Sunday, July 14, 2013

6 steps to a magnificent mantle

One of the easiest ways to change your space is to change up your mantle.  When we were shopping for a house, a fireplace with a mantle was on my list of "must haves".  Believe it or not, a mantel wasn't easy to find.  Who builds a fireplace without a mantle?  Apparently a lot of people.  If you don't  have a mantle, consider applying the same ideas to a sofa table or sideboard.  You might even want to add a mantle to your fireplace if you don't have one.  Yes, it can be done! Hammers and High Heels has a good tutorial for adding one to your existing space. 

Ready for a quick change?  Try these six easy steps to spruce up your space.

1. Decide on a theme.  This can be a color scheme, a seasonal/holiday design or simply a collection of things you love.  Emma and I love decorating for each, depending our mood.  Right now we have a teal and orange color scheme for summer.  These are two of my favorite colors that just happen to be very trendy this year.  I could care less about trendy, but it does make it easy to find items in these colors. 

2. Shop in and around your house.  I spent a total of $8 on this mantle re-do.  $7 for the mosaic candle holder on clearance at Hobby Lobby (oh how I heart HL!) and $1 at a yard sale for the pussy willow branches.  Everything else I found by "shopping my house".  I snagged things from various rooms to repurpose for the space.   Consider using natural elements.  Go for a walk and see what you can find!

3. Shop resale stores.  Second hand stores and yard sales are awesome places to snag great decorations on the cheap, but you have to shop with a discerning eye.  Look at the POTENTIAL of things rather than seeing them strictly in their current state.  It's amazing what a little elbow grease and spray paint can do. 

4. Start with a focal point.  In this case, our focal point is the painting and everything else is arranged around it.  I also have a large mirror I use for quite a few different arrangements.  Think outside the box on this one.  Kids' art work, old shutters, wreaths, lap quilts, family photos - anything to draw your eye to that spot and anchor the space.

5. Layer, layer, layer. Notice how I have candles in front of the picture, the letter 'S' in front of the branches, etc.  Layering items gives your space depth and keeps your eye moving from one thing to the next.  

6. Play!  This is the fun part. Now that you've shopped your home and collected items to use, begin adding in items one at a time.  If you have two larger items and want a more uniform look you can use them to anchor either side of the mantle, adding smaller items in between.  For this mantle arrangement I've put larger items to the outside. They don't match, but offer the necessary height.  I needed something really tall (we have 20 ft. ceilings in our living room) and the branches were the perfect addition.  

There are no hard and fast rules for this.  OK, maybe if you went to design school there would be rules, but I didn't go to design school and I'm guessing you didn't either.  Add something, step back and look, make changes, repeat.  Go with what makes you happy.  How will you know when you've got it right?  It's that moment when you step back and smile.

Here are a few more mantle spaces to inspire you.  Happy decorating! 


  1. But, but, but!
    It would be so much easier if you would just come over and do it FOR me!!! *wink*

  2. Wouldn't that be fun Karen? I would love it!


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