Messing with my mantel/art/arrangement

Sueb20June 18, 2014

Oy, what have I done.

I had a perfectly nice mirror over the mantel but DH is an avid photographer so we decided at least for summer, we wanted a splash of color for the mantel so we had one of his photos printed. It is big and bright. It's actually not quite as garish/cartoony as my photo makes it appear.

Now, I'm stuck with what to put on the mantel because the arrangement I had there before does not work at all with the new "art." I do have these funky brass orb things, which I hoped might kinda work, but I'm not feeling it. That's what's there now, as you can see. I like them better in their original location in another room.

So what can I put on the mantel that will hold its own against that big bright dandelion? I've been shopping my own house, but everything I've tried has been a flop.

WWYD? I may pop over to Home Goods later and see if anything inspires me.

Looking at my photo again, I wonder if the picture might look better resting on the mantel itself rather than above it?

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teacats

LOVE LOVE LOVE the whole arrangement! :)

The photo is wonderful -- and the funky orbs echo the shape of the dandelion head .....

Love it all! :)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:28PM
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Olychick

I'm not feeling the orbs at all....I would look around your home for something with one of the greens...if you want to use the orbs, maybe a green bowl or other pottery piece that would hold the orbs - off to one side. The dandelion is centered in the photo, the photo is centered between the sconces, the orbs are centered on the mantel. It needs a little asymmetry and something brighter, to my eye. Or, just leave the mantel bare; I think that photo and sconces can carry it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:35PM
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lazydaisynot

Great photo, great fireplace!

If you're not happy with the current arrangement you might consider something asymmetrical. I'd try a grouping of three different items to one side, around where the left-most orb is now. Maybe a taller pale green glass bottle/vase/whatever, the orb (perhaps plated atop a small box to give it some height so it's more visible than against the dark wood backdrop) and a third item of a different height and texture. It's hard to do groupings on mantels due to the narrow depth but it's worth a try. I especially like groupings in which a couple of the items overlap a bit.

If that looks off- balance you could put a single lower, wide item to the other side of the painting.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:41PM
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annkh_nd

I'm with olychick - I don't think you need anything more. It's a beautiful photo!

I'm a firm believer that you don't have to fill every available space in your house, just because it's there.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:42PM
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arlosmom

Another vote for trying a plain bare mantel. Simple can be beautiful.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:45PM
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Fun2BHere

In this case, I agree with Annkh. I think the print is so vibrant that it holds the space without any additional adornment to the mantel. It may take your eye a little time to get used to a bare mantel after seeing it layered for a long time. Certainly, you will want to repeat the green in other areas of the room for a bit of continuity.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:47PM
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sas95

Agree with the nothing on the mantel folks.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:07PM
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Errant_gw

I, too, would leave the mantel bare with that photo.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:28PM
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tinam61

The photo isn't garish/cartoony at all! Remove the orbs. Try it leaning but either way, I think I like it without anything on the mantel.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:43PM
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Sueb20

Okay, I will try a naked mantel. Stay tuned. I missed my orbs in the other room anyway.

I may just try the picture propped on the mantel too and see how that looks...,might make the naked mantel feel less naked?

Thanks for all the nice comments.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Looks great....leave it. Less is more.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 2:54PM
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Irish2

Another vote for leaving the mantel "naked". I think the orbs compete
with the great photo. Love your style!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 4:00PM
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Sueb20

Naked.

Okay, almost naked. I parked a special handmade ceramic box there because I haven't figured out where else to put it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 5:06PM
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nosoccermom

Maybe this link below will help. I'd look for something white and green, and perhaps the red from the middle of the dandelion. Somehow I feel that the eye needs something to move to.

Also, google image "styling mantle" and see what you like.

Here is a link that might be useful: tips for styling a mantle

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 5:39PM
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Fun2BHere

After looking at your photo longer, I think what may seem dissonant is the contrast between the modernity of the art's framing versus the lovely Craftsman detail of your moldings and mantel. I suspect if you had chosen a frame of wood similar in color to your mantel and used a more traditional mat of linen, even if you had to crop a bit of the photo, the piece would feel more coherent in the room and the mantel would not feel like it needs layering to soften the hard edges of the art.

However, I'm only looking at one partial elevation of your room. It may be that the framing reflects other modernist elements in your furnishings and fits in with your decor more cohesively than is apparent from the posted image.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 6:28PM
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Sueb20

Fun, I know what you mean...that was the only frame option they had. BUT I do have a combination of Stickley/Mission and more contemporary furnishings in the room, including the table in the link below from R&B with walnut top and black metal legs. I am too lazy to take a photo of the whole room at the moment. The fireplace surround is also black.

nosoccer, the issue is that there's not much room between the picture and the sconces (the pic you posted doesn't have the sconces taking up space). I feel like anything I put up there that's tall only looks weird in front of the framed pic, and anything shorter just looks too small.

In my head I can almost envision a really long rustic wooden or metal box, like 3' long and maybe 8" wide, that would be kinda cool under the picture sitting on the mantel. Maybe black or bright green. Or bright green with black edges. But of course that item exists only in my imagination.

Maybe I'll run into The Perfect Item when I least expect it.

Here is a link that might be useful: coffee table

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 7:09PM
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Olychick

I still vote for a decor free mantel. That box doesn't do anything but detract from the photo IMO. Try the box on the table and try living with the mantel bare for a few days. I think that mantel is a piece of art in itself!

If bare makes your head feel like exploding, then what about one or a pair of draping plants?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 8:45PM
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mtnrdredux_gw

I love the photo - amazing. I love the room. But I don't think it's the ideal spot for it. Partly due to the framing, partly the size, partly the subject (designed to show clarity), but taken altogether, it looks like a TV to me.

But I can't imagine framing it differently, so maybe there is a better spot in the house? Can it go in a breakfast room?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 9:19PM
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Sueb20

OMG. It does look like a TV.

Aggggghhhh.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 9:45PM
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stolenidentity

I thought it looked like a tv from the get go. I like the box you put up on the mantle, and would find some other small things to put up there, nothing that goes above the mantle back.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 9:56PM
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mtnrdredux_gw

But I think the frame is perfect for the photo.
Do you have something black to put on the mantle, perhaps?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 12:04AM
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Sueb20

This is some of the stuff I had on the mantel previously. The candle holders are black and brass. I have a couple more little antique books on the way that are lighter green colors. Hmm? Maybe if I change the candle colors? The green looks like I'm trying too hard to match the picture.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 4:17PM
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nanny2a

Another vote here for nothing on the mantle at all, I think you have enough with the sconces and the artwork, which is striking enough. DonâÂÂt clutter it up!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 4:27PM
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justgotabme

I actually love the first set up with the brass orbs. They are reminiscent of the dandelion seed head. Which is a beautiful picture by the way.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 4:38PM
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beekeeperswife

I like the naked mantel best. And I think leaning it will lessen the TV look.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 4:48PM
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yayagal

Yes try leaning it vertically and see how you like it. If it fits better that way you can still adhere it to the wall with a block behind it to fill the negative space.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 4:54PM
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mclarke

Try moving your three orbs off to one side (the right side might be better) about a third of the way across the mantel length.

This way you will have the echo of the dandelion shape but not the "too-muchness" of the symmetry. Your eye will have somewhere to land.

Is the mantel deep enough to overlap the orbs?

I agree with funcolors' thoughts about the frame.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 6:24PM
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Sueb20

No, the mantel is about as deep as the orbs' diameter.

Will play around some more tomorrow!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 8:59PM
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oaktonmom

Beautiful photo, but the vibrant colors just don't work with your fireplace or sconces. And yes.....no matter what you put on the mantle, it still looks like a television to me. I would find another place in your home for the photo.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 11:04PM
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mtnrdredux_gw

Gosh, this is a tough one. I am reneging and I don't think you should have anything on the mantle (the ceramic box worked fine, but I would not put anything else).

As someone said above, we are looking at only one elevation. I am not sure I agree that the photo is not suited to the room, because SueB has black elsewhere in the room, etc.

Plus, sometimes, the unexpected is good, esp with a story, a meaning, a purpose. If some famous ID used the photo there, they would have some contrived reasoning about how the anti-industrialism of the Art and Crafts movement expressed by the sconces and fpl, and then "echoed" in the nature photo, blah blah blah

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 11:35PM
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mclarke

Do you have that green anywhere else in the room? A couple of throw pillows perhaps?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:00AM
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Sueb20

Yeah, mtn, my house is full of the unexpected. Well, to some degree. I am fine with breaking rules in my own house and I have a pretty eclectic style. So I'm less worried about the style of the photo working with my other stuff, because I have a mix of art in all styles throughout the house. And I am coming around to the naked mantel idea. Today or tomorrow I'm going to take it down, repair the nail holes in the wall behind it (which is a big mess because we had a heavy mirror hung there, so there are these giant anchor things to take out) and try the propped approach, which may alleviate the "TV" feeling.

I do have green elsewhere in the room -- in a rabbit mask from Venice hanging on a wall (uh, told you I had eclectic style), those candles which are on the mantel now but can be moved to the coffee table, and I am currently looking for "summer" pillows with that bright green in them. I have darker greens in the room too, including a green chair. If I get around to cleaning up, I'll try to take a pic of the whole room this weekend.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:23AM
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justgotabme

I thought I'd make up a virtual for you Sue, to show you how it would look with the photo sitting on the mantel before you fix the holes in the wall. Though I do think you'll like it.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 12:12PM
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peony4

It's a unique and special print, but it does look like a flatscreen TV. Perhaps consider dividing it into a 2x2 grid. The inner corner of each grid would contain part of the round head, meeting in the center of the grid.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 1:43PM
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justgotabme

I guess I don't see the reason it looks bad even if it does look a flat screen TV. You can set up a screen saver with some of them to flash art work, can't you?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 2:52PM
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Linelle

It does look like a flat screen TV or a screensaver (albeit a beautiful one) on a computer monitor. It might be due to the centering, cropping and thin black frame which resembles a TV bezel. It has a techie look, not that there's anything wrong with that, but it feels a little incongruent next to the brick, mantel and sconces.

I have no decorating skills so I feel a little unqualified to be giving any sort of opinion. I'm just going on my initial reaction and not knowing anything else about the rest of your room.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 3:58PM
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mboston_gw

I posted a few weeks ago my canvas photos of my butterflies. I have some colored glassware that goes with some of the colors in the butterflies and also the pillows and throw that stays on the fireplace stoop. One person suggested removing the glassware but I asked some of my friends which they liked better, with or without, and the preferred it with the additional glassware, which were "clear" not milky colors. They could see the colors in the pillows and liked how it tied things together. My pictures are leaning, not hung. If you search my name here, you might find them.

I do have to find another home for them as I have a clock mounted on the brick wall and DH doesn't want them on each side of the clock.

So, I'd try a rectangular glassware that might hold the orbs off to the side and then balance it with something on the other.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 4:45PM
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stolenidentity

Nope, sitting on the mantle is not good at all. Put the box back up there, the candle holders and little antique books, but move them more toward under the light, put another kind of arrangement on the other side and call it done. Those candles are too tall, so NO to those.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 9:52PM
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Sueb20

Suddenly yesterday I had an idea. A couple of years ago, we spent time searching for The Right Art to hang over the sofa. We found something we loved, but I have always felt sorry that the spot over the sofa isn't really a focal point in the room so the art doesn't feel "spotlighted" the way it should be. You see our fireplace wall from several spots -- from the front door, from the family room which is open to the kitchen. You see the sofa wall only when you're in the living room, really.

Anyway, this morning DH went out of town and after he left, I did a switcheroo (I want to give myself time to decide if I like it before he weighs in).

I put the "more special" fancy art painting over the fireplace. And I parked the dandelion over the sofa. I think I'm happier with this arrangement.

Here is the painting now over the FP.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Sueb20

May be hard to tell, but this frame is actually dark brown wood, not black.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:04PM
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Sueb20

And the dandelion, which I need to move down -- I just hung it on the nail that was there. Ignore the mess. Also, I don't like those pillows. I brought them up from another room as an experiment.

I could even add two smaller photos, one on each side.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:06PM
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Olychick

Wow! that looks like it was made to go there. Perfect! And the dandelion will go well by the sofa, too.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:22PM
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oaktonmom

The muted colors of the new art over the fireplace is perfect. The dandelion over the sofa looks great. You have a winner.....just hope hubby agrees!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 2:38PM
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Sueb20

Emailed the pics to DH earlier and he was very happy.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 3:05PM
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pugga

I like this new arrangement much better.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 3:08PM
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kswl2

I like both pieces in their new locations and just love the painting over the mantel! The light green pillows look nice with the photo but the smaller chevron one is a bit distracting. Agree with it's being moved down and placing two smaller, similar photos framed similarly on either side of,the dandelion.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 3:11PM
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Sueb20

That little pillow isn't chevron, it's more of a polka dot pattern, but all three pillows are gone now...

DH has about 1000 bird photos to choose from so maybe I'll do a couple of bird pics. He'll be so happy he won't mind that I'm about to spend $$$ on new lamps...

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 3:36PM
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nosoccermom

Oh, yes! Perfect! I also like the green pillows, maybe a tad darker. Still, what a genius idea of you to switch the artwork around.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 4:22PM
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Linelle

Perfect! I love how each one looks in its new location. The one over the fireplace is genius.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 4:51PM
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sis2two

Love the new placements of the two photos! They work perfectly in their new places!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:43PM
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