Deck the Halls with Tons of Flowers: A unique mantle decorating idea for the holidays / by Deb Mitchell

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I'm deep in the holiday spirit a little earlier than usual.

You'd think with how early Thanksgiving was this year, none of us would be ready to face Christmas yet, but it's definitely had the opposite effect on me. Of course, our early heavy snowstorm here in Skaneateles may have played a role in things too, but I feel like I actually have time to enjoy prepping for the holidays, as opposed to our usual speeding through it all and basically just hanging on for dear life!

That said I'm taking a little extra time to get creative with holiday decorating. Rather than resorting to pine boughs and twinkle lights on my client's mantle, I thought I'd come up with something that's sweet and nostalgic but also totally fresh and new.

And what could possibly fit the bill better than an explosion of roses and dahlias all tied up with silk ribbons we hand-dyed ourselves in a rich holiday red?!


We worked with our talented friend, Whitney of Whitney Nichols Photography, to create this stunning mantlescape.

It's the perfect look for the holidays, especially if you'll be throwing a party. Just imagine your guests oohing and ahhing over your great taste and mad decorating skills!


We started by defining the space with a few branches from a tree in my client's yard. They add a little height and give the eye a stopping point on either end of the mantle. We used an asymmetrical approach by using more branches on one side.


Next Whitney created a eucalyptus garland to act as the base of the whole mantlescape. We hung this so it would hang over either side of the mantle to the ground.


We added some brass antlers to keep the middle of the garland from drooping forward, but they just happen to also look great peeking out from under the leaves!

mantle decorating ideas
mantle decorating ideas
mantle decorating ideas

We used a mix of flowers in colors ranging from deep red to the palest of pinks. We used real flowers, but for a more lasting arrangement, you can use high quality silk flowers. I love the realistic-looking options from Terrain but I've also found beautiful individual stems on Etsy.

We tucked the flowers into the eucalyptus garland one by one, arranging the colors from darkest to lightest to create an ombre effect.


A few brass candlesticks on the mantle and below on the hearth will add sparkle when they're lit, but even unlit they give the whole scene a sense of balance.

mantle decorating ideas

A pair of evergreen trees carries the greenery all the way to the bottom and adds visual weight to balance with the florals above.


And last but not least, we added our hand-dyed silk ribbons trailing down one side of the mantle and trimming out a few wrapped packages.


Isn't it all so lovely against the robins egg blue wall?!


It might surprise you to know how easy it is to dye ribbon yourself.

In case you're curious to know how we did it, we used 2 yards of 10 mm wide Habotai silk ribbon from Dharma Trading Co and this dye.


You'll want to follow the directions that come with the dye, but basically you just mix it with hot water and immerse the ribbon in it until it looks slightly darker than you want it to be once it dries. We did it all outside in an area where any drips wouldn't be a problem.

Then when the ribbon was totally dry, we tied a couple of bows around the garland on one side of the mantle, leaving the ends to flow freely down onto the hearth.

mantle decorating ideas

And finally, we wrapped our gifts with a black and white checked paper (the geometric pattern was a perfect contrast against the flowers) and tied them up with more of our crimson ribbon.


It makes me think of A Christmas Carol and Little Women - big hoop skirted dresses all trimmed out with these very ribbons!


Using ribbon you dyed yourself would add such a charming personalized touch to packages you give to your loved ones this Christmas.


And you actually still have plenty of time to get it done (thank you, early Thanksgiving!).


Show us your holiday mantlescapes and dyed silk ribbons  - tag us @teaselwooddesign on Instagram when you share your creations!

Happy decorating and ribbon-ing!