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Want to freshen up your décor for spring? Do a quick makeover on your mantel. Whether you want to completely redo your mantel display for the new season or just add a seasonal tweak here and there, it takes just minutes to remake this little stage. But, the payoffs are huge. Every time you walk by your mantel, you’ll get a bounce in your step and a spark in your heart – winter is over, and spring is here! Here are different mantel looks we created at Nell Hill’s to inspire you.


Fresh and Fanciful

Great mantels start with great artwork as a backdrop. We picked this lovely pastoral oil painting of sheep grazing because it evokes such a feeling of peace and renewal, a welcomed breath of fresh air in the chaos of daily life.

Every good mantel display needs structure. So we pulled from our ample stock of interesting white pottery for some pieces to build around. All the pottery we used is white, but each piece is very different from the others, some contemporary, some traditional, some tall, some tiny. When we design mantels, we create them to flow visually from a high point to a low point. Sometimes the high spot is at the center of the mantel, and the elements in the display descend from this central spot. This time, we built the display on just one corner, making our high spot the outer boundary of the mantel, carrying the line down to the center of the mantel.

Bring on the greens! Good greens are a great addition to a mantel display no matter what the season, whether they are picks, garlands or potted plants. I’m intrigued by these new plants we got in at Nell Hill’s because they look like they could be growing up around a fence post in a meadow. They are wild and unkempt and bursting with life, just like this season of re-awakenings. They come in simple pots, which look great by themselves, or you can place them in a decorative cachepot, like we did here. Measuring in at 25” tall, they offer great height.

I’ve long been a fan of bare, wild honeysuckle vine, and it’s a go-to tool for my fall and winter decorating. But it also looks sensational in this spring display. If you want, you could stop here for a multi-layered look that will take you up to summer, or even until fall. Or, you could tuck in a little surprise or two …

Sometimes you need a full, fat bouquet of flowers to knock it out of the park. Other times, just a single bud or two is the most powerful because of its simplicity. So subtle you barely notice them, these small glass vases holding a fresh tulip bud ready to burst open are the perfect finishing touch to this energy-giving spring mantel.


Powerful Pottery

At once contemporary and traditional, this multi-leveled, richly layered display is so arresting, it’s hard to look away. Step one was to find some great pieces to serve as the framework for the display. These tall, thin, contemporary black and white pots looked perfect with our more traditional black and white artwork. Our theme was set: a monochromatic arrangement that wedded the trendy with the tried-and-true. We started tucking in a few classic pieces, like this metal wreath candleholder, to create a visual pyramid with our decorative elements, slightly off centered to keep things interesting. I like how its circular arches contrast with the perpendicular lines of the pots. Old books used as risers provided touchable texture, one of my favorite tricks.

We finished out this arresting display by weaving a mixture of spring vines and flowers through the decorative pieces. If you’re not a fan of faux greens, you could easily leave them out. This close up shot gives a good glimpse of how these diverse elements work together to make this three-dimensional mantel art work.


Saturated Color

We are crazy for color right now at Nell Hill’s, so we just had to share this spunky mantel that makes you want to dance for joy. When you use a piece of artwork as zippy as this for your backdrop, you need a mantel display equally as vibrant. We didn’t need to look far at Nell Hill’s to find a crazy cute assortment of inexpensive pottery—the store is filled with our best selection yet. The focal point of our mantel look is this awesome pot, which features the extremely popular chevron stripe. We filled it full of floral picks, but it would also look great holding a maidenhair fern or ivy topiary. Next we brought in an assortment of funky pots, vases and boxes in all kinds of colors, shapes and textures. Since the pottery is so inexpensive, you can go out of your comfort zone a little and get colors and finishes you wouldn’t normally choose. It’s a great way to add a pop of new color and explore new decorating styles.


A Peek at My Mantel

I couldn’t resist the chance to show you how I dressed up my mantel last year for my Spring Open House. I’ve approached my mantel displays all different ways through the years, sometimes clearing the deck and creating completely new looks, sometimes just adding a slight modification with each new season. Right now I have a few items on my mantel that I dearly love and I want to keep them out year round. So, as each new season comes, I move these keepers around a bit and add in a few seasonal splashes. I really like to use live and faux house plants in my spring decorating, so all I did was place three different plants into three different white pots. Done!


Next Week …This spring, gather your loved ones around your dining table to celebrate life. I’ll have a few beautiful tablescapes to inspire you.

P.S. Join us for our annual Spring Tabletop Event at Nell Hill’s. For the entire month of April, we’re filling gallery after gallery at both Nell Hill’s locations with beautiful tablescapes dressed for spring and summer entertaining.


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16 Responses to “Mantel Makeovers for Spring”

  1. Nana Diana Says:

    The mantle looks lovely. I really need to get some Spring greens on my mantle to freshen in up for Spring. Great post- xo Diana

  2. Lisa Fernandez Says:

    This is so promising, thinking of Spring which is right around the corner. I love your mantel makeover post. Yes I wish I could go see all your tablescapes, I would get in my car now if I didn’t have to drive 18 hours to get there. Hee Hee.
    So lovely. Very exciting.
    Can only imagine your home in the Spring, mantels won’t be the only thing dressed up. What would we do without decorating?

  3. Diane Says:

    Any ideas for what to do for those of us who have tv’s above their mantle. I know that isn’t the best choice but the family room is for the family and that is where the rest of my family wanted our 52 inch tv. Our mantle is about 8 inches wider than the tv on both sides/

  4. Carol Says:

    I have the same dilemma as Diane with the TV about the mantle. Any ideas?

  5. Franki Says:

    Lovely mantlescapes!! I just did mine in shades of green (candles, orbs, etc.) So looking forward to tablescapes…one of my favs!! franki

  6. Barbara Clady Says:

    I love getting your updates and especially today on how to do a mantle. I love the colorful pots. But, being in San Diego Ca. I cannot come into the store. Can they be purchased and shipped? I love the ones that are orange and white in different size. If they are available please let me know.
    Thank you and keep up the good work. When I am back in Kansas City in Oct 2013, I will be at your store buying.
    Barbara Clady

  7. Barbara Clady Says:

    See the above comment from me.

  8. Barbara Clady Says:

    I do love getting your updates.. Being in San Diego CA I cannot come into the store for these great items. Can some of them be purchased and shipped? I love the orange ones and some of the white in different sizes If they are available please let me know. Thank you and when I am back in Kansas City I will be back at your store and buying.
    Barbara Clady

  9. Linda McDougall Says:

    I love the round blue and white plate on the mantle — is that available at Nell Hill’s?

  10. Angie Lewandowski Says:

    Love, Love Love the mantle ideas and inspiration! I have a very dark wood mantle and would love to see an arrangement utilizing a mantle with darker wood.

    Additionally, like Barbara, I do not live in Kansas City and would love to be able to purchase items online!

    Thanks for always inspiring us!

  11. Mary Carol Says:

    Diane and Carol—That seems to be a dilemma for many. If you want to add anything on the sides, just keep it simple. Candlesticks with a few potted faux ferns, or maybe some colorful pottery to give your eye something to look at other than the T.V.

  12. Mary Carol Says:

    Barbara–Please feel free to call anytime you see something on the Nell Hill’s website, facebook, pinterest or blog. We would be happy to ship from our stores. Just call 877-746-4320 and we can answer any questions you might have.

  13. Phyllis Airington Says:

    Mary Carol,

    Thanks for this interesting email. Loved your idea’s and ran and changed my mantle with a couple of things you showed.
    I enjoy reading and watching everything you show and always find something I might use.
    As always keep up the good work.
    Glad I read where you can order some of the things you show on this site.

    Phyllis Airington
    Kansas City, Missouri

  14. b riggs Says:

    I have seen the picture of your mantle several times and am interested in the Madonna and Child print, which I am assuming is Raphael (?). I would like to find that print and would appreciate information about purchasing it.

  15. Pat Leatherman Says:

    Your web site is marvelous and I read and reread all your notes and suggestions when they come as I am so encouraged each time I read and see it! Thank you for all your beautiful comments and decorating.

    I do have a question: What is the color on the wall in the first picture of the mantle?
    It is so soft and if it is one of your colors I would love to know it’s name please.

    Will be coming to KC in June and can’t wait to come to your store again.

    Thanks again!

  16. Mary Carol Says:

    B — The painting above my mantel is a treasure Dan found on one of his buying trips in Europe. It was from an old monastery. We don’t know who painted it or anything else about its history, unfortunately. I have never seen a reproduction of it, but my guess is you would be able to find similar pieces of sacred art in antique shops or on line. Good luck!

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