Three Merry Mantelscapes

By Kate Riley November 29, 2009

Whenever the Christmas closet is opened, the first place I always begin with my seasonal decorating is with the three mantels in my home.   This year, I used a combination of fresh garland, faux greenery, yard clippings, and other baubles to add a little holiday flair to my home with three very different, yet very merry mantelscapes.   


apothecary jar

In the living room, I decided to throw tradition to the wind, and somehow hot pink found its way into my home.  It all started out very green and gold, which is perfectly fine and lovely and traditional, but then I got a wild hair and I decided with a box of hot pink glass balls and a few 50 cent picks, I could glam it up a bit. 

living room mantle final

Can you believe it ?  Hot pink in my traditional living room ?  Pinch me, cause I must have been sleepwalking when I came up with this one.  But I have to confess, in hindsight, and with all the bronze tones in the space, I really do like this flashy color, especially since it is just for the season. I have plans to sew a new bronze tree skirt this year, so I think I’ll wrap some presents in hot pink and tie them with bronze ribbon.  I’m definitely having some fun in the living room this year. 

The greenery is a combination of real and fake.  I’m not one who insists every ounce of greenery is fresh, or one who never ever uses any fresh greenery at all.  I think it’s perfectly fine to use both.  In fact, I mix real and fake all season long, fresh for its scent, and faux for the glitz.

For this mantle, I used a base of faux garland, added some glittery swags, then pulled some yard clippings from my ‘breath of heaven’ evergreen shrub to create a medley of green tones and textures.

glittered greenery

living room greenery

Thrift store decanters make great vases.

thrift store decanter

The wreath was easy peasy.  Start out with a plain fragrant fir wreath.

plain fresh wreath

Add some ribbon, glittery picks, and glass ornaments with floral wire.

attach ribbon and ornaments

Add different texture and color with a few free yard clippings. 

breath of heaven

And then you have your own custom wreath in about ten minutes. 

wreath after 

This apothecary jar is so versatile.  In fall, it held acorns, walnuts, and pinecones.  Now it showcases some very cheerful ornaments.  Golden berry picks in the wreath and on the mantle play off the existing bronze tones in this room.

apothecary of ornaments

Colored picks at Michaels are two for a dollar.  At that price, they go a long way to add that fresh pop of color.  Doesn’t cool hot pink look fab with warm gold ?   

pink glittery pick

living room left view


Outside, there is little color at all on the mantel.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite:  void of color, and far more rustic and natural. 

outdoor fireplace

outdoor mantle

Again, a combination of three types of greenery, real cedar underneath, with a faux fir garland and a beaded pinecone garland on top.  

outdoor blended greenery

The simple fir wreath is embellished with just a few more pinecones, and a seasonal message is suspended with invisible fishing line. 

peace wreath

For our Christmas party, I think I’ll add some twinkle lights up here to really make it merry.

pinecones and garland


In the kitchen I had a little fun creating a winter wonderland.  I always use a lot of red and silver accents in the kitchen during Christmas. White lanterns and flocked branches send a wintery message, while an inexpensive pack of red cardinals adds whimsy and color.


The everyday pear plates are replaced by these red toile transferware pieces I found on Ebay last year. 

lantern and bird 

I’m just crazy about the Moroccan style intricate detail on these lanterns.  They cast quite a spell at night when lit up.

plate and two birds

The white flocked garland is topped by some faux beaded branches.

red bird

Red tea light candleholders add another dash of crimson.

white lanterns

Truth is, no one ever needed a fireplace to create a seasonal “mantelscape”.  Any wall shelf, bookshelf, hutch or console table is prime real estate for your own display of greenery.  Have fun, mix it up, use what you have, get in the spirit, and get creative.  After all, it’s only a for a few weeks ! 

Have a great Sunday !


  1. I’m not a pink person at all, however, the fuschia/green/gold just pops! All of your decorations are gorgeous. Question: do you ever sleep? :-) Not sure how you accomplish all that you do but thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the pink and gold in your living room! I was admiring plum colored glass balls at the store yesterday and thinking I would like to go the purple route this year. Thanks for showing me how I might actually be able to pull it off!

  3. You are so creative!!!!! I love everything that you do! You just may inspire me to get the christmas stuff out this week and see what I can come up with.

  4. Beautiful. I love the hot pink. I would have never thought about that color but it looks great. You are lucky that you have a great outdoor space to decorate too. You are busy, busy, busy. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next:)

  5. These mantles are gorgeous. I love how different they all are. I think the last one might be my favorite though — it’s so simple but stunning. This year I actually have a mantle to decorate in my apartment, but I may wait another year to do anything to it since I’ll be back with my family for Christmas.

  6. wow! I have just drug down all the fall decorations…I can’t stand doing it before Thanksgiving because I feel that wonderful holiday just gets lost in the shuffle! I have been pondering whether to slap up some Christmas decorations before we leave the country for two weeks and your blog has really got me in the mood to spend this afternoon doing something new and creative before I leave! Such beautiful arrangements you have going on there!!! Love love love each and every one..thanks for sharing them with us!

  7. You are so amazing! I just want to be your neighbor! Such an inspiration. Can’t wait to get home and start decorating! I WANT your outdoor fireplace! It is amazing. That is my husband’s next project. I am printing the picture of yours and hanging it on his mirror! Tee hee!

  8. I love all three, but have to confess that I am partial to the first glitzy, hot pink theme. Pink is my fave! I love the cardinals you used with the red and white themed mantel. I wouldn’t have thought of the birds, but they are festive (and too cute!). Good call using the pink and white plates – well, really it was pure genius! Can’t wait to see the other posts for this holiday season!

  9. So pretty! I especially love the white lanterns with the cardinals, so much so that I featured you on my sidebar, I hope you don’t mind :)

  10. I love it so much! How fun that you have the ability to do different themes in your home! It makes it so fun that way instead of having to choose what them to go with! I also LOVE using pink that is so great!

  11. Beautiful! I would love to know what color your walls are in the kitchen! I think this may be the color I want to paint mine! Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Would love to see a photo of the kitchen mantle taken at a distance so that we could see the full effect. I love this one best of all. You are indeed blessed to have three mantles. And you did each one so creatively. Way to go girl!

  13. I love all three of these, but I think the pink might be my favorite. I also second the request to see a shot of the kitchen mantel that shows all of it at once. Beautiful!

  14. Oh, I knew I would have fun seeing your Christmas decor & I am NOT disappointed. WOW, that hot pink is beautiful, I was just admiring a whole bunch of hot pink at Walmart, of all places. THey have a bunch of neato colors this year. Love, love all you put together & each one is different, but equally stunning. I’m still working on all of mine and have to get it photographed. You do a fab job with your photos! Happy Christmas time!

  15. Awesome! Who woulda thought—hot pink in the living room?! You made it work and inspired the rest of us to be brave and try something not quite so mainstream…thanks again Kate.

  16. Love it, now I know what to do with all the empty jars from the candy buffet in my daughter’s birthday! I just posted the birthday on my blog… take a look, you will love it!

  17. LOVED your last paragraph…sadly, we live in a home with no fireplace (gasp!). It really is a travesty, and I’m considering getting a fake one just so I can have a mantle to display stuff on. I LOVE the first mantlescape. On my computer screen, it shows up as that gorgeous deep purple color that’s so hot right now, but I love both. ;) I also like the cardinals in the kitchen. :)

  18. Your Christmas decor is so festive and lovely. I love the non-traditional hot pink in your living room and the rustic look outside. All of the sparkly picks you add to your garlands give such a pop of glamour. It’s a beautiful look!

  19. Your mantles look great, Kate! I have two and did one of mine with hot pink, too. Love your living room wreath. Don’t know why hot pink seems to be everywhere this year {also that lime green}; very fun though, and as my daughter said, “Dr. Seuss looking”.

  20. I love this post. Your mantels are just breathtakingly beautiful; thank you for sharing them with us. But I especially love the fact that you say that no fireplace is required for such arrangements. I can so clearly remember being a newlywed with a husband in business school. We lived in married students’ housing (500 square feet of cinder block and linoleum at the University of Virginia). Fireplace? No way. But I had so much fun festooning the top of our bookcase. Greenery is free, and ornaments are cheap. Anyone can enjoy this kind of Christmas cheer.

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