A warm, win­ter look

When the hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions are put away, the win­ter man­tel and fire­place can seem strangely bare

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CLASSIFIEDS/FEATURES - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS On­line: http://mal­lo­ry­math­i­son.com/ http://davin­in­te­ri­ors.com/ http://megal­lan­cole.com/videos/ https://m.youtube.com/MegAl­lanColeCrafts

When Jan­uary ar­rives, even Christ­mas-lov­ing home­own­ers might be happy to put away Santa and his reindeer. But the post-hol­i­day man­tel and fire­place can look strangely bare.

The days are still short and the weather chilly, so “the key word af­ter the hol­i­days is cosy,” says Pitts­burgh-based in­te­rior de­signer Cathy Davin.

A well-dec­o­rated fire­place — even with­out a wood-burn­ing fire in­side — can be the per­fect source of cheer­ful style and warm glow through­out the first weeks of the new year.

Here, Davin and two other de­sign­ers — HGTV stylist Meg Al­lan Cole and At­lanta-based in­te­rior de­signer Mal­lory Mathi­son — of­fer four ideas for mak­ing the most of your man­tel and fire­place through­out the post-hol­i­day sea­son:



Davin be­lieves in cel­e­brat­ing win­ter even af­ter the hol­i­days are over. She re­moves red poin­set­tias, but keeps white ones and white cy­cla­men around her fire­place. And she con­tin­ues light­ing white and gold can­dles on the man­tel.

She also en­cour­ages clients to keep tiny white lights in their liv­ing space for a warm glow through­out Jan­uary.

Cole agrees: White lights “can ab­so­lutely stay up all win­ter long,” she says. “They yell, ‘Warm and fes­tive! Come on in­side! Get out of the cold!”‘

Along­side tra­di­tional lights, she rec­om­mends us­ing LED cop­per strips on the man­tel. “Cop­per is re­ally on-trend right now,” Cole says. And th­ese strips of lights are bat­tery-op­er­ated, so there are no wires snaking away.


A clean, clas­sic man­tel with just a pair of vases or hur­ri­cane lamps flank­ing one large paint­ing can look lovely year-round. It’s the per­fect way to high­light a piece of art, and this sparse ap­proach can be a nice break af­ter busy hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions.

An­other ap­proach “is to layer pieces on a man­tel by prop­ping up dif­fer­ent sizes of art, mir­rors and ob­jects” in an asym­met­ri­cal ar­range­ment, Mathi­son says.

This ca­sual look is a great way to dis­play a col­lec­tion of items per­haps small, framed prints in var­i­ous sizes, Mathi­son says, or a col­lec­tion of tea cups. This vi­brant ap­proach can make a post-hol­i­day man­tel seem a lit­tle less stark and empty.

To keep the win­ter vibe go­ing on a lay­ered man­tel, Cole sug­gests us­ing a col­lec­tion of small an­i­mal fig­urines like deer and other wood­land an­i­mals. Paint them sil­ver or gold, she says, then drape tiny white lights around them and per­haps even add lit­tle wreaths around their necks.

This win­ter-in­spired lay­ered man­tel can in­clude any colour pal­ette, even cool pas­tels that hint at spring’s even­tual ar­rival. We’re “let­ting go of some of those sea­sonal rules,” Cole says.


If you’re not us­ing your fire­place for a fire, use that space dec­o­ra­tively by fill­ing it with can­dles or other items. Just re­mem­ber to keep things look­ing rea­son­ably nat­u­ral.

“The ‘go-to’ is a bun­dle of clean, pretty birch logs that are ar­ranged as if they are wait­ing to be lit,” Mathi­son says. “I love to use andirons and then stack the birch logs in a pyra­mid.”

Some de­sign­ers fill the fire­box area with small book­shelves or other un­ex­pected items. Mathi­son prefers not to: She thinks us­ing dec­o­ra­tive items that aren’t made to be in a fire­place can “feel forced and con­trived.”

Davin agrees: “I don’t like to see a plant pushed back into the fire­box area” where it doesn’t get light, she says. “One or two plants sit­ting around the hearth, where they can ac­tu­ally get nat­u­ral light” can look lovely, how­ever.


Your man­tel is the per­fect place to get cre­ative. Davin sug­gests ex­plor­ing Pin­ter­est for DIY man­tel dec­o­ra­tions. You’ll also find ideas on Cole’s Youtube chan­nel.

One favourite of hers: Buy in­ex­pen­sive card­board cones that look like lit­tle moun­tains, then spray paint them in a mix of pas­tels with a bit of gold or white. Clus­ter them to­gether with white lights, and then top them with a glass dome.

“A glass dome over any­thing screams de­sign,” Cole says, and it can cost as lit­tle as $10 at a craft store.

Cole also sug­gests seek­ing out craft projects that use vo­tive can­dles (she of­fers some ideas at hgtv.com).

Don’t for­get to get cre­ative un­der your man­tel, too: Add tiny hooks if you don’t al­ready have them for hol­i­day stock­ings, then sus­pend lit­tle glass orbs with LED tea lights in­side.

They’ll pro­vide a warm glow with­out the work of light­ing a real fire.


In this im­age pro­vided by HGTV and de­signer, Meg Al­lan Cole, flame­less lace vo­tives are safe to use, easy to make, and give your man­tel a ro­man­tic and warm vibe this win­ter.

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