Create a winter-themed mantle featuring outdoor elements in a few simple steps. Credit: Katie Smith

Chances are you just took your holiday decorations down and things feel a little sparse around the house. But it doesn’t have to stay that way though.

Winter is a wonderful time to keep things appealing on the inside if you don’t get outdoors as much as you do in the spring and summer. Decorating your home with elements found outside is a great excuse to get out and breathe in the fresh Maine air, not to mention easy on the wallet.

Here’s a simple way to decorate your mantle in no time at all to keep your home looking its best until the days start growing longer.

Credit: Katie Smith

What you need:

—Branches, birch logs, pine cones, and anything else from the Maine woods, or your backyard you find beautiful.

—Spray paint in color of choice (I used metallic silver).

—A strand of lights

—Container to hold branches

—Other items you already have to enhance your outdoor mantle such as candles, antlers, or dried flowers.

Tip: Keep it simple by choosing one or two colors so you don’t overwhelm your mantle — less is more. If you are looking to brighten things up, gold, white, cream and silver are a great way to do that. If you like warmer tones, leave branches natural.

Let’s decorate:

Spray paint branches in a well-ventilated area and let them dry completely before putting them in a vase or container to display.

Start with a completely bare mantle, and place your tallest item somewhere in the back. I like to have the tallest item off to one side instead of the center because it makes it easier to layer in other elements without feeling like you have to have it symmetrical.

Next, put your horizontal items on your mantle. Play around with it until you like how it looks— don’t forget to stand back a yard or two so you can see the whole area. Remember, it doesn’t have to be symmetrical.

Credit: Katie Smith

Now for the fun part: it’s time to layer in other elements such as candles and lights. I find it’s easier to get the look I want when I’m not trying to place lights or candles perfectly. Drape them over your branches and logs gently making sure there are some lights weaving in back of decorations and front.

Stand back and admire your winter-themed mantle with treasures found outside and from

your home.

This story was originally published in Bangor Metro’s January/February 2020 issue. Read more from Bangor Metro here. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.