Christmas

5 steps to Kelly Wearstler's masterful mantelpiece decoration

Be enticed to make this outrageously stylish mantelpiece decoration. Designed by Kelly Wearstler, it's perfect for fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas and beyond...

Mantelpiece decoration by Kelly Wearstler
(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

If you are hankering after a mantel decoration that's just a little more eye-catching than usual, search no further. This one is both outrageously stylish – and simple to recreate in just a few steps. 

And while you may want to copy this most scene-stealing of Christmas decor ideas to the letter, you can use your own selection of Christmas foliage ideas to populate the vases, too.

Below, interior designer Kelly Wearstler reveals to H&G how to recreate the look. 

'The fireplace is the centerpiece of my living room. I love to dress it up with seasonal mantelscapes robust with natural elements of the moment,' says Kelly. 

How to make Kelly Wearstler's mantelpiece decoration

You can buy many of the items shown at Kelly Wearstler (opens in new tab), or of course, you can use what you already have at home.

You will need:

  • Four vases of varying sizes and heights
  • Young tree branches
  • Chestnut, plum and rosehip foliage
  • Stones or gravel from the backyard
  • Trailing plants, such as amaranth
  • Seedheads
  • Seasonal blooms

1. Clear the mantelpiece

Mantelpiece decoration by Kelly Wearstler

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

Artwork can stay – it can add color and layering to your mantelpiece decoration.

2. Place vases on your mantelpiece

Mantelpiece decoration by Kelly Wearstler

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

'To start, I choose vessels to house the organic vignette,' says Kelly. 'Here, transparent vases in a variety of scale offer range of height and depth and let the entire fall floral fantasy take center stage.'

Fill the vases with water if the plants you are using aren't dried or faux; put handfuls of small stones in the vases to anchor any that are likely to topple – these will help keep stems from moving about too.

3. Add the tallest branches and stems first

Mantelpiece decoration by Kelly Wearstler

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

Add 'blooming branches – a bountiful mix of chestnut, plum and rosehip – give structure, and framework with raw, moody gestures of statuesque trees,' says Kelly.

Continue building up this first layer of tall planting until you have filled the vases by around half.

4. Build up trailing plants, seedheads and seasonal blooms

Mantelpiece decoration by Kelly WearstlerMantelpiece decoration by Kelly WearstlerMantelpiece decoration by Kelly Wearstler

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

Continue to add 'an interplay of greenery and draping, deep purple amaranth add to the alchemy of textures and stunning visual interest,' says Kelly.

5. Finish your mantelpiece decoration with mid-height plants

Mantelpiece decoration by Kelly Wearstler

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

Continue to add to the mantelpiece decoration until the display is balanced – you will need to step back to take it in from across the room to ensure plants are evenly distributed. Adjust until you are happy with the mix of tall, trailing and mid-height fillers and the distribution of colors. 

'Soulful autumnal energy ignites an interior,' concludes Kelly. She's so right.

Visit Kelly Wearstler on Pinterest (opens in new tab) to see more festive styling tips.

Lucy Searle
Global Editor in Chief

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine.