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