Whether your tastes run towards a more traditional, harvest-inspired arrangement or a spooky, Hitchcockian display, October is a great time to change up your fireplace decorations. To help you choose your mood, I’ve created three easy looks using the season’s bounty and simple accessories found around the house: pumpkins, gourds, Spanish moss, Chinese lanterns, paper cut-outs and tabletop accessories. Here, inspiration for your October mantel makeover…
The great thing about going Gothic for the season is getting both the spook and the romance. A traditional Gothic mantelpiece is easily achieved by arranging any number and manner of objects with an antique look, such as silver and pewter candlesticks, pitchers and vessels, along with shapely seasonal gourds and unkempt foliage. Chinese lantern flowers and small pumpkins still on the vine add a bright spot of colour.
Spanish moss ties all the elements together while black feathers and a store bought bat garland (West Elm) make the mantelpiece Halloween ready.
A Painterly Still Life
A traditional mantelpiece that’s more sophisticated than creepy works well throughout the month of October. And it couldn’t be simpler: layer a selection of pumpkins and gourds in a simple colour palette, with Spanish moss and simple Mason jar lanterns. Here, creamy white pumpkins and soft blue green gourds make a painterly statement that is reminiscent of an 18th-century Dutch still life.
Tip: It’s important when using similar elements, such as these gourds, to create some sense of variation. Mix in wood pedestals, cake stands, gold or bronze vases, and stack gourds on top of each other to create a difference in height.
Take your inspiration from classic thriller films like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds or The Crow and decorate your mantelpiece with a throng of paper cut-out birds. Place them strategically around your fireplace to give the impression they are swooping in for the kill, or pecking at treats you have left out.
Dishes filled with licorice candy and other sweet treats is an easy and inexpensive way to fill your mantelpiece with Halloween goodness. Keep your accessories dark or black, such as skull candles, twilight hued gourds, and black feathers to complete that eerie look. If you run out, you can always spray paint some impromptu thrift store finds or forgotten trinkets hiding in the cupboards (everybody’s got some!).