Want to have a fireplace mantel that looks beautiful? Think you just don’t have an eye for decorating? In this post I’m give you easy styling tips anyone can follow to decorate your mantel and give it a more professional look.
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Decorating a Fireplace Mantel, are There Rules?
We think of fireplaces as beautiful, formal things. So does that mean there are hard fast rules for decorating your mantel? Can you do it wrong? Do you have to be a professional decorator to have a mantel that looks good?
No! You will find no hard-fast rules in this post. Here, at We Three Shane’s, we don’t think there is such a thing as perfect decorating. But, we would like to give you some tips to help you feel comfortable decorating your mantel so it reflects you and your style, but still looks like a million bucks.
A Centerpiece for Your Mantel
The first thing you will need to start decorating your mantel is a neutral centerpiece. This could be a:
- Piece of art
- Family photo
- Even a television
You want something neutral so that you can change the decor around your centerpiece with the seasons. In my house we used a large black round mirror. Find a similar one HERE. Your centerpiece is usually your biggest, most expensive piece, so constantly needing to change it would get expensive.
Besides being neutral, you want this piece to be the correct scale. There is no set rule for this, but if you have a 50 inch mantel, you don’t want a 70 inch television above it. You always want the fireplace to be the main attraction. Your centerpiece should enhance it, not overpower it.
If you are going with something like a television or large piece of art, make sure it doesn’t exceed the dimensions of the mantel itself. If you are hanging a more square piece of art, clock, or mirror, it should be about the width of your firebox.
Mantel Decorating Symmetry; a Weighty Issue
Your second step while decorating your mantel should be to balance the weight on both sides of your centerpiece. This does not mean both sides have to be exactly symmetrical. It just means the items towards the outside of your design, on each side of the mantel, should have a similar weight to your eye.
For example, if you have a taller item on one side, you shouldn’t have only shorter items on the other. Or if you have a larger piece for only one side, you would want to use multiple pieces on the other side to make up for the weight of that one larger piece.
Hopefully, you can see the balance in the photo above. The heavy, fall blocks take up a lot of space on one side of the mantel so I need to balance that out with multiple items on the opposite side. If I only had a small pumpkin and one candle on the other side, the proportions wouldn’t be right and things would look off.
Sometimes, you may want one larger item in front of your centerpiece. If you do that, then you would want to make sure you put items on either side that are shorter and have symmetrical weight to them.
Balancing the weight of your mantel decor is pleasing to the eye, which gives it a more polished, professional look. Both fall fireplace mantels look good! It’s not the items but the balance that makes them both work so well.
Fireplace Mantel Fillers, Personal Style and General Decorating
Last, but not least, is the filler pieces. Once you have the centerpiece and symmetry down, you need to decide if your mantel needs fillers.
Some people prefer a really full mantel and like to add garland, signs, banners, or just more stuff. This is up to personal style.
Other people prefer a more minimalist look. A centerpiece and some symmetry is all that’s required. You need to find what fits you and your house best.
How to Decorate Your Mantel
One last, general rule to keep in mind with most decorating is The Rule of 3. Groupings in odd numbers look more pleasing to the eye.
This rule isn’t just for mantles either. It can help you decorate other tricky areas around your house like bookshelves and counter tops. If you want to learn more about that and see examples you can click HERE.
Here’s a quick look at my Christmas mantel. See if you can spot the rules in use!
These tips and tricks are straight forward and easy to put into practice. Just remember:
- Have a neutral centerpiece
- Balance the weight
- Filler pieces add personal flare
Give these rules a try, and do your own Autumn mantel design today! We know you can give your mantel that professional look you’ve always wanted. Here are a couple other decor item ideas that will look great on a mantle!