed with red-and-white plaid ribbon and faux cranberries. For a botanical boost, potted junipers are added to either side of the TV, adding an aromatic effect to the room.
Natural Burlap Stockings
Stockings can invigorate a mantel with color, pattern and texture. Add interest to an understated fireplace with the help of burlap stockings. The nubby texture of their casual fabric conjures up thoughts of country life, but in a not-too-literal way.
Tree-bark candleholders are as rustic as holiday accessories come. To craft them from fallen debris, simply gather assorted branches sized at least two inches in diameter. Use a hacksaw to cut off any severe curvatures along each branch, and then trim the solid, straight portions to several different heights. Using paddle bits of various diameters, drill a hole into the top of each cut portion of branch to accommodate candlesticks, pillar candles and votives.
Organic Shapes + Textures
Consider skewing your rustic style in one of two directions: country kitsch or classic farmhouse. While country kitsch refers to all things folk, classic farmhouse style suggests texture, timeless pieces and weathered finishes. Here farmhouse style is captured with the help of miniature juniper bushes planted in weathered barn wood vessels, along with a decorative star made of twigs and faux cranberries.
Style Three: Pop Art
Homeowners hoping to make a bold statement may opt for a pop art-inspired holiday scheme. Often associated with '70s and '80s icon Andy Warhol, pop art is infamous for its super-saturated colors, graphic motifs and overall fun vibe. To add a splashy aesthetic to this mantel, it is first covered in stark white garland, then accessorized with high-energy hues appearing in everything from its hanging ornaments to vessels filled with candy.
Apothecary jars have become increasingly popular for year-round decorating as well as seasonal styling. Put a youthful spin on classic, clear-glass apothecary jars by filling them with sweets like gumballs, jawbreakers and rainbow candy canes. Once Christmas has passed, encourage guests to enjoy the candy that way, it will be gone just in time for New Year's resolutions.
To put a seasonal spin on pop-art style, consider using boldly colored pillar candles with metallic accents. Here a trio of candles in lime green, turquoise and hot pink takes on wintry flair thanks to their frosted, pearlescent finish.