How to style a mantel / fireplace

How was your weekend?
I celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time ever (it's not really a thing in this part of the world) and I'm now quite jealous of people living in the States who get to eat pumpkin pie every year.

Today I thought I'd share what I know about styling a fireplace/mantel based on the one in our living room.

How to style a mantel/fireplace by Amy MacLeod

I'll be honest: our fireplace came to together almost by accident. The mirror ended up on the hearth because it was too heavy for the wall, for example, and I decided I liked it there better anyway. The rest happened over time and was positioned by eye. But everything about it works, so here's a how-to for achieving balance with a fireplace/mantel.

1. Asymmetry - Consider the halfway point

Imagine a line down the centre of the wall and consider what goes on each side. In this case, asymmetry totally worked for us. Some things are close to the centre line, and some further away, but overall each object/cluster on the right side, is weighted by another object/cluster on the right. Think of it like a see-saw.

How to style a mantel/fireplace by Amy MacLeod

2. Mix hard and soft
If you are using a lot of frames on a wall, mix in some soft organic forms. In this case the peonies and rounded jars/vase balance out the geometric squares of the pictures.

How to style a mantel/fireplace by Amy MacLeod

3. Objects high and low
As you can see above, it's not just the wall and mantel that need attention, but also the objects on the hearth. Try putting a collection of pieces around the edges of the fireplace - or if you don't use it for fires, like us, experiment with a painting or patterned grate to cover it.

How to style a mantel/fireplace by Amy MacLeod

4. Horizontal + vertical = balance
One way to achieve balance without symmetry is to group a vertical arrangement on one side (i.e - something tall and skinny like this stack of DVDs and wooden letters) with a horizontal arrangement on the other (like the cross and candles, which are wider than they are high).

5. Rule of threes
I don't believe this is a hard and fast rule, but it's a safe one, and if you are clustering objects then more often than not a group of 3 will look best.

How to style a mantel/fireplace by Amy MacLeod

6. Stand back
No wall is an island - consider it from right back, so you can see it in the context of the whole room. In our case the flower lamp hanging from the ceiling just balances the arrangement out further - score!

How to style a mantel/fireplace by Amy MacLeod

Was that helpful? I realise the blog world goes crazy at Christmas time with 'mantel styling' left right and centre, and maaayybe this year I'll jump on board too (since I actually have a fireplace this time). But I wanted to leave you with something that will work at any time of year. :)

Speaking of which, at this time last year, here's how this fireplace looked:

How to style a mantel/fireplace - BEFORE pic - by Amy MacLeod

Ouch! The very first thing I did (before we moved in) was paint the fireplace with white enamel, and Cal painted that weird grey-green wall a generic cream to match the others. Painting over all of that ugliness was bliss!

Do you have a fireplace you will be playing stylist with this year? Are you a fan of the asymmetrical look, or more into the symmetry? I've seen a lot of both at the moment!

1 comment:

  1. I love the mirror you put in front of the fireplace. It really modernizes it. Sent you an e-mail about featuring you in my series! xo


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