Mad About . . .

The Best Mantel Garlands of 2020

15th December 2020
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There’s a new trend in town and it’s beautiful. At this time of year instagram fills up with Christmas trees and some of them are lovely but, to my mind, the best tree is the one that holds the most memories – clay figures made by your children at nursery, crackers made from old loo rolls and tinsel and a collection of baubles that you have gathered over the years. That doesn’t always make for the most beautiful tree. But, oddly – for me at least – the co-ordinated, symmetrical trees feel slightly soulless. And for those of you who live on instagram, they are an absolute bugger to photograph with all those twinkly lights.

Mantle garland by Nikki Bamford-Bowes @andthentheywentwild

Mantel garland by Nikki Bamford-Bowes @andthentheywentwild

Enter the mantel garland. And boy have there been some stunners this year. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t recreate one of these if I tried. And I was asked by the editor of Red magazine where I write a monthly column. Not me, I said, I’ll stick to the words mate. You want that Melanie Lissack and I’ll write about it. And so I showed you Mel’s last week but since then some other, absolutely breathtaking, examples have sprung up.

mantle garland by Melanie Lissack interiors

mantel garland by Melanie Lissack interiors

And I wanted to show you them here. Firstly, because I know not all of you “do” instagram and yet you might take inspiration from these and want to have a go at recreating your own. Secondly, because on instagram all that beautiful work will disappear in a few days as the images get pushed down the grid and, unless you can remember the name of the person who created it it’s all but impossible to find it again.

mantle wreath by Chelsea of @thehousethatblackbuilt

mantel wreath by Chelsea of @thehousethatblackbuilt

So, I have collected them here. Because each one took hours of time and creativity and I think they should have a place where they can live and be admired for ever just a google search away. And also because  I will always advocate a blog as a place of record over instagram, to which all of us who work in the digital sphere are bound in a furious relationship of co-dependency from which we cannot escape.

Sophie Robinson at Christmas photographed by Alun Callender

Sophie Robinson fireplace garland created by Sage & Co photographed by Alun Callender

Anyway, breathe… and moving on. These garlands look incredible. They don’t have to be full of of memories but can co-ordinate with the room, your outfit, the current trends as you wish or you can ignore them. They can be full of candles and lights, or flowers and ferns, or as this incredible blue one below,  made entirely from paper. And that means you can leave the tree to the children and not have to redo it as soon as they have gone to bed because you have your beautiful mantel garland. And you know who you are that do that.

paper mantle garland by @moveovermagnolia

paper mantel garland by @moveovermagnolia

Now for those of you who don’t have fireplaces, these can be adapted to sit on shelves, around mirrors, on tops of cupboards. While some of them drape along shelves, some are triangle so could be made to sit at one end. You can just take the idea and run with it and if you’re afraid you’re just not that creative then look at the bathroom one by Nikki Bamford-Bowes – some branches and a ribbon. Even I can do that.

bathroom mantle garland by Nikki Bamford-Bowes @andthentheywentwild

bathroom mantel garland by Nikki Bamford-Bowes @andthentheywentwild 

All I ask is that if you do have an instagram account and you do feel inspired then make sure you tag the person who inspired you. Now who’s going to have a go?

mantle garland by Daniela Tasca York, winner of GIDC

mantel garland by Daniela Tasca York, previous winner of GIDC

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  • Redd Davis 29th December 2020 at 2:19 pm

    My mantle has been empty for years lol thanks for opening my eyes to these ideas for mantle design!

  • Billy 29th December 2020 at 9:36 am

    I like the idea of a photowall! Mine is more on places I’ve been.

  • Sophia Shirley-Beavan 19th December 2020 at 1:07 pm

    I am trying to do something similar to the bathroom one on a fairly narrow mantlepiece but I have no idea how to attach the greenery to the mantlepiece other than to use metal garden staples. I’m not very happy about doing that as it is a fairly ornate, old fireplace. Any ideas anyone???

  • Dany 17th December 2020 at 12:31 am

    These people don’t have cats

  • Melanie 16th December 2020 at 8:47 am

    No, don’t like them at all! Maybe the bathroom one…

  • Monique Cox 15th December 2020 at 5:10 pm

    I like the bathroom and Sophie’s, they both look like something you might find in a normal house and both could easily work on the top of an armoire or cupboard.

  • Valerie Belcher 15th December 2020 at 5:04 pm

    I have to agree with the people who don’t care for these. I am afraid these arrangements strike me as displaying an aspirational, one-upmanship focus, rather like people who follow trends by replacing all their Christmas tree ornaments in the current year “colors”. I would much rather see the messy, overladen Christmas tree.

  • Leslie-Anne 15th December 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Our tree is like a biography of our family life. Every Christmas we add a small something that is significant to the year. I have said that if the house was on fire I would grab the Christmas decorations first.

  • Miriam 15th December 2020 at 11:41 am

    I think these are all beautiful and love the idea of a clear mantle with some beautiful foliage on but is anybody else unable to face the task of clearing and re-siting all the stuff currently on the mantelpiece? Completely agree about Christmas tree decor – ours is a complete mish-mash telling the story of our family.

  • Marie Bunworth 15th December 2020 at 11:33 am

    Sophie n Daniela T-Y are my favourites 😃 Both stunning in different ways.

  • Catherine 15th December 2020 at 10:16 am

    Is this a safe place, where I can confess that I actually don’t like these? Or will I be trolled by angry Instagrammers?
    I think they look so artificial, apart from Sophie’s, which is the most naturalistic, and a real fire hazard. Give me a Christmas tree festooned in old baubles and kids’ decorations any day!

  • Catherine 15th December 2020 at 10:15 am

    Is this a safe place where I can confess that I actually don’t like these? Or will I be trolled by angry Instagrammers?
    I think they look so artificial, apart from Sophie’s, which is the most naturalistic, and a real fire hazard. Give me a Christmas tree festooned in old baubles and kids’ decorations any day!

    • Kate 15th December 2020 at 10:45 am

      Totally agree! But I also like Nikki Bamford’s… no trolls here 😉
      And also agree with the Author that the too perfect, symmetrical trees are soulless and lack the essence: warmth and the homey feel – they are OK only for corporate staff 😉

  • Valerie 15th December 2020 at 9:52 am

    The fun, colourful garland on Sophie Robinsons fireplace is by far the nicest. More realistic than the overly staged for Instagram ones.

  • Jane Dale 15th December 2020 at 8:33 am

    IMHO…….the last garland is breathtakingly lovely :))

  • Georgina 15th December 2020 at 8:31 am

    Beautiful piece of fantasy; fire hazard in real life!

  • Caroline 15th December 2020 at 7:31 am

    Like you, I could probably manage the bathroom one…but even then it wouldn’t look nearly as good!

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