Thursday, November 11, 2010

"What Were They Thinking Thursday!!??" - Mantel Mistakes

If you have a fireplace in your home, chances are pretty high that you have a mantel above it. The fireplace should be the focal point of the room, right? Well great, what I am supposed to put on the mantel since it is going to be the center of attention!

Don't fret, I am going to show you some really easy options but first, let's see some mantels that fall short. 

First: Not too Bare

This is already a low mantle and putting these small accessories makes it look even squattyier (is that a word?). What would look great is a large piece of art or a mirror to fill up that wall and give the room some height.

Again, all of these little items are dwarfed on the mantel. This needs a piece or art or something larger in the middle and then have everything else move to the sides in groups. Don't space everything out so evenly when decorating your mantel. It can look stiff and unnatural.

Get rid of fake stuff on top of that ceiling shelf and put something nice in that niche.

Second: Not too cluttered!

The mantel is not meant to be a dumping ground! Don't just fill it up with stuff that you don't have a place for. If you don't have anywhere for it to go, you probably need to just get rid of it.

Rule 3: Not too matchy (however there are exceptions I will show later)

Pick a couple important family pictures and then mix with other things. 

This just breaks all the rules. Those plants have hooks for a reason, they are supposed to be hanging outside!

Rule 4: Correct placement

This art needs to be hung a bit higher and rearranged.

The Picture is too small for this layout. Needs something else hanging and lose the clock.

Love everything about this mantel except for the TV. What were they thinking?! This room is beautiful and elegant and the thin candlesticks look perfect and light sitting atop the intricately carved mantel. And then you see this TV, with a speaker sitting on top of it!  And it's hung too hight for viewing.

By now you are probably wanting to see some good examples! This is not just a mantel condemnation but we really want to help you improve your home so here are some tips.

Easy things to put on a mantel:

A mirror

Mirrors look great over the mantel and there are so many different kinds that they can be incorporated into any style of room.

For a more casual room, simply lean a mirror up against the wall. This is a great idea of taking different vases and candlesticks that are all one color.

Important tip: when mixing things on your mantel, it's important to have things at different heights to create interest. A great way to add some height is by stacking books and placing a vase or candle on top. See above

For a more traditional look, pick a framed mirror that is more elegant and hang on the wall above mantel. Flank both sides of mirror with candle sticks, sconces or lamps like above.

Beautiful traditional mantel but the three white footed bowls in the middle play it up just enough to be unique and not too typical.

For a more eclectic look try a starburst mirror

Again notice the pretty vases that are all white.

Love this mantel! Very typical layout with mirror in center and candlesticks on both sides but then check out those red lips right in the center! Don't be afraid to have some fun with your mantel. It is the focal point of the room and it should reflect your personality.

Shabby Chic Mantel. Simple but beautiful.

Second easy thing to put on mantel:

A clock

A large clock looks great over a mantel.

Third easy thing to put above mantel


One large piece of art over the mantel with some accessories on the sides

This is absolutely beautiful. So calming and elegant.

A great example of accessorizing.

Simple and perfect.

This art becomes the focal point of the room and the pops of red around the room really compliment the art.

Another great option is an art grouping:

A great example of art layout.

Very pretty and a good example of how evenly spaced items of the same thing look great. The exception to rule 3.

And now a look at some mantels that are more difficult to accomplish without a creative eye. The eclectic and personal style mantels. These will all probably break the rules but for some reason they all work. It has to do with intention and personal style.

A simple, modern fireplace calls for simple accessories.

Breaks the Bare rule but it's fabulous. Just a handful of vases all the same color. Very minimalist. Puts the attention on the fireplace brick work.

This is probably the most creative mantel of the post. I love it! Very artsy and personal.

This breaks a lot of rules. It is soooo cluttered but I love it!

Dining room and kitchen mantels can be very casual or formal depending on the room. You can put some different things on these mantels than your living room mantel.

A plate and these green apples look great on this dining room mantel.

I love the chalkboard and white plates on the kitchen mantel. Very fresh!

This is fun and casual Fits perfect in the casual breakfast room.

I hope this post gives you some ideas for your own mantel. Just remember that the mantel should reflect your personality and the overall feel that you want the space to have. Good luck!!



Katie said...

Wow, you're an ass. Posting someone's personal photos on your site and berating their decorating style AND hot linking to their site?

Katie said...

And, looking at your blog, is your "What were they thinking Thursday" deal really needed? Do you have to poke fun at other people to show what your style preferences are? It looks incredibly unprofessional if you are a professional designer and if not, it just makes you look like a jerk. Plus, style is subjective.

Studio B Designs said...

Katie- we are so sorry that you are upset by this. Some blog entrys are more sarcastic than others. It's just our frustration coming out which is the purpose of the blog. The pictures were just found in cyberspace and unintentional linked ( if they are). We encourage you to disagree and comment freely especially on particular photos or statement that you don't agree with, this encourages us to be open to Someone else's design ideas. There are always exceptions to our opinions and if you like what's on your mantle then that's all the matters. We want our clients to be happy and enjoy their space even if we don't agree with their choices.

Katie said...

Studio B - you really should just refrain from posting personal photos on your blog. Mantel #10 is a friend of mine and she'd be incredibly hurt to see someone mocking her on a website and then to have her family photos be front and center just isn't right. Yes, people take the risk of having someone use their photo if they have a public blog but I would think a business would know how uncouth that is and would display more professionalism than mocking other people. Put yourself on the other side of this and ask if you'd think it was funny to find a family photo of you that was being mocked on the internet. Please just do the right thing and take it down, I'd hate for her to find it and, in the future, be a little more thoughtful and courteous to others. I know it's easy to be cold on the internet but there are still people behind the photos, houses and rooms you are making fun of.

Studio B Designs said...

Absolutely, it's down and we commend you for watching out for your friend. So we can better understand how these pictures are linked. Can you explain how you found it?

Anonymous said...

I just came across this by googling information about mantles and completely agree with Katie. It is in such poor taste to share other people's home photos and making fun of them. Try reading some classy blogs such as Young House Love - they share what to do/what not to do without downgrading other people. I would never read your blog because of this rude, inconsiderate post.

Patty said...

I just wanted to say that I loved this blog. I DID NOT feel like you were putting anyone down, but rather letting us know what your opinion is on a nice mantle. Some of the mantles were so ugly and I agree with what you were saying! I also loved most of the ones you put as correct design mantles. I have a beautiful 100 year home outside Boston and I change my mantles every week....I have 4 big fireplaces which I enjoy decorating and making them the focal point of the rooms they are in.
Thanks for an enjoyable blog about mantles!
Patty P

Anonymous said...

I agree. Very helpful! Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Very Helpful blog! Great ideas (and ones to stay clear of....)

Anonymous said...

No examples of black fireplaces. I'm disappointed!

Anonymous said...

Studio B Design, your blog is helpful AND hilarious - I got a good laugh at "lose the clock" because I have the exact same clock on my mantle and my husband insists it stay so I was looking at ideas to see if I can off center it or something - the woman who called you an ass is rude - keep up the good work!

Post a Comment