Let high-luster mercury glass shine in fall decorating - East Valley Tribune: Home & Garden

Let high-luster mercury glass shine in fall decorating

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Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2012 6:00 pm

I'm crazy about high-luster mercury glass: all the sparkle and none of the polishing work of real silver. I have been using mercury-glass accents in my decorating for years, but I took an even brighter shine to it when I discovered the most adorable mercury-glass pumpkins and gourds at market. They are my top pick for fall decorating this year.

Here are five fabulous looks featuring the mercury-glass pumpkins and gourds.

Look 1: The Center of Everything

This fall, we are having lots of fun dreaming up tableaus that play up the juxtaposition of the cool, sleek mercury glass with the organic textures and rich colors of fall.

Bruce, a visual designer, set the stage by placing two of our favorite buffet lamps on either side of the centerpiece. Not only do the silver lamps add sparkle and shine of their own, but with their dark shades, they cast light downward, acting like spotlights for the star of the show: the centerpiece.

When creating a display, the key is to work high to low. Bruce used a cut-glass compote as a riser, topped the mouth of the compote with a fall wreath and then nestled three mercury-glass pumpkins inside. Next, he created a bed of fall leaf sprigs to hold more mercury-glass pumpkins. Two tiny wreaths served as nests for additional pumpkins. He finished off with a mercury-glass partridge figurine. The design is fabulous because it's simple to create, but looks layered and lush.

Look 2: Beautiful Balance for a Buffet

If you want a gorgeous look for your buffet, but you don't want to invest a lot of time (or money), this is the arrangement for you. Start by placing a substantially sized lamp at the center of your buffet to serve as the high point of the display. Then, flank the lamp with two matching mercury-glass arrangements. Simple, balanced and stunning, this display gives a clean look for fall.

Look 3: Magnificent Mantel Display

For a fall mantel treatment, Bruce used mercury-glass accents in a supporting role, not as the stars of the display. That honor went to a transferware plate, carefully selected to repeat the reds in the faux fall greenery, which gives a mantel display so much depth. The plate is held in place by a few twiggy trays. Inexpensive and versatile, these trays are a mainstay for me, especially when I decorate for fall. They work wonderfully as chargers for fall place settings and as the base of fall table displays.

Bruce again worked high to low to create a richly layered asymmetrical mantel display. The high point is a mercury-glass gourd perched on top of a mercury-glass candlestick, backed by a spray of fall leaves. The display flows down to the left, to the plate and trays. The shortest layer is a matching twig tray filled with mercury-glass pumpkins. The thread that holds all these pieces together is the spray of fall leaves that ensconces each unit of the tableau, making them into one. To get a more three-dimensional look, Bruce poked in some grass and berry picks, and let the sprays and picks dangle down the side and front of the mantel.

Look 4: Coffee-Table Creation

Bruce selected a few favorite fall icons as the backdrop for our mercury-glass gourds and pumpkins: greenery, including a sprig of fall leaves that features a tiny bird's nest; an adorable chalkboard for back to school; and some old books.

Look 5: Splashy Occasional Table

Bruce pulled together a super-simple bowl of mercury-glass gourds in a jiff to balance out the sparkling silver in the drink service on an occasional table.

Start with a beautiful bowl. If you want a punch of color or some added texture, line it with a piece of fabric, perhaps a geometric print napkin. Then just fill in with a tumble of shimmering mercury-glass gourds and pumpkins. Five seconds, and you are done!

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