Ferer suggests taking things out of your closet. "Look and see what is beautiful and pick a theme," she says.
Here are some of her theme examples:
For turn-of-the-century ambience, dress a traditional mantel with baroque accents. First, drape pine garland in and around the mantel (and around any art or mirror above the mantel). To give an Old World feel, use deep colors to add a sense of weight.
Start by draping a dark velvet scarf across the mantel. Follow by displaying old items such as instruments and or bundles of old books tied up with ribbon. Antique-looking broaches or pins mounted on a wide band of ribbon can also give a nice added effect. Then, mix new elements with the old -- choosing them in a fun and lively color like hot pink. Pink candles holders, ornaments, and carnation flower orbs add just the right amount of vibrancy. For a finishing touch, scatter berries.
For a cool Christmas look think minimal. Incorporate your style with just a hint of the holiday. For instance, add dried pepper berries to a tall contemporary glass vase. And, instead of an actual live fire, display some wheat grass in the firebox. It's a great alternative to a burning fire if you prefer to avoid the cleanup or have a non-working fireplace.
Mix and match favorite elements from your own personal collection. Try a clean white and silver theme using glass and silver candlesticks, as well as ornaments. Add votives and white pillar candles of different sizes and heights for sheer volume. Again, instead of an actual fire, display large pillar candles in the firebox.
Arts & Crafts
Use what you have! Start with a plaid scarf or throw. Drape across the mantel, and add all sorts of household items and collections such as pottery, old toys, souvenirs, childhood mementos, as well as natural elements from the outdoors. They can include fruits, nuts, pinecones, branches, cinnamon, and seasonal greenery.