It has become increasingly popular to make updates to a homeowner’s fireplace. Fireplaces are commonly the focal point of most rooms that they are in, making it important to grab the attention of visitors. Just the same, it is important that you love the space you are in and are proud of how it is presented. With that said, I wanted to share some tips on how to style your mantel like a pro and be proud of the space you created.

The Anchor

The term in the decorating world is commonly used as the “Anchor”, and usually refers to the largest piece that grounds the space. This piece can be a mirror, artwork, or large artifact –  whichever you decide will set the tone for the rest of the pieces surrounding it. If you are going for a more relaxed look try leaning the piece rather than mounting it on the wall. The width of the piece should be no more than about two-thirds of the mantel. A good rule of thumb is to start with the width, then play with the height based on your ceilings.

Asymmetry

Call me crazy, but I love asymmetrical arrangements. The “too perfect” look of symmetry on a mantel lacks visual interest in my opinion. I think making sure you balance the two sides of the mantel is absolutely key, but just because you have a vase with flowers on one side, doesn’t mean you need to mirror it on the other.

Contrast

It’s important to make sure you have variants in shapes, size and colour on your mantel. You can absolutely use multiple picture frames or candle holders but go for ones that have different sizes or textures. By having this contrast, it carries the eye across the entire display and gives the mantel lots of visual interest.

Less is More

Keep things simple and relaxed. A few key pieces with interesting shapes and textures will go over a lot better than a mantel that is too cluttered. 3 larger pieces will look much nicer than multiple small pieces.

Elevate

If you do decide to have some smaller pieces, try placing them on top of a stack of books or decorative boxes, creating a new element of height rather than everything sitting at one level. It will help make the look refined and less cluttered.

“When styling a mantel or hard surface, my number one styling tip is to always make sure there are carrying heights to add visual interest. Starting off with a tall large item, some greenery and some books is key into styling a beautiful mantel”

Laneagh Shanhan, Decorator at Courtney Turk Interiors

Layers

Place items in front of other items. Use the entire depth of the mantel when possible. Placing picture frames stacked with greenery or candle holders in front still allows you to see the image behind, but softens the approach.

Greenery

I mean, do I even need to say it. I think everyone knows I am all about the greenery by now in just about any space. There is something so calming about bringing the outside in whenever possible. It can be dried flowers, a cascading plant or as simple as a single stem flower or clipping from another plant. By adding greenery it gives the space some literal life and in my opinion is a must.