5 Helpful Mantle DecorTips

Contributing Writer: Mari Hernandez-Tuten

Recently we added a mantle to our fireplace and it has been a lot of fun to decorate but it has also been challenging.  Below are few simple tips, that I hope help you out as you stand there staring at your mantle hoping that it would decorate itself.  Oh wait, that was me.  My husband walked into the livingroom while I was standing there for what seemed like hours and he didn’t even ask, he just walked back up the stairs. Smart man!

via seesawdesigns.blogspot.com

Remember to have fun with it and don’t be afraid to experiment with color, texture, design and placement.  If you like it, go for it!

This diagram is a visual of some of the tips that I am sharing below.

1. Size of fireplace -Assess the size of your fireplace. If it’s large don’t just decorate with small items. If it’s small don’t clutter the mantle area with too many items.

This picture is a perfect example of items NOT being balanced or proportioned to the size of the fireplace. It’s a pretty fireplace it just needs help. image via karapaslaysdesigns.blogspot.com

2. Room Decor- The fireplace mantle is an extension of your room decor.  Look around at what colors, themes you have going on and add a splash of it to the mantle.

  • The mantle is also a fun place to add that pop of color that you’re wanting to use to accent your room.  If your room decor is neutral, use your mantle to add a splash of tangerine tango with a small vase or painting with that color.
  • You can spray paint vases or other decor a solid color to add that punch of color you’re wanting.

3. Create a Focal Point- Whether it’s small or large this will help you as you place the rest of the objects around it. You can use a mirror, wreath, clock, artwork or flower arrangement, candles, vases as your focal point. 

image via theinspiredroom.net

  • Try placing it against the fireplace first, instead of hanging it and see how that looks.
  •  It doesn’t have to be in the center it can be slightly off. Remember the rule of thirds in art and photography.
  • If your focal point is a piece of artwork, mirror, pictures, clock…… make sure that it’s in proportion to your fireplace. If needed add more of whatever you’re using to make it look balanced.

via 4.bp.blogspot.com

4. Placing items: Once you decide your theme, start playing around with the placement of your items. 

via salsapie.blogspot.com

  • Height variation is important: Find items that are different heights.
  • Have one item that is twice the size or appears bigger than the rest of your items.
  • Use clusters of three either all the same height or different. Cluster them, stagger them or layer them.  Play around and see what looks best.
  • If you’re going to line up items that are all the same size make sure  you have another item like a large mirror, clock or artwork in the background that is twice the size or placed so it looks larger than your smaller items.
  • Staggering/Layering: Place items in front of each other or stagger them to give your mantle a balanced look.
  • Odd not even. Accessories used in odds always looks better. I remember someone in the floral business sharing the same tip with me.

via flickr-i love four logs

5. Use items around your house:

  • Vintage books.  Bowls.  Vases.  Family photos. Wine bottles. Candles. Vases filled with fruit, nature or candles.   Endless options!
  • Use books or a turned over bowl to add height. Place a vase or small clock on top of a set of books.

via flickr-farm3static

Our mantle! Notice the odd shape we had to work with.  In the first picture the candles and vase are clustered and in the second picture they are slightly staggered.  I prefer the clustered look.

Finally, changing up a mantle for the holidays is easy, you don’t have to redo the whole thing to get a seasonal look in seconds.  One or two seasonal items added to the mantle quickly transforms it giving it a festive feel.  I am not a banner/wreath girl but I have seen lots of cute mantles changed up for the season with an Easter banner or Valentines wreath.

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14 Responses to “5 Helpful Mantle DecorTips”

  1. February 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Very helpful tips. Thanks for sharing.

  2. February 21, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing and the pictures are beautiful!

  3. February 21, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Thanks for all the tips they will be a great help as I’m not to good at arranging vignettes or mantels. Have a great week.

  4. February 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    This is so helpful! My husband tends to not be a fan of decor on the mantle, but it’s so bland when it’s naked 😉

  5. February 22, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    Good information! Very helpful! It is good to hear you don’t have to clear and rebuild the mantle decor with each holiday…just add seasonal pieces! I would love to have you share this info at my party…going on now!

  6. February 22, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    Thanks for the helpful ideas. I don’t have a mantel but I do have a huge armoir in my living room and I am always at a loss what to do with it. I Like that you don’t clear and redecorate your mantel for every season or minor holiday and rather just add one or two seasonal pieces.

  7. February 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Great ideas! I don’t have a mantle, but I do have some taller shelves that the same rules would apply to. Thanks for the tips!

  8. February 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    I wish I had a fireplace so I could actually use these tips! lol But they are great ideas!
    Thanks for linking up to this week’s Catch a Glimpse Party! I’ll be featuring this tomorrow!

  9. February 24, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! I found you on Uncommonly Yours blog hop page and have liked you on facebook and would love for you to stop by my blog hop page too! Thanks so much and have a great weekend. http://fireplacedecorating.blogspot.com/

  10. Anonymous
    February 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    I need all the deco help I can get, thanks for the tips!!

  11. February 27, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    Great idea’s and tips for the mantle. My favorite is the first with the mirror and the glass jars. I also really like the welcome autumn display.


  12. November 14, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    Love the Christmas mantle! I just pinned. 🙂


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