Winter Vignettes: Mantel


If you are one of those people like me who change some of your accessories up seasonally, I think decorating for winter is the hardest. I mean, unless you go with a snowflake motif, or branches and pine cones, there's not a lot of obvious nature or iconic themes that you can use. (And this is assuming you live in a climate where there actually is winter!) So I just approach the time after the holidays as sort of whatever...anything or everything that you would normally accessorize with, just stuff that you like, kinda like down time.

I always start my mantel or other vignette decor with a trip to our basement, which is where we keep all the stuff that we don't know what to do with, don't have space for or that we are not using at the time. Then hopefully I get inspired by something and run with it:) Here's what I came up with:

I found these three large matted wood frames kicking around down there that worked nicely as a base. Large scale, great height, and I love the wide mats with much smaller photo opening inside. Then I decided to flank them with lots of white on white...pitchers and vases and candles. Love the layers of soft color and depth that you can get from tone-on-tone.

I usually don't decide what I'm going to put in the frames until after I have the composition worked out. In this case, the largest frame got a page from my bird calendar. (Added these wood printing blocks from Brimfield - our wedding anniversary month and day - for a little bit of extra texture and sentiment.)

In the frame on the left is a map of Dublin County and the town where my mother-in-law is from in Ireland (also from Brimfield).

The frame on the right got a page out of an old book called "The Anatomy of Lettering" (all about typography and designing fonts) friend found the book for me (free) at the dump of all places, so I figured cutting a page out of it was ok:) I love these kind of informational graphics.

I was digging the whole white-on-white thing so I added these strands of capiz shells (really old from West Elm and which I usually only put up in the summer). They sparkle with the light and pick up on the glass of the candle hurricanes nicely.

All in all, I had no idea what I was going to do with this space when I took the Christmas stuff down, and now this is one of my favorite looks that this mantel has ever had!


Do you guys struggle with after the holidays decor? What are your go-tos? I have our foyer bookcase done, which I'll share soon and am currently working on the ledge shelves.

PS. Another thing I'm loving about this is that since its actually not seasonal-specific, I can leave it up for awhile. Just thinking that I might not have time for spring decorating come May when baby #2 arrives!!


  1. I'm glad you said because I was going to write that I think this might be my favorite mantle yet too. I really like the framed map and font page and also your wedding date numbers are always a great addition too. Well hopefully in our next home I have a mantle to have fun with, but in our current home I always seem to use the small metal watering can that I had gotten at a local thrift shop (I love the shape of it). I also have been using my IKEA hurricanes a lot more too and just putting stuff in them. This is a great anytime look for your mantle.

  2. I love this mantle! All the whites and creams are beautiful. I also really like the three simple frames - definitely a keeper for at least a season or two ;). I am terrible at switching up our mantle -- but right now mine is very neutral too and I'm loving it :)


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