Today I’m sharing a simple yet beautiful way to decorate your mantlepiece for autumn or Halloween – perfect if you want to bring a bit of seasonal magic into your home without resorting to anything tacky, and totally free of unsustainable plastic. It’s also ideal if you’ve left things a little late and need an easy idea that you can put together in time for 31st October!
All you need for this look is an assortment of miniature pumpkins and some seasonal foliage. I’ve opted for white and green pumpkins to match the muted colour scheme in my house, but you could go for traditional orange or even stripy gourds. Foliage-wise, I chose soft ruscus and eucalyptus for greenery, along with some dried seed heads and branches for additional autumn texture.
All you need to do is arrange the pumpkins in a cluster, then cut the foliage into sprigs and tuck them underneath and behind. I like an asymmetric look so I decorated one side of the mantlepiece only, but you could run things along the entire length if you prefer. As you go, keep an eye out for sculptural shapes in the leaves and branches that you can swoosh out to the side. If you’re going asymmetric like me then it looks particularly striking with the foliage sticking upwards at the outer edge and downwards towards the other, but whatever you do the key is not to try too hard. It’s much better to keep things natural than create anything overly neat or regimented.
If you want to keep the foliage alive for as long as possible, you can poke it into some oasis foam soaked in water. I’ve chosen not to do this as it’s not recyclable – and in any case I quite like the way the leaves look as they slowly dry out and turn brown – but of course it’s entirely up to you.
For the finishing touch I added a few tea lights in glass holders, which I nestled in among the pumpkins. They’re positioned very carefully to avoid the flames catching any branches or leaves, but I definitely wouldn’t leave this display unattended when lit. If you’re at all worried then leave the candles out, as the arrangement will still look fantastic without them.
Finally, if you don’t have a fireplace, you could replicate this look on a shelf or sideboard. And when you’re done, make sure you use the pumpkins to cook up something delicious rather than creating unnecessary waste. Louise at Nordic Kitchen Stories has put together a wonderful recipe for pumpkin, orange and ginger granola, while food writer and chef Anna Barnett has shared a raft of sweet and savoury pumpkin ideas here.
All photography by Abi Dare