Fireplace Mantle Decorating
You know all the standard techniques you can use to spruce up your fireplace mantle. Family pictures are a standard, nice look. Candles can add some romance. Use scented candles or potpourri to add in the sense of smell. Vases and flowers can give a light, airy feel. Figurines look cute and homey. And with a mirror as a backdrop, you can show off the backs of whatever you're displaying as well.
Here are some more theme ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Perhaps one of the ideas below will strike you as the perfect way to get the most decorative use out of your mantle. Or perhaps the suggestions won't be quite right, but will help trigger the idea that is exactly right for your home and tastes.
When autumn rolls around, consider decorating your mantle with a harvest theme. Small pumpkins and gourds will get you started. Intersperse some wreaths of autumn leaves and perhaps some arrangements of acorns. In the center, you can display an arrangement of cranberries or a turkey figurine or a couple of pilgrims or a cornucopia overflowing with the fruits of the harvest.
Christmas is a traditional time to decorate the mantle, hanging up stockings in the hopes that Saint Nicholas will still arrive. But there's lots more you can do. You can fleece the top of the mantle with cotton and put Santa and eight tiny reindeer riding along the top. For extra fun, add a ninth reindeer at the front with a nose that blinks on and off. Or perhaps you would prefer a collection of angel figurines, or a traditional manger scene. Small, ornate toys are also nice. Gilt boxes and nutcrackers surrounded by sprigs of holly and pine cones can give your mantle an old world holiday charm.
Stockings aren't the only thing you can hang off your mantle. Other decorations look nice when suspended from string or rope as well. You can make your own hangings by cutting square pieces of tag board and rolling them into cones. You can cover the cones with a decorative fabric and ribbons and lace. Add some twine to hang them with and fill them with dried flowers and potpourri for a perfect country hearth look.
Of course you can put small plants on your mantle, but consider going another step after that. If you've got a patience and a talent for sculpting, you can cut small shrubs into topiary. A lion, an elephant, a giraffe, and a horse can show off your artistry as well as your green thumb.
Other nature themes are possible as well. Consider putting a terrarium on the mantle to show off a small, self-contained garden. Add some herbs, stones, branches, and maybe a bird's nest to complete the theme.
Photographs of your family are a natural. But consider a theme in older, black and white photographs. Perhaps you have a collection of these from your family's past. The use of black and white can add a marvelous elegance to any mantle.