There are a few questions I receive on a pretty regular basis…how do I decorate my mantel…almost always tops the list. Mantels can be tricky. I’ve seen some with the tv mounted on top. Others that feature a mirror which reflects the light coming through the windows and sometimes the ceiling fan too. I’ve seen mantels that are off set and the trouble they can create by not being centered in the room. Whatever the situation you’re facing with the mantels in your spaces right now, here are a few tips to help you not only create a mantel for summer but for the upcoming seasons as well.
Step One – start with a focal point. This summer, I’m looking for simple sophistication using layers of texture, favorite collections, southern plants like magnolias and neutral colors throughout. I have a serious love affair with all things equestrian and made this “Best in Show” sign from scrap wood framed with tobacco sticks a few weeks ago. Your focal point should take up a good portion of the mantel. This mantel is about 87 inches long and the “Best in Show” sign is about 36 inches. A good rule of thumb is to divide your mantel idea into thirds. Your focal point should be at a minimum no less than one third the length of your mantel but no more than two thirds the length of your mantel.
Step Two – group your favorite collections together on one end of the mantel. I’ve been picking up tarnished trophies here and there for the past few years. They’re not always easy to find so when I find them it feels like such a treasure. Your favorite collection will take up approximately one third of your mantel.
Step Three – balance out the other end of your mantel with at least one piece from your favorite collection as well as statement pieces or seasonal items. I found this vintage horse trophy for my mom a few years ago at Scott’s Antique Market in Atlanta. This vignette also takes up approximately one third of the mantel.
Step Four – take a few steps back and look at your mantel in its entirety. Vary the height of your collected pieces by using old books, weathered pieces of wood or branches. This will keep the mantel from looking too symmetrical and will also help to add a bit of texture.
Step Five – add a bit of nature with flowers, branches, shells, sea glass or moss. You can shop your yard for flowers or branches (just make sure to rinse well and check for critters prior to bringing them indoors), the local farmers market or the grocery store. Placing these items in your favorite collected containers is another great way to add texture to the mantel.
Decorating the mantel as an extension of your living spaces will help to bring a cohesive feel to your room. No matter what you love be it horses, sand dollars or abstract art there’s a place for those items in your home. Keep trying different vignettes until you’ve created a look you’re excited about. Before long, you’ll have a mantel that feels welcoming and inviting.
Want more summer mantel ideas? Check out these past posts…