The fireplace mantel is often the centerpiece of any room it inhabits and should be treated like the star it is. Walking in to a home with a beautifully decorated mantel always makes me think, “These people love and care for their home.” If it’s done really well, I often drool a little and drive home inspired to change-up my own mantel display. A well designed mantel also sets the tone, whether it be contemporary, country, minimalist, modern, or shabby chic and let’s the visitors know what they can expect from the rest of the home. Lastly, a mantel sets the mood, be it festive, tranquil, energetic, creepy, or happy. Bottom line, your mantel deserves some love and attention and here are 5 tips to making that happen
Gather a collection of like items that correspond to a theme. It could be a color theme, a holiday theme, a beach theme, vacation theme, candlestick theme, football theme, whatever. The options are endless. Grab whatever you can find. You may not use all of the items, but it will get those creative juices flowing and will give you plenty of options to work with. For the beach mantel, I walked around the inside and outside of my house and collected any item that made me think of the beach. Shells, rocks, sand, bamboo, pictures, boxes, and even a ukulele. For the #MayMantel the theme was spring yellow, green, and a dash of silver. Easter’s mantel was… well Easter. You get the idea.
Use a large object as a focal point. The pallet wall mount with the seashell wreath is this mantel’s focal point. You could use a large piece of art, a mirror, a deer head, whatever floats your boat. Just make it large and in charge.
Work in odd numbers. Mother Nature celebrates uniqueness, one of a kindness, and odd groupings. You rarely see identical pairs in nature and when you do, they stand out. To make your mantel appear natural and less contrived, take nature’s lead. I love to work in groups of 3 and 5, with a 1 thrown in for variety. In this month’s mantel you will find a 3 starfish, 3 glass vessels, 3 bamboo sticks, 5 conch shells, 5 rocks, 5 shell necklaces, 1 vase, 1 picture frame, 1 box, and 1 ukulele. Now, I am not saying you can’t place a pair of candlesticks on your mantel, that would look quite lovely. What you want to avoid is using ONLY pairs to decorate the space. Also, don’t limit yourself to making groups of the same object together. Mix your treasures up! I paired 2 starfish with 1 vase for a lovely grouping of 3. The ukulele, box, vessel of sand, coconut shell, and funky rock make a grouping of 5.
Vary the height of objects. Having everything lined up in a straight row is rather boring, and again, not how nature works. When you vary the height of objects it forces your eye to dance up and down, creating interest, flow and movement. At first, the 3 bamboo sticks in the candle holder were the same size. Nice, but not very interesting. After cutting the bamboo to different heights, the candle now pops and leads your eye upwards. The same went for the ukulele and other items below the seashell wreath. All lined up they looked ho-hum, but by adding a box and a coconut shell, the display now makes your gaze dance across the mantel.
Add layers. Layering your items creates depth and keep your eyes skipping across the display. After the large items were in place, the smaller shells, rocks and necklaces were added in random groupings and depths. It adds the finishing touch to a charming arrangement.
Creating a cohesive design takes time and practice. I work and rework each mantel until I am exasperated, and sometimes, I am still not satisfied. Other times, it’s super easy and extremely gratifying. Hopefully, following the 5 tips I have suggested will make the whole process much smoother for you. Happy mantel arranging!