Monday, March 25, 2013

How To Decorate A Mantel

Fireplace Mantels are usually the focal point of any room, which for a lot of folks presents a big challenge with decorating them. As a designer, I have gone into many homes and have seen that people have just given up when it comes to decorating their mantels. They are aware that it is a place reserved for items that have special meaning or sentimental value - like family photos and awards etc. What they don't seem to know is that it doesn't have to be every special item they own. Choose a few items that are absolutely special, and are conversation pieces to display - editing  will be your best friend. There are some simple ways to get your mantel looking fabulous and still display the most special pieces you want to showcase. These examples also apply to decorating your mantel seasonally. Depending on your decorating style, you may like clean and simple (contemporary or transitional) or you may like a layered look (traditional). See the examples below and see which would work best in your home.

This sketch simply shows how best to hang art above a mantel. Keep in mind that scale, balance, proportion and symmetry is key to an uncluttered look, so choose the size of your artwork carefully.

In this sketch, we are going for a layered effect. This is great for a more traditional look.
Here are a few tips to follow if you like this look

1. Start with one big piece that is centered- example above is the large mirror in the background
2. Create movement - example above would be the candlesticks. They are similar objects but varied heights
3. Add visual weight - example above would be the ginger jar. It is large and visually heavier than the other pieces
4. Layer art and photos - Vary the sizes and heights
5. Add accessories of varying heights - example above are the wooden boxes behind the ginger jar

In this sketch we are going for a grid layout of the art on the wall. this look is appropriate in contemporary or transitional decor. If you like this look, keep in mind that you will need to keep the objects on the mantle fairly clean and simple. Don't add too many layers. Here we just added a couple of ginger jars. Varying the sizes is very important to add movement. We also added a wooden box in the center to anchor the art work, otherwise they will seem to visually float on the wall. And finally we added a floral arrangement - faux orchids work very well for this purpose. They are clean and simple and a good quality faux arrangement looks very real.

In this sketch, we are going for a cleaner look as well....not alot of layering. Here we added a mirror, hung horizontally and a smaller round mirror for visual appeal. Then we added a small box and a faux floral arrangement.

In this sketch, we are going for a salon style of hanging art and photos. This is a great look for an eclectic, traditional or shabby chic decor. Salon style should have a "collected" feel and very casual. There should be various heights, sizes, frames and finishes to make this look authentic. It should still have order and symmetry. Not much else is needed on the mantel with this look.

A lot of folks like to use family pictures on their mantels, which is great, as long as you vary the sizes and add other objects. Limit the pictures to just a few. Pictures can be framed and hung above the mantel if you must display them all

Sketches done using Dream Draper

Here are a few examples taken from various sources on the internet

The decorating of your mantel should represent your style, so go with what you love and things you enjoy looking at all the time.

Here are some fun accessories that are definitely mantel worthy.

Hope you have been inspired to take on this challenge. If all else fails, then contact us and we can help you get your mantel model home ready at Casa Vilora Interiors
Be inspired,
Veronica Solomon, IDS, CID

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