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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Elegant Halloween Black and Gold Mantel

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A Paper Series Post

Add a little gold to black decorations to create an elegant Halloween-themed mantel for the first Fall holiday, Halloween, to start decorating for the Fall and Winter months. The Midas gold touch adds sparkle and sheen to brighten dark blacks and draws your eyes across an entire arrangement. 

A perfect look for decorating for a Halloween party for grown-ups! 

Elegant halloween black and gold mantel exotic black bird with gold flecks
A lone carved orange Jack 'O Lantern on the front porch has been the only Halloween decor at my house in years past. However, you might say I am embracing Fall in a totally new way this Fall with a sophisticated take on Halloween decorations. 

Keep reading to see how to arrange a mantel with a new twist on Halloween, designed with a little creativity on old themes. 

Amber of Follow The Yellow Brick Home, is hosting Embracing Fall Home Tours with over twenty gifted bloggers who share how they are embracing Fall in their homes. I am delighted Amber invited me to be a part of this Fall's home tour collection. Links to everyone's posts are at the end.

For those coming from Michelle at The Painted Hinge, welcome to how I am embracing fall. If you haven't visited The Painted Hinge, you are missing a great post on how to use amber mason jars in Fall decor. Head over there to see elegance in her Fall decor after you read about an ... 

E L E G A N T   🌚   H A L L O W E E N 

B L A C K   &   G O L D   M A N T E L 

Elegant halloween black and gold mantel with French Country design
Black cats, creepy critters, leaves, and black birds are familiar characters in Halloween decorations, but the photos I used are not the usual cats, critters, leaves, and birds. Part of the fun of decorating is trying new things, not just repeating familiar settings.  

And, I am a firm believer you can develop your hidden talents for creativity by seeing what inspires others and by thinking about the process they use for giving a fresh look to decorating.

I N S P I R A T I O N   S O U R C E S  


Elegant halloween black and gold mantel uses photos cut from magazines
What sparked the idea for an elegant Halloween black and gold mantel? 

The creative flash for the mantel came from what I suggested above to you: Seeing how a creative person used a familiar item in an unfamiliar setting to create a fresh look inspired me. Then I began thinking about the process that person used to get a fresh look. 

This summer I saw photos of black animals, an insect, a bird, and a butterfly used in magazine advertisements for home lighting. The photos were elegant renditions with flecks of gold. So was the lighting in the advertisement... all enhanced by the mysterious black and gold creatures. 

As I looked at the photos, a tiny spark flashed in my mind about how the photos made me think of Halloween. I cut the photos from the magazine and saved them in a tray, not knowing exactly how I planned to use them, but vaguely thought about Halloween.  

Instead of a black house cat, a sleek black panther. 
Instead of a black crow, a preening black bird with plumage. 

The photos use familiar Halloween characters, but with a new perspective that takes Halloween to a sophisticated up-scale level. 

Lifts the ordinary to the extraordinary... in the life style of French Country living. 


Elegant halloween black and gold mantel message signs with gold filigree designs

When witches go riding & black cats are seen 
The moon laughs & whispers tis near Halloween

Something wicked Something sweet 
Come for a fright Leave with a treat 

Not your ordinary Halloween signs, the gold messages are light-hearted humor on black wood, and enhanced with elegant (there's that word again) gold filigree flourishes. These black and gold message signs created another flash in my mind to use them with the magazine photos. 


Elegant halloween black and gold mantel with gold metal olive wreath crowning a black cat print
Now that I had the two major components of a Halloween mantel, I began collecting other black and gold items to go with the prints and signs. What can I use that also has a fresh perspective on an old familiar theme? 

An olive wreath of golden leaves is the focal point of the mantel arrangement. Fall is the time for colorful leaves, and the golden olive leaves are an unexpected twist for colorful leaves. Something familiar, yet a fresh look. 

The black panther is crowned with the wreath, and the wreath captures the color of the panther's mesmerizing eyes. 

Elegant halloween black and gold mantel with white speckled gold leaves for fall
A small cluster of leaves are another familiar Fall decorating item,  yet when the leaves are gold with white speckles, the leaves take on another fresh look for Fall. 

Watch for a post in November that shows how I transformed a flat, nondescript set of metal leaves into this eye-catching gold and white set of leaves. 

T H I N K I N G  P R O C E S S E S 

Elegant halloween black and gold mantel with black animal prints with gold edge borders
A gold edge around the black animal/insect magazine prints highlights the photos and repeats the gold lettering in the message signs. 

Elegant halloween black and gold mantel with cost free prints and inexpensive DIY card stock frames
Cost-free prints and inexpensive DIY card stock frames make the Halloween mantel decorations budget-friendly. 

A heavy weight paper background gives gold edges around the prints and is a strong backboard for the thin magazine pages. I painted white card stock with gold metallic spray paint and glued the magazine prints to the card stock. 

A small piece of the gold spray-painted card stock fills the gaps behind the black and yellow butterfly print in the black picture frame. 

A black book with gold lettering on the spine elevates the exotic black bird to a better position in the mantel arrangement. Now the bird print balances the mantel arrangement with the large black clock on the opposite side of the mantel. 

Elegant halloween black and gold mantel design principles for balancing arrangements
Good design keeps your eyes within the arrangement without leading you out of the vignette. 

One design style is called a balanced, somewhat symmetrical style. This is the style in the black and gold elegant Halloween mantel. While the objects on the left and right are not an exact same pair of objects as used in a pure symmetrical arrangement, the objects do balance the design with their approximate sizes and positions.

The black panther with the gold olive wreath is the focal center of the grouping. On each side of the focal point are objects that lead the eyes to the center. In this arrangement, the black beetle in the upright glass frame leads your eyes to the large black clock on the left, and the butterfly print leads your eyes to the large bird print on the right. In turn, the black clock and bird lead your eyes to the central black cat and gold olive wreath. 

Whichever side your eyes start on, they are led from the lowest object to a medium height object to the highest central object. Then the objects on the other side of the mantel lead your eyes back down to the mantel where your eyes follow the message signs across the bottom of the group back to the other side. 

If the black clock and beetle switched places, your eyes would be led to the clock on the end with nothing to bring your eyes back down. Thus, your eyes leave the arrangement.

An example of this design principle of keeping your eyes within an arrangement is practiced in magazine layouts where the photos on the page keep your eyes circling around the page, not leading off the edge of the page into the wild blue yonder. 

Elegant halloween black and gold mantel with new perspectives on familiar halloween themes

(there you have it) 

With a new perspective on familiar Halloween objects, you can create a striking collection of black and gold elegance for a grown-up Halloween mantel.

I hope the descriptions of my thinking processes help you find ways to think outside usual arrangements and to see everyday objects with new eyes. You never know what you can create from a set of magazine photos that captivate you. Save those beautiful images in a spot where you can add other items as you stumble across them in the future. Before long, you have the makings of an original approach to a familiar decorating scheme. 

🍂 🍂 🍂

Whatever your personal style for decorating for Fall, you are sure to find inspiring ideas from all of the links at the bottom of the page. Check out Carol at The Red Painted Cottage's post for her ideas on Embracing Fall. Then click through all of the more than twenty links filled with Fall! 

S O U R C E S 

You can find the following items at the upcoming French Country Christmas Event this December in my garden house. 

⚜ Gold Olive Wreath 
⚜ White Speckled Gold Leaves Ornament 

The black and gold elegant Halloween message signs are available now in my garden house/shop.

{Disclosure: If you purchase items from Botanic Bleu, I receive compensation for your purchase. See my Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more information.} 

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  1. How creative this is! You really upped the glam with the elegant black animals and all of the gold accents! This is really a unique take on Halloween and I love how you styled your mantel with these elements! Bravo!

  2. Only you could create a Halloween mantel this gorgeous Judith! I love it all. This is the first year I've made anything for Halloween but the littles asked me to help them create a spooky house so it's been fun to stretch my skills a bit. I'm definitely adding this to my inspiration boards. Its fantastic! Hugs, CoCo

  3. Judith your mantle decor is so beautiful for the Halloween season. I don't do scary decor but would love your inspiration. Happy Fall.

  4. Wowza Judith, that is the most sophisticated yet spooky Halloween mantel ever! My eyes went around to every single detail and loved it all. The black and gold together is a great idea. Enjoy!

  5. Oh I love your idea of creating an elegant Halloween mantel. My mind is whirling with things I could use. Pinning! Thank you for the inspiration Judith!

  6. Wow... such a great tutorial on how you created this stunning mantel, Judith! I'm making my rounds of the tour... it's a big one! ;-) Hope we get to see this at Tuesday Turn About! ;-)

  7. Oh wow, how fun, I love it and your tutorial is amazing also.

  8. I just checked my mantel to make sure I followed your design principles. I did. Thanks for this. It's gorgeous and was so informative. I love the black and gold. It's not your usual style but it's stunning and fun.

  9. Yes, so elegant with the black and gold. I loved reading about how you came up with the creative and inspiring!

  10. You did a fabulous job on decorating your mantel and I love how everything about it evolved!

  11. There is something so classically elegant about pairing black and gold together. Bravo!

  12. Judith, I love how you decorated your mantel for Halloween while keeping it classy. The black and gold theme is really lovely and unique. I especially like those signs. I'm going to e-mail you because I have a Halloween mantel post coming up this week, and I'd love to include yours in my roundup! Cheers!

  13. What an original and creative idea! It really is perfect for this time of year.
    Happy Fall,

  14. Oh, this is lovely Judith! And I really appreciated hearing about your thought process - I learned so much, and I'm totally inspired to go try a new mantel! Thanks for the great post! ❤️

  15. I love the black and gold color scheme, Judith! Unexpected and oh-so-beautiful! The gold olive wreath is so beautiful!

  16. Judith what a truly delightful and unexpected post full of elegance and a wealth of design information! Just stunning! That black panther is mesmerizing along with the bird, wow...I just love this! Fabulous and creative!

    Thank you for embracing fall with us!

  17. I really like your elegant Halloween mantel. I much prefer your style of Halloween decor over creepy or scary.

  18. What a unique and glamorous way to decorate your mantel for Halloween! A wonderful alternative for people who don't go for the scary or gory decor. So happy to be on tour with you!

  19. Judith, your elegant mantel is gorgeous! Happy Fall! Blessings, Cecilia @ My Thrift Store Addiction

  20. Hi Judith!
    I really like your black and gold mantel. The magazine printouts are a perfect fit. I thought the prints were in gold frames until I read how you painted card stock with gold paint for the backing - so clever! Thanks for sharing at Homestyle Gathering!
    >>> Kim

  21. Very striking, Judith! I much prefer an elegant take on Halloween! Great design tips, too!

  22. Judith you have inspired me with your elegant Halloween decor! I love the gold and black combo. SO perfect!

  23. I love your elegant, grown up take on Halloween decor! Your mantle looks amazing. And what a lot of great decor inspiration in the other posts you have linked to as well! Thank you so much for sharing this post with Hearth and Soul. I’ll be featuring it at the party this week. The party goes live Monday, and I hope to ‘see’ you there!

  24. Hi Judith!

    Your mantel is so creative and elegant! I love your Halloween twist! Very inspiring! and I'm totally crushing on the golden wreath!

  25. Judith, I love that you share your inspiration and vision for the mantle. Using pictures from a magazine is brilliant. Love the poem and the writing. Showing how to achieve the right site lines for a vignette is so helpful. Love when we put a twist on a traditional holiday. Thank you!!

  26. It is oh, so elegant! Black and gold are perfect for Halloween!


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