Updated at: 12/12/2012 1:50 PM
What do you do if you're ecologically-minded, like the natural look, and want to make your house festive for the holidays? You make a natural-themed mantel display! There is so much design inspiration to take from nature, and so many natural materials that are either free or cheap. Almost any object can be upcycled as part of a mantel display.
Don't be afraid to deviate from the traditional red and green colorscheme. For example, a blue sky or sea green ocean-inpired mantel looks festive for Christmas or even New Year's Eve. Some of these ideas are easy for a beginner to assemble, and some are over-the-top extravaganzas that require a bit of design acumen or a good supply of craft notions. Spending a little time on your mantel, whatever your design skills are, will pay off in holiday cheer.
NATURAL MANTEL EXTRAVAGANZAS
1. Deck the Faux Animal Head: Faux animal heads have been in style for years. These cheeky, humane replicas of hunting trophies make the perfect centerpiece for a natural-themed holiday mantel display. Surround one with greenery for a woodsy look.
2. Rustic, Retro Mantel Display: The operative word here is "stuff", and lots of it. Vintage thrift store finds displayed en masse, and mixed up with pine branches or mini trees, evoke that Christmas-at-the-rustic-lodge feeling.
3. White Twig and Holly Berry Woodland Mantel: White branches, fake birds, an antique gate as the backdrop, and quite a bit of green pine foliage make for an impressive, voluminous natural mantel display.
4. The Blue Mantel: The blue mantel, while not necessarily made from natural materials, is meant to evoke the ocean or the sky. Think blue and metallic baubles, beads, ornaments, and ribbons. If you can make it happen with found objects, more power to you.
LOW KEY NATURAL MANTEL DISPLAYS
5. Two Mini Trees and a Wreath: If you only have five minutes to slap something together, but you want a look that's both natural and royal-looking, this is your jam: Hang a wreath on the wall in the middle of the mantel, then put a mini tree on both sides of the wreath.
6. Wooden Candle Sticks: While shiny metal candlesticks and glass hurricane lanterns can dial up the glam and glitz, a mantel display focused on thick wooden candlesticks brings the outdoors in.
7. Scavenged Twig Crafts: Hats off to blogger Marianne Songbird, who made her mantel display out of repurposed old pitchers and surprisingly polished-looking stars made from twigs.
8. Chalkboard Paint Yourself Happy: What does a piece of salvaged wood (like an old door or some scrap plywood) plus chalkboard paint equal? A perfect mantel centerpiece with rustic charm that you can write a holiday message on.