This year, instead of decorating all over the Bramford, I focused my efforts on a few easy areas because I knew time was of the essence between everything I had to do. In the past, I’ve posted pictures of my spooky home décor, but for 2021 I thought I’d provide a little guide for my new favorite (maybe reoccurring) piece. For many years, over Pinterest, Instagram, and other platforms, I’ve seen gorgeous mantels, TV stands, and other tables bedecked for Halloween. So I thought I’d give it a shot with my own—and a limited budget.
First, it’s important to know whether you’re going for a maximalist or minimalist décor as that will determine how much you’re building up. Since the rest of my apartment wasn’t going to be an effort, I was happy to go maximalist in this area and fill an entire table with everything to fulfill my vision of blending Gothic design with neon touches. As with every kind of holiday design, it’s possible to go in so many directions here. Then, I slowly accumulated what I didn’t already have (or what caught my eye) and finally put it all together in the following steps.
STEP 1. Put on a Halloween movie or music. You need to be in the right mindset or mood to design, and nothing helps better than something seasonal. Even if it’s just on in the background, there’s something to having the right atmosphere.
STEP 2. If you have cloth or mantel décor to go under, put it down. I’ve been hunting for the perfect one for years and finally found this cute checked bat mantelpiece at Homegoods in what had to be some of the last of their Halloween décor. It’s fricking bats!
STEP 3. Lay out everything you have and organize it by height. Since the goal is not to block the TV, the tallest items will obviously go toward the sides. This meant my tree from John Derian’s collection for Target last year, my bird leg candle holders (Target this year; they remind me of Baba Yaga), and my Bath & Body Works candle holder (so happy I finally snagged one) were destined for the edges. Otherwise, those green taper candles (World Market) would definitely block the screen.
STEP 4. Organize the other candles. Is it a rule that you need to have so many? No. But let’s admit that firelight feels primal, spooky, and awesome. My design ended up with about 18 candles total because “I always have money for candles. I love candles.” Most of them are LEDs I bought from Amazon last year, a few are BLOMDOFT from Ikea, the Haunted Nights scent from Bath & Body Works (which I burned through so quick), and a few skull candles from the Target bargain section. When organizing them, keep an eye for playing with height while not blocking your view, especially if you watch with subtitles.
STEP 5. Add the little details. I bought the colorful pun-kins and potion bottles from Target’s bargain section early in the season thanks to a tip from TikTok. (A couple weeks later they were gone). I love how they add splashes of color or sparkle. This is also where you could add fake spiders or other creepy crawlies, any small signs or figures, or other little details you can layer in to add visual depth.
STEP 6. If you’re a basic bitch who has a letter board, change it for the Halloween holiday. Last year I did a play on “WAP” and this year I decided to go with a quote from Scream. Otherwise, you can surround your TV with other types of seasonal art (especially if you already have a gallery wall) or go for an autumnal or Halloween garland. This will help make it more of a wall feature and less of just the TV stand by itself.
One of the great things about decorating flat surfaces is how variable the possibilities are. You can change up the theme, the color palette, the homage, or more. This year I tried something new with the TV stand and fell in love. I’m sure it’s going to be a new part of my traditions from now on, because it reminds me every time I’m watching a scary movie that this is the best time of year.