At a loss as to how to accessorize that large space above your fireplace?
Fireplace mantles are the perfect opportunity to show off objects that have meaning to you in an attractive and delightful way.
How to Accessorize a Fireplace Mantle
Start by hanging (installing) a piece of art or a 3-Dimensional sculpture as a centerpiece a few inches above the mantle, one that is similar in shape to the width of the mantle & that fits nicely into the height above the mantle to the ceiling. This will lead your eye upward. Don’t worry about overlap from the objects you plan to add — done well, layering is a clever way to create visual interest. I used a rectangular 3d sculptural image of a herd of elephants framed in a wide gold leafed frame that I love. The gold frame adds a warm essence to the room — You can also opt to use a piece that is square and large in the same space. (As a reference, the area above the mantle can hold a piece that is 40” wide by 40” high.)
Now, let’s slowly add the pieces…
Start in the middle. Here I add a pair Asian brushes that mimic the low, horizontal line of the Elephants. They increase visual interest & their Onyx handles add a bit of color as well. I am choosing to keep it low in this part of the mantle, but I could have easily used a vase of flowers and made the center the focal point.
Now I begin to “frame” the area above the mantle, specifically the Elephants by introducing a vertical element, a pair of candles on Rosewood stands — I use flameless candles that are on timers — they evenly balance each side of the artwork/painting, & the glow of soft light adds a wonderful touch of ambience in the evening. It’s important to take note of the negative space surrounding the framed elephants. Negative space is a good thing in that it helps visually balance the area & gives your eye a place to rest, allowing you to appreciate all of the other accessories.
Next, we come to the height. In the video, I used an urn that I refurbished to its original state from a lamp. You may have a taller sculpture or something you’ve repurposed that you love that would be perfect for height on your mantle. Don’t be afraid to use it.
Add smaller pieces that catch the eye. Play with color, shapes, sizes, and materials. I have a collection of spheres & for added fun placed them at the end the mantle, much like a period at the end of a sentence.
Balance. A vase of dried hydrangeas from last year’s garden on the other side of the mantle balances the height of the urn. I also mirror the use of another sphere from my collection, in a different material to show symmetry yet a playful difference.
Voila! You have created a well-styled fireplace mantle!
Important note: Step back often to check your progress. I might even suggest that you walk away from the project for a few hours then go back to it. This will give you a different perspective & will help you solidify your choices. I often add some things or take them away according to how I feel they look together. Over time, switch out pieces to keep it interesting. Use artifacts from your life that have meaning to you or simply just make you feel good to look at & admire.!
Betsy Abend is a full service residential and commercial interior designer serving the greater New York City area from Manhattan to the Hamptons. Betsy Lynn Interior Design Phone: 917-749-0744