Give your home the sophisticated charm of an English manor this holiday season by decking the halls with the equestrian themed holiday décor that is captivating hearts this holiday season. Depending upon your fancy, you can take this timeless look in any direction, from whimsical to classic. Here’s how.

Dress Your Table

One of my favorite spots to do up big for the holidays is my dining room. Dan and I entertain quite a bit between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I give this all-important room a big treatment. Through the years, I’ve reinvented the English hunt club look over and again, and still, it feels fresh and new and full of possibilities.

Start your table treatment with beautiful linens, like a rich plaid or paisley tablecloth and crisp white linen napkins. I like to use trays as chargers when I dress my table for a dinner party because they do a masterful job of grounding each place setting and lending them an air of distinction. For this knockout table, we layered things up with a round leather charger to bring in some moody texture. White china is perfect for an equestrian table. Or use a china pattern that evokes images of England, like our red trimmed plates that pay tribute to the sea. I really like the addition of the faux antler handled cutlery.

There are so many directions you can go with your centerpiece on an equestrian themed table that the sky is the limit. Here, we used a cluster of trophy cups as vases for fresh flowers. Faux stag antler candlesticks add dramatic height.

The stag candelabras carry the look set on the table over to the buffet, which is arranged so beautifully it looks like a Dutch painting. Even though the grouping is a show-stealer, it’s easy to create. Start with a pair of tall candelabras to frame the scene. Add in another themed accent for fun, like this vase holding pheasant feathers. Then, display your food on different sized multi-leveled servers. Place artisan bread, a wedge of cheese and fresh pears on a simple wooden cutting board and you’ve got a tantalizing tableau in minutes.


Trim Your Tree

It’s fun to bring a holiday theme to life on your Christmas tree, isn’t it? We played it up big with our equestrian tree at Nell Hill’s Atchison, tilting towards excess to celebrate this season of wonder and whimsy.

We dotted the tree with this fanciful line of equestrian ornaments that depict all facets of the hunt. They are fun and frolicking, aren’t they?

I can’t seem to get enough of plaid this time of year, so it was a treat to find these adorable plaid balls and snowflakes. They looked fabulous with our ribbon garland that twisted through the boughs of the tree.

Tuck an irresistible figurine, like this fox dressed in finery, into the branches of your tree. Using one over-sized ornament as a focal point in your Christmas tree is a fun way to surprise guests.


Deck Your Mantel

In addition to your tree, your fireplace mantel is one of the most important spots to decorate for the holidays. We really brought our equestrian theme to life on this display mantel at Nell Hill’s Atchison.  We started by trailing a traditional evergreen garland across the mantel, securing it in place so it didn’t slip off and send everything crashing to the floor. Then we filled out the garland by adding in several interesting picks, like fat red berries and gilded leaves, tying everything up with a perky plaid bow.

Every good mantel design needs some elements that bring in dramatic height. We found it here with these traditional black metal lanterns holding battery operated pillar candles. Use a riser, like this stack of plaid paper-covered books, to give accents an added boost so they aren’t the same height.

I like to add something playful and unexpected to holiday displays, just to make guests smile. On our display mantel, it was this lantern that boxed together the hunter and the fox, both of whom seem to be looking for a way to escape.


Make Your Entire Manor Merry

When we dress Nell Hill’s for the winter holidays, we bring in a wonderful mix of menswear fabrics, weaving them into our bedding ensembles, our upholstered furnishings and our window and floor coverings. The snapshot above gives you a glimpse into one of our galleries, tastefully appointed in winter fabrics that are to-die-for.

While a plaid sofa might be too much, don’t be afraid to cover a side chair or two in a toned-down plaid pattern, as we did here. Then, dress up the chair with an equestrian themed accent pillow for fun.

This luxurious leather ottoman coffee table is simply magnificent and works perfectly with the plaid fabrics and accents in this furniture grouping.

Are you a fan of the hunt club look but don’t hunt yourself? Cheat and get a deer’s head at Nell Hill’s! Hunting trophies like this one look great hung over the mantel.

It just takes minutes to make your light fixtures look like a million bucks. To get this winning effect on the charming chandelier in my study, we secured a few pine picks, red berry picks and some big pinecones to the chain with florist wire then finished off with a plaid ribbon.

Next Week … I’ll share another of my favorite looks for holiday decorating: shining, sparkling, sophisticated silver.

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27 Responses to “Tally Ho, Ho, Ho! Equestrian Decor Is Huge for the Holidays”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Equestrian, tartan, paisley, fox hunting theme ~ you have hit a soft spot on my heart with each one of these. Absolutely lovely. So wish I lived near Nell Hills to shop this season. Thanks for sharing the beautiful images……..Sarah

  2. Kandace Says:

    Mary Carol,
    This is my absolute favorite Christmas look! I go crazy for all the plaid. I just bought my daughters (5 and 2) blue and green plaid Christmas dresses. I’m definitely stealing the plaid book cover idea from your mantle look.
    Thanks to your blog, I’m not afraid to decorate my chandeliers anymore. And the pinecone picks are on my list for my next trip to your store (along with the plaid ornaments).
    Thanks for all the great ideas!

  3. Franki Says:

    This just gets me SO IN THE MOOD….just some wonderful (and workable) ideas. First I have to get through a “cabin full” of guests for Thanksgiving…the day after….watch out!! :) franki

  4. Lisa Fernandez Says:

    I love this. Beautiful and elegant. I love the equestrian theme. Went for it in my study too. Your ideas are wonderful. As always. Thank you.

  5. JoAnn Says:

    ‘Enjoy your blog each week, but this one is so special and I plan to enjoy it over and over….


    Mary Carol. . . .I want to decorate my mantel like the picture in your blog today with the 3 black lanterns. I have looked all over for plaid paper so I could cover some books. Can you please give me any pointers on where I could possibly find paper similar to the one in the pictures. I too love plaid to use during the Christmas holidays. Thanks for always giving you customers ideas to help them reaffirm their decorating skills. Thank you and good wishes to you and your staff during this holiday season. I will be anxious to hear from you at your earliest convenience.

  7. Dottie Says:

    Absolutely love it! My all time favorite decor for any time of year. We raise Tennessee Walking Horses and my husband is a “huge” hunter, so the combination of our two loves is always perfect. I’m excited to try some of these ideas! Thank you so much for sharing. Just wishing Mississippi was closer to Neil Hill’s…… To visit one day is on my list of “dream things”..

  8. Dottie Says:

    PS: Thank you for the “larger than life” photos that enable us to drink in every detail !

  9. shirley Says:

    do you have the black metal lanterns for sale?

  10. Ruth Phillips Says:

    OK…Of course I love this for the Holidays…or well anytime. I was searching for a horse blanket pattern as I was checking my emails…Our upcoming family picture theme(yes everything has a theme at our house) is plaid flannel and causal so of course Faith our horse needs a new plaid flannel blanket…last year we took a bright red leather sofa in one of our fields, this year it will be a rustic black church pew…thanks for the continued inspiration and I love the looks!

  11. Fran Says:

    I love equestrian decor and have been using it for years throughout my home. Love the new items you have, especially the equestrian ornaments!

  12. Betty Knackstedt Says:

    Hi Mary Carol…………This Equestrian, Fox and Hound look brings back so many memories……….

    by chance do you have the Equestrain pillow, with the English Saddle, that you have pictured in a chair, in your store? I would love to purchase this if possable.
    Have a wonderful Holiday Season,

  13. Maryann Says:

    Rosemary – look for plaid Christmas wrapping paper to cover your books with. Should be pretty easy to find at this time of year.

  14. Patricia Krier Says:

    How do you anchor the heavy garland and floral to the mantel?
    Happy Holidays!!

  15. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Rosemary—The plaid paper featured in the blog is from Europe. We have the navy and teal blue plaids still available at the Briarcliff store. Call 877-746-4320 for more information.

  16. Mary Carol Says:

    Wish you did to Sarah!

  17. Mary Carol Says:

    Dottie—I hope you will put us on your ‘bucket list’.

  18. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Shirley—We are sold out of the black lanterns featured in this blog, however, we have some very similar. Call 877-746-4320 for more info.

  19. Mary Carol Says:

    Betty—I believe we have one left at the Briarcliff store. Call 877-746-4320 for details–ask for Ali.

  20. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Patricia—Several things I have done in the past is put a piece of cut plywood on top of the mantel and nail the garland to it. Another possibility is to use some of the heavy duty 3M command stripes–you can purchase them at hardware stores. Hope that helps!

  21. Robin Frank -- Vision Interiors Says:

    I have such a fondness for the huntsman look in my Christmas decorating as we’ll as year round …. Hunt wallpaper …. Hunting dogs … Plaids as well as the mounted stag heads . I find them in junk stores and just have to rescue them and have placed quite a few this past year! Don’t want to shoot one but very happy to save them from dreary thrift store . I will… put garlands around there neck and berries … Pussy willows in spring ..etc … I have two in my home …. I know .. Three is an illness !!! Thanks for a terrific holiday home tour Mary Carol ! Looking for 6-8 more stag salad plates that I bought at Garrittys . White plate with stag and some had the hare on them … Think they are part of your line..? … Robin

  22. Jaybird Says:

    Is there a picture anywhere of the overall “hunting” mantel?? It looks beautiful, but all we see are bits and pieces.
    Many thanks!!

  23. Kathryn Yonce Says:

    What a beautiful way to decorate for the Holidays!
    Could I get the name of your china? Love it!

    Thank you!!!

  24. Joy Hale Says:

    I love, love, love all of your equestrian décor. I am especially FOND OF THE PLAID DRESSED FOX FOR THE CHRISTMAS TREE! Can any of your items be purchased? I hope so, for I want to start purchasing immediately.
    Eager to hear from you,
    Joy Hale

  25. Mary Carol Says:

    I’m sorry Joy, all of those items ‘sold out’ at Christmas time. You might check back in October/November of this year to see if some more come in.

  26. Joy Hale Says:

    I’ll check back with you in the fall. Do you by any chance have a catalog or newsletter? If so, how do I sign up? I would love to buy some items from you. Joy Hale

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