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 | tealandlime.com

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 | tealandlime.com

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 | tealandlime.com

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 | tealandlime.com

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 | tealandlime.com

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 | tealandlime.com

Sharing this post on Tip Junkie Tip Me Tuesday

10 Responses to Anatomy of a Decorated Mantel

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

    ~Sarah

  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!)
    Best,
    Michelle

  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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