A Guide to Decorating Your Cottage Mantel Throughout the Seasons

A Guide to Decorating Your Cottage Mantel Throughout the Seasons


One of my favorite places to decorate each season & throughout the year is our mantel. If you only have in your budget to redecorate/decorate one space in your home... I would 100% recommend starting with your mantel. Your mantel should be the focal point of your room- I'm not a big fan of mounting TVs on your mantel. As a decorator- I always envision this space as the "WOW" focal point of your room. You want people to walk in & feel a sense of cozy & welcoming during that season. Seasonal mantel décor doesn't have to be lavish décor or a complete switch up of décor. Some seasons, I simply just add a little fall foliage or Christmas greens & that is quick & inexpensive way to bring seasonal décor to your mantel. I especially like doing this at the beginning of new seasons. While I love decorating for fall- September sometimes still seems a bit too early but just by adding some fall leaves & stems... you can introduce fall décor in a simple way.

1. Spring Mantel Décor

Spring is always so refreshing to decorate for. I always enjoy using lots of greenery & bunny accents. Bunnies are very "cottagey" & are pieces of décor that can be used as everyday décor too. My favorite decorations are always those that are versatile. Versatility is everything when choosing décor, especially if you don't like switching things up often throughout the seasons. Taking a trip to your local antique shop or Goodwill... can often times leave you with some good finds. In the spring, I'm always looking for botanical art prints, moss balls, watering cans, candelabras, rabbits, wood signs, old window panes, unique pots/garden urns, old books, wreaths full of greenery... these are all versatile pieces that can be used throughout your home all year long. 

Making your mantel the center focal point of your home is just so magical. There's so much to be said when you walk into a home & see the mantel beautifully decorated. Not only does it create a cozy sitting area but it creates a welcoming home for your friends & family.

2. Summer Mantel Décor

Spring to summer mantel décor is such an easy transition since most of it can all be used interchangeably for two seasons- half of the year. For summer, I tend to keep it a little more simple with just antique signs, a window pane & a add a a mix of faux greenery & real plants. I typically remove any of my bunny décor from the mantel & store them away. I'm also BIG on using your backyard to find clippings to place into a vintage vase or pitcher. I also love going BIG with these centerpieces. I love using tall, long branches. Not only does it create a more dramatic look but it draws your eye "up" creating the illusion of a taller & bigger mantel space. These clippings will last a few weeks too, making them budget friendly & low maintenance. Plus, who doesn't love showing off their gardening hard work?! I know I sure do & I love seeing it everyday. 

Candles are another must have décor staple piece for your mantel. And again, these pieces can be used throughout each season. One of my favorite places to find candle holders is Goodwill- they typically around around $1-$2 each & are usually unique finds. If you're not into second hand & antique items... Target always seems to have the best candleholder selection at a good price. I go for the antique gold or brass ones as they look beautiful with every season but always go for what style you love the most. Your mantel décor should express who you are & what you love & follow your decorating aesthetic. 

3. Fall & Halloween Mantel Décor 

There's just something about decorating for fall that brings a little happiness & excitement to everyone. Fall has some of the most beautiful colors to decorate with. I typically start decorating for fall after Labor Day weekend- it's a little hard to do here in eastern NC because it stays pretty warm & summer like through about mid to end of October. I love using brown, yellow & orange tones- I love a "moody" fall mantel filled with darker contrasting colors. Moody artwork is perfect for this season & into Halloween as well. This is yet another time that a trip to Goodwill, a fall yard sale or a local antique shopping day... you may happen upon a beautiful find. The artwork that we have used in our home to decorate during this season is a piece of artwork that was Garrett's grandpa's. Garrett remembered seeing it as a child growing up so it's not only a piece of décor but it is also something that triggers a memory for Garrett. I'm all about using family heirlooms in your décor- in fact, it's another one of my favorite ways to decorate- these pieces tend to be older & have a lot of uniqueness to them & they also tend to be held near & dear to our hearts with memories of our loved ones.

If you have greenery from the spring & summer- you can easily use that in your fall décor too- just add a few touches of fall. The brown leaves on the mantel are actually fig leaf stems that I arranged to look more like a garland. It brings a dramatic look to the mantel- & when you add dramatic in with moody- it creates a mantel styling that gives me all of the cozy fall vibes.

Remember how I said I love candle holders- as you can see this was an easy transition from summer to fall décor using the taper candle holders. Always be sure to light them so they create a "drippy" look- unlit taper candles aren't as warm & cozy as drippy candles.

Now, we transition from fall to Halloween- which is super easy just by adding a few of your favorite Halloween decorations to your mantel.

I always love thinking outside of the box- placing mini pumpkins on your taper candle holders are a beautiful way to cozy up your mantel for Halloween- & be sure to add in your candelabra... candelabras are the perfect piece of Halloween décor- they bring a moody & spooky vibe to your space. Pine cone accents are perfect too & these can also be used to transition from fall/Halloween to your winter/Christmas mantel too. Be sure to use moody & contrasting colors- they all work beautifully together to create a cottage spooky mantel for your home.

One little added touch during Halloween- be sure to decorate inside your fireplace, if you're able to. An easy way to do this is by using Jack-O-Lanterns. I spray painted these ones white & used timed tealights inside of them to come on at a certain time each day- there's nothing cozier than sitting on the couch watching Hocus Pocus with your mantel all lit up & decorated for the season. I love to add a little "ghostly" garland too.

 4. Winter & Christmas Mantel Décor 

It's the most wonderful time of the year.... now, it's time to bring those same feelings to your mantel. Christmas & winter mantels call of all of the piney greenery & wreaths. This look will always create a timeless & classic cottage Christmas vibe, especially when those stockings are hung above the fireplace. Another way to "decorate" your mantel without actually decorating it is by placing your Christmas tree very close or near your fireplace. The look together just is breathtaking & one of my favorite views all through the Christmas season. Be sure that your tree & mantel décor are complementing each other & the colors aren't clashing but rather working together. Be sure to add a few pieces of wood to your fireplace. We don't use our fireplace; however, if you do use yours that is just so magical & beautiful & adds to your décor as well.

The colors together & the glowing from the tree just make the fireplace & mantel pop with Christmastime cheer & coziness. Having your Christmas tree near this space is a great way to "light up" & "warm up" your mantel. 

If you have a real tree or a Christmas tree lot near you- a lot of times they will allow you to gather some of the tree clippings to take home. These are a great way to decorate not only your mantel but your home during the season as well.

Christmas is one of my favorite seasons to decorate for & I love that I can use many of my décor pieces throughout all of the seasons. I'm sure you've seen my Swiss Cross pillow in several of the seasons. I love this versatile accent pillow & you can find it in my shop (here). And in every season, I use candles & candle holders on my mantel. To transition from Christmas to winter- simply remove all "Christmas" themed items & keep up the winter foliage & greenery.

I hope you've enjoyed looking back with me at some of my seasonal mantels & ways that you can decorate your fireplace each season. Remember, using versatile pieces of décor is key. And be sure to take all of my tips & inspo & use them to fit your decorating style & aesthetic. I'm all about neutral cottage style- so be sure to always take any inspiration you see & make it truly unique to your home. Happy decorating friend! 



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