Light Up the Night with These Holiday Hearth Styling Tips

Tips for styling your hearth and mantel this holiday season.
Nan Sloan’s holiday hearth trimmings are festive without being gaudy.

We all know someone who likes to “go big or go home” with their holiday decorations each December: blindingly sparkly trees, oodles of jelly bean-colored lights, and a menagerie of knick-knacks. But one of our favorite ways to deck the halls without going overboard is to focus on the fireplace: the literal center of warmth of a home.

Nan Sloan, a designer at Excelsior’s The Sitting Room, shares her favorite recommendations for styling a fireplace mantel this yuletide.

1. Make a statement. “Start with a statement piece that is large enough to balance the fire box itself,” says Sloan. “For one mantel [pictured here], we used the sunburst mirror. For the other [on page 4] we used a chalkboard.”

2. Fill in. “Work in the next-largest elements across the width of the mantel: lantern, vase, cloche and topiaries. It doesn’t need to be symmetrical, but should feel balanced.”

3. Repeat. Layer in the smaller materials like pillar candles, books and small pinecones. “This will help to visually connect disparate items and move the eye across the mantel.”

For our mantels, Sloan and her team used popular battery-operated pillar candles, which can be turned on or off easily with a remote. “The candles flicker and appear very authentic but won’t present a fire or smoke hazard to your home,” says Sloan.