Hot Tips for Styling up Your Fireplace Mantel

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Fireplace mantels provide an ideal focal point in a room, but in many homes this results in a missed opportunity.

Instead, the mantel becomes a dusty shelf covered with family photos and knickknacks.

Sometimes when a certain area of the house has looked the same for a long time, we get used to it.

We don’t stop to think of what it could be.

The best way to begin a new creation is with a blank canvas.

Clean everything off the mantle and dust off the cobwebs.

Here are some tips for deciding what gets displayed and how.

Try leaning pieces of art and/or mirrors on the mantle as opposed to hanging them.

Put the largest piece up first, slightly off center, and overlap the other pieces gradually.

This gives the effect that you added them randomly through the years.

If you want to hang above a mantle, create a wallpaper effect by hanging a number of nearly identical pieces in a grid like fashion.

They should start just above the shelf and go almost up to the ceiling.

Black and white photographs in the same style or by the same artist give a bold and dramatic effect.

If you’re hanging a simple painting or mirror above a fireplace, always include a sculpture or a 2-dimensional piece of art on the shelf to add interest.

Display collections by grouping them with other similar colors or themes.

For example, a collection of bottles or a display of all white vases varying in shapes and sizes.

Combining too many mediums will create a cluttered effect; as would a large collection of small ornaments.

Try an absence of decor for a totally different approach.

Paint the wall behind the fireplace a bold color, and let that become your focal paint.

Place a simple vase or a cluster of tea lights on the mantel.

The classic use of candles for decorating a mantel never goes out of style.

Make it interesting by creating a variety of heights and sizes; for example, try balancing a tall vase on one end with a small candle grouping on the other.

A tiered arrangement also provides visual interest, lit or unlit.

A simple version is to display glass blocks, stacking them at varying heights and directions, and then place simple votive candles on the blocks.

Eye catching floral displays whether silk or real, with a showy vase create a stunning focal point on a mantel.

Try combining different textures or styles for a varied look.

Decorating a modern fireplace with antique accents can be very dramatic.

If you find yourself stumped, try using the “Three Plus One” decorating trick.

Choose three objects that share a common theme or color.

For a rec room you may choose a framed sports print and some beer steins.

For a beach home, you may consider some coral, seashells or a model ship.

Whatever you choose, it should fit the theme of the room and reflect your interests.

Line them up in an interesting way, perhaps bringing one forward or overlapping them slightly.

Leave a bit of space after the last object so that you have some space at the end of the mantel.

Next, select one larger object, generally at least double the size of your three objects, placing it at the other end of the shelf.

It should have something in common with the other items; a common theme or color.

When it comes to decorating, don’t get discouraged; you may not know exactly what the finished product will look like, but the important thing is trying lots of different approaches, and then suddenly you’ll find the look that fits.