Global Traditional Design

From top left: 1)  chair  2)  couch  3)  sconce  4)  lamp  5)  stool  6)  rug  7) rocking chair (craigslist) 8)  kilim pillow  9)  cream pillow  

From top left: 1) chair 2) couch 3) sconce 4) lamp 5) stool 6) rug 7) rocking chair (craigslist) 8) kilim pillow 9) cream pillow 

I am working with a delightful client on giving her living room a makeover. She has traveled extensively and brought back some wonderful art and treasures from her travels. Her aesthetic is a bit traditional and so we are bringing in some of those elements through the furnishings. 

She lives in a very typical Chicago apartment that has multiple doors opening off the room, which always makes furniture placement...challenging. I am changing her current layout, but until we get the furniture in the room and test it out I am not sure it will work. On paper it looks good but sometimes what you draw out doesn't work in real life! 

I'll be instagramming the process if you are interested in following along. 

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How to style a traditional romantic mantel

The look I was going for with this fireplace mantel was traditional romantic. I think I hit the traditional note by bringing in the vintage German clock along with the silver pitcher full of flowers. Below is a time lapse of the process. 

We always see these picture perfect images in magazines, but styling something takes a little bit of time and, well, futzing around. 

First I grabbed the piece that I knew I wanted to be the centerpiece of this mantel design. You want something that is a bit bold and has some height and weight to it. That was this stunning Rolf Armstrong print titled thinking of you from 1929. It's available here in the shop if you are interested. 

Next I paired it with this really cool hand made butterfly tray on silk fabric. I added a silver pitcher filled with flowers. 


The tray felt a little like it was competing with the Rolf Armstrong print so I moved that and substituted it with this stunning reverse painted vintage mirror

Since the right hand side was looking a little empty, I added this fabulous silver plated candelabra (it's not just a candle holder, it's fancy- hence a candelabra!). I also put a small lotus candle holder. Which looks a bit twee against the ornate candelabra. 

Since I wasn't sold on the candelabra, I switched it out for this amazing German clock. At this point I kind of like how it looks, but I am still not at 100%. 

Same items, but swapped around, and still not there. 

The clock needed height to combat with the height of the flowers and so I put it on top of some of my favorite books. I love the balance and composition but I felt like the lotus flower candle holder was getting a little lost because the color tone was so similar to the color of the mat of the painting.

Et voila! I switched out the candle holder for this beautiful hand made Tibetan prayer wheel

  • First start with something large and bold that will have an impact. 
  • Next start layering items that complement your centerpiece. In this styling I had a theme and all of the items fit within that theme. 
  • You will notice that there is a certain symmetry to this styling, but it isn't perfect. Our eye is drawn to symmetry, but I think when it is too equal then it starts too feel too formal and staid. 
  • Use books to add height to items
  • Add things to your mantel that you love and want to display
  • Play with it. It some times takes me days of moving stuff around to finally decide I'm done. 

If you are looking for more styling inspiration take a look here

P.S. Everything that is hyper linked is available in the shop

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