How To Style a Fireplace Mantel

I made my first GIF and then I watched it for hours (ok maybe just minutes, but I was completely entranced). 

My living room mantel has been changed up a couple of times over the years. Yet, there are a few things that remain constant (unlike the guy who didn't call when he said he would). The mosaic vase that was made by my great-grandmother, the radio that my grandfather used to listen to in the garage and his camera always find their way back to the mantel. 

This is what it looked like recently-

It just felt kind of crowded. So I removed everything and started over. I'm being a bit disingenuous because that piece of art was always going back on the mantel! 

My mantel is pretty darn big so it needed a big piece of art to anchor it. My friend Doug Birkenheuer is a brilliant photographer and he made this amazing piece of art for me (those are my vintage cameras). 


Next I started adding the things back, but kind of mixing them around. 

When styling a mantel, coffee table or bookshelf you want to group things by odd numbers (1, 3, or 5). It's usually best to have one item that is kind of the statement piece- in this instance it is the lamp on the right side and the vase on the left. They are both a bit taller and have some impact. I also like to add a plant to whatever spot I am styling. 

While the image above was good, it still didn't feel quite right. I mixed things up as you can see below, but the left side felt too heavy. 

It still felt too busy. So, I cleared off everything on the right and in it's place I put a plant. It's still growing so it will fill in that space quite nicely. Right now it seems a bit unbalanced because the left hand side has more stuff. Overall though it feels like the art has a little bit more room to breath. 

So, here is what I would recommend you do:

Run around the house and find pretty things for your mantel. Don't feel like you need to go out and get something special. 

Find something to anchor the space. It's going to be the thing that is the center of attention and your eye will immediately be drawn to it. In this instance it is the art. It doesn't have to be art. It could easily be a vase, a plant, or a candle stick holder. Just make it the biggest and flashiest thing you can find. 

Group things by 1, 3 or 5. It's the golden rule of styling. 

Vary things by height. In this instance the vase is nice an tall and then the radio and camera step down from there. 

Add some nature. Adding some greenery always makes a space feel awesome. Plus it provides you with clean natural oxygen (as opposed to unnatural oxygen-I think I need a nap!!). 

Keep an eye out because over the next couple of weeks I am going to be restyling the mantel in a couple of different ways. 

Show me your mantel!! 



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