Yes, yes, you’ve heard of tablescaping, but there’s a new type of scape that we must introduce you to. And it's not bathscaping, something that I recently read about but promptly dismissed as a waste of time – that said, I do light candles and instruct Alexa to play "something relaxing". I’ve digressed! Upon hearing about the new scape: the mantelscape, my ears were pricked with cheer. Of course, it just means decorating your mantelpiece, but humour it – and me.
Mantelscaping allows you to partake in Christmas decorating, without having to expend the same energy. This is especially tempting in a year where rules put an end to hosting and parties. And it's also child and animal friendly – I was surprised to learn how prohibitive babies, cats and dogs make having something as tall and precarious as a Christmas tree.
So how to? Use the satisfying symmetry of your mantelpieces as a starting point, working from the outside in. That said, perfection is not the aim here, as the last thing you want is for it to feel impersonal. Postcards and bits of tat are most welcome. Some of the best examples I’ve seen use candlesticks, stacks of books, ornaments and plants. They play with different textures, trinkets and levels, which gives the mantel a covetable layered look. Also consider things to hang off it. Stockings of course, but also paper chains, garlands and twinkly lights.
Edna Ferber once wrote that “we no longer build fireplaces for physical warmth; we build them for the warmth of the soul; we build them to dream by, to hope by, to home by”. I couldn’t agree more, having spent the majority of winters growing up, sitting by a fire contemplating things such as what to eat next, or how nice it'd be to be a cat. Ok, there was a bit of hand warming too, because Yorkshire winters are harsh and my parents liked to take me on long frostbite-inducing walks. If my flat allowed for such a luxury, I would be mantelscaping with bells on.
If you’d rather to enlist an expert, Kitten Grayson Everlasting Installation service starts from £1500, and doesn’t just have to sit on your mantle. It could hang above your table or sit around a doorframe, and wonderfully, it’ll last for years.
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