The fireplace has become a common focus during the colder, darker months of the year, for obvious reasons. But aside from the physical warmth it brings, the fireplace also acts as an anchor for the room; a natural focus of furniture arrangements, a gathering place for family and friends, and gracious host to our favourite “feature” pieces, such as art, framed photographs and cherished collections.
Here are three simple fireplace mantel styling tips to keep this hot spot the centre of all attention, for all the right reasons, regardless of the season.
Focus on composition. Resist the urge to line up your mantel accessories in a neat little row. Choose a variety of objects of varying heights, shapes and materials, such as photos, books and sculptural pieces, like vases, pottery and candles. Create a “landscape,” aiming to achieve some symmetry, with the tallest items arranged toward the centre of the mantel or balanced at both ends.
Add art. The fireplace often becomes a landing place for the television. Makes sense, since the furniture is already conveniently arranged around it, right? Wrong! The fireplace itself is a strong focal point, so why would you place another, competing focal point right above it? Find another home for the TV, and consider accessorizing it with some artwork instead. Choose something that complements the space and the fireplace itself, in terms of subject, size and colour. A more-neutral addition is a beautifully framed mirror. Your selection can either be mounted above the fireplace, or placed on the mantel, leaned up against the wall behind it.
Go green. Plants add life, warmth and visual interest to a room. Take full advantage of the season and choose locally available plants, such as cedar boughs during the winter months and fresh flowers or leafy greens during the spring and summer seasons. Fresh-cut flowers are a wonderful addition on special occasions, but for everyday décor, consider placing a potted plant, which will obviously last much longer with a little regular watering and the right light. If your fireplace lacks natural light, or if you lack a green thumb, there are some fabulous fakes out there that will do the trick.
Sparkle and shine. Finish your fireplace mantel with a string of white lights or lit candles – never left unattended, of course. If illumination is your focus, amp it up with a mirror placed in the background, or high-polished chrome finishes to reflect the light.
Finally, be selective with your décor. Remember, the mantel is a relatively small area. As you employ your styling strategies, take a step back periodically throughout the process and view your display from across the room. Assess the scale and balance of your pieces, and the overall look and feel you’re creating. Then, sit back and enjoy the view.
Toronto-based, award-winning Interior Stylist, Red Barrinuevo is an Interior Decorator and Principal of Redesign4more, servicing clients in Toronto and the GTA. The firm’s known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through its creative home staging, interior styling services, and design services. www.redesign4more.com.