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Style: 3 looks we love for fall mantels

Mary Carol Garrity
Tribune News Service

As a chill enters the air, the days grow a bit shorter and the fall colors begin to appear everywhere you turn, it’s time to layer up your fireplace mantel with a drop-dead gorgeous fall display. Here are three of our favorites.

Autumn woodlands

Boughs of evergreen and pine cones aren’t just for winter displays. We often use them as a base for fall mantel treatments because the rich green, warm brown and complex textures provide a lovely contrast to boughs of autumn leaves, berries and gourds. This yummy mantel is lush with fall beauty. We spiced up the pine garland with a variety of fall picks: sprays of white berries, fall leaves and magnolia stems. The drama is boosted by our big statements on either side of the mantel: A stunning floral in a tall pot on the left and statuesque finials on the right. Our finials got some added height, with the help of white-paper covered book stacks.

Fall glow

Evergreen garland is the base of this mantel treatment, too. We wove in a second garland of fall leaves, lightly tucking in the strand so it looks as if the leaves floated there on a gust of wind. Then, we threaded in a few picks featuring fall nuts. Love the added texture!

With the base in place, we added our focal point: a phalanx of faux bois candlesticks. We picked two tall, three medium and two short candlesticks in the same style, zig-zagging them down the mantel, for an interesting finished effect. The candles are battery-operated, so you can let them “burn” with no worries of dripping wax or fire.

Deer heart

My favorite people in life are those with whom I can laugh. So it’s no surprise that I love a bit of humor in my interior designs as well. This playful fall mantel treatment is a little tongue-in-cheek. We started by hanging over the mantel a wonderful piece of art depicting a fall forest. This time of year, a deer’s life can hang in the balance, so we added a replica old-fashioned scale. (We used this charming accent in lots of our displays — it’s not only striking, it’s a very versatile decorating tool.)

One each scale? Deer, trying hard to blend in with the background, with their twiggy antlers, hidden to hunters.

The greenery on this lovely mantel is the main show. We started with a few birch branches, cut short, to add a new texture and element of surprise. Next came our evergreen and fall garlands. We finished with shocks of fall milo.

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at nellhills.com.