The idea of re-decorating my mantel for every holiday makes me tired just thinking about it.  Admittedly, I skip a few throughout the year.  But, lately I have noticed my mantel styling exercises take a fraction of the time they used to.  I think I have nailed down a no-fail formula for holiday mantel styling.

7-steps to effortless holiday mantel decorating |

Just like my Valentine’s mantel from last year, I worked with things I already had.  For this Valentine’s Day look I scoured my place for white and pink accessories. I borrowed my DIY Live Laugh Love Art from the powder room, my DIY finials from the dining room, and a colorful tray from my party supply cabinet. Everything else, I already had on hand, too.

7-steps to effortless holiday mantel decorating |

To decorate your mantel effortlessly, shop your house for decor in the appropriate colors for the holiday and follow my 7-step process below.

Anatomy of a Decorated Mantel |

7-Step Mantel Decorating Formula

To get a great looking mantel for any holiday, focus on these 7 elements:

First, the overall arrangement:

1. Large Anchor Piece – Use an art piece or large mirror to anchor the center of the arrangement. Make sure it is taller or hung higher than the other elements.
2. Visual Triangles – Notice the large anchor in the middle with smaller, shorter decor on the sides creates a visual triangle.
3. Odd Number Groupings – Arrange the decor on the sides in odd numbers (on this large mantel 5 items were used on the left and 3 larger items on the right). The smaller groupings form their own visual triangles.

7-steps to effortless holiday mantel decorating |

Second, make it pretty and personal:

4. Layering – To add more dimension on a shallow mantel, layer flat pieces. I love using decorative trays leaning vertically against the wall. Then, layer art and decor in front of the tray.
5. Whimsical Touch – Add a little quirk, like this DIY gold leaf art print displayed on a vintage clipboard.
6. Personal Touch – Add a personalized memento, like the DIY initialed cut out heart plaque shown here.
7. Give it Life – Add something “living”, like flowers, a plant, or candles. In this arrangement there are candles in the center vase and faux crêpe paper flowers in the white urchin vase. These organic elements bring the mantel to life.

7-steps to effortless holiday mantel decorating |

P.S. I am over on Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke today sharing how to make this personalized heart cut-out plaque.  

DIY Valentine Heart Cut-Out Plaque |

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10 Responses to Anatomy of a Decorated Mantel

  1. Love the colors and the combination of pieces…so festive!


  2. Dani says:

    LOVE the wood heart art!!! amazing

  3. I love the serving tray you have pictured – where did you find it?

    • Jackie says:

      Desi, The ombre tray is from Target. I found it during spring/summer a couple years ago. They always have cute melamine trays during that time of year.

  4. Hi Jackie! I just discovered your blog via Kristen Duke’s site and I look forward to browsing around and following your posts. I would love it if you linked up to The Makers.

    Hope to see you there!
    ~Katie @ Upcycled Treasures

  5. Nice Tips! I’m pinning this post to share with my blog followers, I’m sure they will enjoy reading it (and seeing your adorable mantle!)

  6. April says:

    I love having a “formula” as a good starting point for decorating. How would you modify this for a mantel with a large, square recessed niche a few inches above it?

    • Jackie says:

      April, If it is a shallow niche, I would find art or a mirror to fit in the niche. If it is a deep niche for TV, but your don’t use it, then I would find a piece of art or mirror that covers the entire opening. You may need to lean it directly on the mantel. All the other tips still apply. Hope that helps!

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