Aside from the holidays, when you might decorate your fireplace mantel with garland and hang stockings during the Christmas season—or during Thanksgiving, when you might adorn your mantel with seasonal crafts, the shelf above your fireplace is an opportunity to reflect your everyday design style.
If you want to dress-up your bland mantel, but aren’t quite sure about how to stoke your design style, consider these three tips that are sure to fan the flames of your creativity.
Anchor and Balance Your Mantel
Choose one large piece to sit atop your mantel as its focal point and anchor. This may be a favorite painting, a large mirror, or a piece of framed art. Next, focus on smaller pieces to situate around your focal point. This might be small accessories, or things like candlesticks, or vases.
Although visual symmetry on either side of your mantel’s focal point may be your natural inclination, symmetry in this way can oftentimes come across as overly thought, or forced. Instead, balance things out on either side using different items for a more organic, unstudied appearance.
For instance, consider placing a vase on one side of a mirror and candlesticks on the other side—balance without symmetry. Or, a small grouping of accessories on one end, and a vase on the opposite side.
While we’re talking about balance without symmetry, consider that when decorating—in most instances—odd numbers are the name and the game. Think about the numbers three and five. Groupings in either of these sizes (depending on the space) can make your items appear more like a curated collection, and less like a set.
Look to Nature for Inspiration
When decorating your mantel don’t forget to look to nature for inspiration and consider incorporating outdoor elements like greenery, fresh flowers, stems, and other flora, to complement your designs.