There is something almost magical about a mantel, isn’t there? Often the eye-catching focal point of your living or family room, the strip of wood above your fireplace just begs for “refreshing” with decor for every season.


After the holidays is an ideal time to redecorate your mantel, and brighten the look of your room. After all the decorations are put away, our home seems a little empty, doesn’t it?  Decorating your mantel with bright touches of winter, or even an early spring is the perfect cure for that!

But because it’s such a focal point, some of you have total decorating F E A R about how to decorate your mantel.  Don’t worry, it’s really very easy to style a magical mantel once you know how! Here’s how to create a show-stopping mantel.




It’s easier to choose a theme for your mantel when you start with a blank slate. Clear off everything on your mantel, and stand back and decide what kind of design or look you want to make. Light, bright and airy? A serious display, or playful, simple and streamlined, or to display a collection? Colors? Textures? Once you have some kind of idea, you are ready to begin.

For this mantel, I decided to showcase antique glass pieces I sell at FrenchGardenHouse Antiques.



Choosing the right backdrop makes everything else on your mantle fall into place. I admit, I generally leave the antique French white mirror on the wall, it weighs a ton and is anchored with bolts. Often I just add things to that as a backdrop. But you can lean mirrors or artwork, hang an interesting architectural iron gate, or anything else with some size to become the backdrop for your mantel. Once that is in place, the real fun can begin!



For my mantel showcasing the antique glass, I choose to layer an antique gesso frame in cream over the French Trumeau mirror already there. {I already took it off, I used it for my Holiday Mantel too}  I hung it {upside down so that the most visually interesting part is at eye level!} from a length of grosgrain ribbon looped over the original bolt that anchors that heavy French trumeau mirror.  Since the glass is clear, and doesn’t take up that much space visually, I propped three antique Fern chromolithograph prints behind the gesso frame.


To add varying levels to my display, I needed some kind of riser to prop up a few of the accent pieces. My “go to” is generally a small stack of books, since they are flat, and you can vary the height simply by adding or subtracting volumes!


I took three antique books from our bookcase, turning them backwards so only the faded delicious cream pages showed. Instant height…and some interesting texture.



At this point, I wanted to add one other shape, since most of the other pieces of antique glass in the display were round. This antique Gillinder Glass sugar container with its paneled “square-ish” shape added just the right size and shape interest needed.



Even though the theme for this mantel look was “fresh, clean and crisp” and mostly displayed antique clear glass, I always love a pop of color to shake things up a little. The bright green of the fern fronds both real and in the antique chromolithographs shakes this white and clear display up quite a bit! And adding a bit of nature is always a grand idea.


There it is. Easy, clean and fresh, ready for the new year! I played around with this mantel, and in the end decided to remove the faux spring bulbs you can see a hint of in some of the very first photographs. This way the focus is really on the glass, with just the greens from the ferns from our back garden and the antique botanical prints. Creating a beautiful mantel is easy, and fun.


Trust your design sense, after all, you are creating something in your home to please and delight YOU and those you love. 




Antique Fern and Flower Botanical Chromolithograph Prints


Estate Antique Glass Collection

What do you do to bring a fresh perspective to your interior design in the first month of the new year?

Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours. Visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.com.


  1. Carole Shiles

    I love the idea of an early spring mantle to start the year. I’M getting right on it, like you, with clear glass and fern fronds. Thanks.

    1. I’m sure that your new year or early spring mantel will look amazing, Carole!

    1. Lisa, that’s a great way to bring flowers into the home, isn’t it? My little paper whites I planted right before Christmas look so beautiful right now. And amaryllis is such a beautiful, big flower!

  2. Ginger Valdes

    Such a pretty, light mantel display! I’m in love with those vintage botanical prints, as evidenced by my purchase. What a beautiful start to the new year. Thank you, Lidy

    1. Thank you Ginger! I hope you will love the ones you choose, such a pretty combination!

    1. You will create a beautiful mantel, I’m sure, Shirley!

  3. I really enjoyed this post, Lidy! I especially liked your ingenuity in hanging the frame upside down. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Karen! It’s fun to come up with something beautiful, especially in this January month.

  4. I NEVER change my MANTEL !!!!!!!!!HEAVY candlesticks from EUROPEAN churches and a FRENCH CROSS hang instead of like you a mirror!I also have SCONES that stand ALONE………..then an old balcony keeps it ALL in place in case of THAT EARTHQUAKE that we are expecting anytime now!

    MAYBE I should change it up a BIT?You have given me FOOD for THOUGHT!


  5. I was looking forward to something like this from you, Lidy. The books will definitely be a part of my mantel once I get to clearing all of the holiday decor off! Love the botanical prints, also.

    Jane x

  6. Pamela Latham

    Oh now you have me inspired! With all the rain here in California we have been staying inside. I keep telling myself Spring is right around the corner. I am grateful for the much neede water, but the gloomy days have dampened my creativity. This is just the push I needed to create a new vignette! Thank you so much!

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