8 easy steps to the perfect holiday mantel.


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8 easy steps to the perfect holiday mantel.

By emily.bailey

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Holiday mantel | Schlage

With some help from Sara at Simply Southern Cottage, we’ll break down the finer points of her gorgeous holiday mantel so you can re-create a picture-perfect look in your own home.



Is your holiday mantel on the naughty or nice list? What you see in magazines is beautiful, but you can’t always put your finger on what makes it so appealing. With some help from Sara at Simply Southern Cottage, we’ll break down the finer points of her gorgeous holiday mantel so you can re-create a picture-perfect look in your own home.

1. Clean and classic canvas

If you follow @simplysoutherncottage, you know that she often uses white and neutral walls as a backdrop for more colorful home décor. We saw that with her vibrant yellow door when she showed us how to create perfect fall porch décor. We see it again here with her holiday mantel. White bookcases, fireplace surround and sofa are the perfect canvas to start with to make everything else pop. So while there isn’t an overwhelming variety of color – green and red rule the day – it’s anything but bland.

2. Wreath trio

One wreath is nice, but especially in this case, three is definitely better. We think it’s the simplicity of the preserved boxwood wreaths themselves that makes it special. Without ribbons and berries and baubles, a single wreath could end up looking incomplete. Grouping them, however, shows sophisticated style.

3. Light and bright candles

For some, it’s hard to imagine Christmastime without an abundance of candles and light. White tapers between the miniature topiaries are a nod to that tradition without crowding the rest of the décor. Perhaps the best part is how versatile those candles are from season to season. Check out Sara’s pumpkin-filled mantel to see the flawless transition.


Holidays are also a great time to capture nostalgia with family heirlooms … even if they didn’t come from your family. “All of these candlesticks are from garage sales or thrift shops,” says Sara. “One thing I pride myself on is creating spaces on a budget. You can find so many unique and one-of-a-kind, secondhand items that truly make your home a stunning space.” But those candlesticks aren’t the only unique piece. “The vintage ceramic tree belonged to my Granny and is probably at least 50 years old.”

4. Savvy use of stockings

Is it Christmas if there aren’t stockings hung by the chimney with care? “I love the nostalgic, timeless look of these,” says Sara. “They truly look like stockings from the early- or mid-1900s when times were much more simple.” And what better way to pay homage to the home’s original 1926 mantelpiece than with décor that fits the time period?


We also love how the stockings are off to the side so they don’t crowd the sofa. Guests entering the room will see a beautifully balanced look without being able to pinpoint exactly why it works so well. It can be our little secret.

5. Rug refresh

Here’s another subtle observation you might have caught if you keep up with Sara’s seasonal stylings. She’s switched up her rug. This one has more of a wintery vibe compared to what we see in front of her fall and spring fireplace. A refreshed area rug is a great way to add warmth to the room, especially if you’re tight on space. Sara chose this silver rug to match the silver in the stockings and pillows.

6. Blanket basket

When decorating for Christmas, don’t be afraid to use décor that’s as useful as it is beautiful. That blanket isn’t just for show. When you store/display it in a nearby basket – and baskets almost never look out of place in farmhouse living rooms – you’ll always be able to enjoy a cozy snuggle when the mood strikes. And like the candlesticks above, this basket was a $4 find at Sara’s local Goodwill.

7. Present pillows

It’s the simplest of additions that gets the sofa in the holiday game. Present-themed pillows add that color and whimsy needed to feel like December.


Remember that if you don’t have holiday-specific pillows or don’t want to store them – we know they can be bulky – pillow and slip covers make updating your look quick to accomplish and easy to store.

8. Less is more

Sometimes it’s what you don’t see that makes the look. For this mantel, there’s not a bauble in sight. No strings of lights, snowmen or dancing Santas. And yet, there’s still an obvious festive feel. When you’re going for sophisticated, even in a more rustic or farmhouse-style home, remember that less is more sometimes. By departing from some of the typical icons of the season, you’ll likely create a look that is uniquely you.

Sara’s gorgeous mantel is a collaboration with Garnet Hill and Apartment Therapy. The wreaths, garland and greenery, as well as the stockings, blanket and pillows mentioned in this post are by Garnet Hill. The rug is by Orian Rugs.


Now are you inspired to take your holiday décor to the next level? Find more tips of the trade at the Schlage blog or follow us on Pinterest.


You can also follow Sara on Instagram @simplysoutherncottage or at the Simply Southern Cottage blog where she offers her tips on simple living, affordable décor solutions, DIYs and just plain old love for life. She’s worked with everyone from Martha Stewart and Macy’s to Home Chef and Sleep Number. Currently Sara’s home can be seen on the cover of the holiday issue of Cottages and Bungalows as well as the cover of Better Homes and Gardens Cottage Style. Sara’s home has also been featured in Southern Lady, Where Women Create, Better Homes and Gardens and Country Sampler Farmhouse Style.