Why are fireplace mantels so darn tricky? They’re easy to overthink—and to over decorate. Kelly wrote to me shortly after Christmas saying she wasn’t quite sure what to do with hers after taking the decorations down.
I love the mirror and would keep the basket on the hearth, but I would take the lanterns away. The black feels a little heavy. (I would work them in somewhere else in the room, if possible…)
I think simple is the best policy when it comes to mantel decorating. I don’t necessarily love exact symmetry but it does look better if both sides are balanced. Working from the left of the mantel, I’d start with a grouping of blue and white vases. She mentioned that she already has some other touches of blue in the room (see the artwork below) so this would be another way to repeat the color. You don’t necessarily have to have that many vases but I’d go for an odd number. She could add a branch of greenery (fresh or faux) to one of the vases for some height and color.
To the right of the mirror, I would layer and lean a couple of pieces of art. I found another print to bring in more blue and would balance it out with something more neutral (like the piece I suggested below or a framed black and white photograph). Since the art is bigger and visually heavier than the vases, I’d put them on the right side to balance out the weight of the chair to the left of the fireplace.
I love this series. Thanks for taking the time to walk your readers through WHY you would take away some items, and why you would add the things you would add – I find it really helpful, and I hope you keep this series up!
I love this give & take series, Emily. I can always find something of value to help me out in my own home.
the gardeners cottage says
thanks emily. what a pretty room to start with! i love her drapes and bamboo blind. do you think the bamboo blind should be moved up, out of the window? i know everyone says you should but i think hers look great like that. i have the same issue in my house so i would love your opinion. thanks e. xo janet
Emily Clark says
I think hers look great, too. I have mind inside mounted, as well. I think it all depends on the look you like–and how tall your ceilings are…
I was going to suggest raising the blind so that the top of it is in line with the curtain rod and the bulk of the blind sits atop the window. I think that will raise the height of the ceiling and provide more light into the room. It looks somewhat out of place to me to have the curtain and blind at different heights. Love the natural blind with the neutral curtains though.
Kelly Gates says
Hi! Thanks for the kind words! These are actually the same bamboo blinds Emily has and blogged about a while back. I love them! I debated the inside mount verses mounting them higher and ultimately did the inside. It’s a tough call though – I feel like it would work either way?
laurie @ laurie jones home says
Love the white and blue vases from West Elm! Like everyone else I love this series! I think no it’s always a great idea to have another person look things over and offer their eyes and fresh perspective to it! Would love to see the after!
The black lanterns might look good on the right…one on the right edge of the hearth and the other next to it on the floor.
Kelly Gates says
Emily! Thank you so much for featuring my living room and for the wonderful ideas!! I’ll be implementing these ideas asap and will share my after photos. Thanks again – I just love this series!
I never would have taken the weight of the chair into consideration. That’s so smart! We always learn from you.
I love your ideas for the fireplace but the mirror looks too small on the wall and with the bottom heavy hearth. It also only reflect the ceiling.Try adding a rectangular shape picture which would add balance and interest.
Alice BRowder says
This is so timely for me. I have been considering hanging lanterns on either side of my TV over fireplace. That situation is even trickier. I recently added a French door to a new deck so all my bamboo blinds are off at the present. Should I put them back up? Should I go with some small blue and white or just nothing in my situation. My husband is angling to not rehang the blinds…liking the clean look. What do you think?
Going to balance out my mantle right now. For some reason I have the same type of armchair on the left, a vase on the left mantle and nada on the right. Why?! Thanks :)
I really love this series! Such great recommendations and explanations.
I have to admit though, I cringe a little when people talk about leaning artwork. I’ve had THREE photos fall and smash — the photos and frames damaged, and glass everywhere. No one was in the room each time it happened (and we even checked to make sure the mantel is level!)
It’s not a safe solution — for anyone who might be under the art, or for the art!!
Do you have any advice for those of us (me) who do not have a fireplace/mantle? I never know how to arrange my sofa/seating in my living room. Sofa usually ends up on the one long wall with some kind of art hung above it and facing the only window in the area. It works, but seems very blah. Thoughts?