Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mantel Mania

I love shopping for furniture, fabric, pillows and rugs. Often my nemesis is the finer tuned details that give a room depth and texture. For a long time, I felt like my fireplace mantel was one of those areas that just wasn't coming together the way I envisioned it. I started cruising magazines and online photos of mantels and there seemed to be a few elements to mantel styling to create a unified and eye-pleasing mantel-scape: A large centerpiece, symmetry/continuity, varying heights and layering.

Our house has a vintage 1920s fireplace mantel that we found at a reclaim store in town. It was covered in about three layers of paint and our intention was to strip it and repaint it the same color as our trim and cabinets. To our surprise, the tiger striping and color of the wood was too beautiful to repaint, so we had it clear coated and left the wood natural.

Since the mantel is traditional with a lot of detail, I wanted to create a mantel-scape that was simple so as not to compete with it.

Here's how I incorporated the basic elements of mantel styling into my own:
1. A large centerpiece. This can be a picture or a mirror that grounds the space above the mantel. Although mine is relatively high, my ceilings are also high, so I needed a centerpiece to help keep the eye focused on the space. Since the top part of my mantel has a built-in mirror, I chose a picture.

2. Symmetry and/or continuity of decor. I used topiaries at either end of the mantel to create symmetry. And the layering of white in my decor to create continuity.

3. Varying heights to create movement. I added a vase and a low silver dish for two additional heights. The high to low variation forms a circular movement among the objects and keeps your eye focused.

4. Layering with objects and texture. All the items are staggered behind or in front of one another to give a layered effect and the addition of the floral vines softens the rigid lines of the frame.

Happy 'Scaping! {Erin}


  1. WOW..yeah...the tiger striping is awesome, I totally agree.

  2. what a great job! Its perfect! love your styling.

  3. Erin, it's gorgeous! And ya...that wood is beautiful! Glad you left it!


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