Awhile back a friend asked me to write a post on how to decorate a mantel and since I just changed out the Halloween decorations on our mantel for Thanksgiving decor, I thought now would be a good time to show you how I go about decorating our mantel.
First I start by clearing everything off of the mantel so that I am starting with a clean palette. I always keep the mirror and shutters up as a backdrop though.
As with most decorating projects, the key to success it to use layers of varying height and texture.
Step 1: Center one large piece on the mantel, such as a mirror or piece of art.
Make sure the scale of the object you add is appropriate for the size of your fireplace though. You don’t want it to be bigger than your fireplace or to be so small that it doesn’t look balanced.
Step 2: Layer artwork and/or photos of varying heights in front of your large center piece.
When layering accessories in front of your large center piece, keep in mind that your goal is to create a visual triangle with your center piece being the top most point and the sides angling downward. To further illustrate what I mean by ‘visual triangle,’ I created the image below to show how the large center object is the most high point with the accessories on the sides moving your eye downward in a triangular manner.
Step 3: Add in accessories.
I tend to add a few things in at a time and then stand back and judge whether everything looks balanced and to scale. This step usually takes some tweaking and moving things around a few times to get it looking just right. Don’t be afraid to mess around and try different combinations of items.
As you can see in these two pictures, I added some accessories on the left and right sides of the mantel, stepped back to look at it and then decided the left side needed a few things to tie the two sides together, so I added in a few more pine cones and mini pumpkins.
Step 4: Don’t forget the hearth!
To give your fireplace a finished look, be sure to add an anchor item to the hearth area. I like to use baskets or bins here filled with books, pillows, logs, or blankets.Be prepared to create a mess! Our living room usually ends up looking like a bomb went off when I decorate our mantel. I like to get out all of the accessories that I think might look good together and then arrange them on the mantel using a trial and error method. I even dragged in some branches from outside, but I didn’t end up using them.
Here is a look at the inspiration picture I created again, decorated using all objects from Pottery Barn. The items I used aren’t necessarily to scale, but I wanted to give you an idea of how you could group a variety of things together to create a cohesive design.Here’s a look at some of the ways I’ve decorated our mantel in the past. You’ll notice that I use the same elements over and over, just in different arrangements.
Fall Mantel 2011
Hopefully this gives you some tips and inspiration for decorating your own mantel this season!
Linking up to: Chic on a Shoestring