Help with Mantel Decor

sameboatAugust 15, 2013

I never know what looks good on a mantel. This fireplace is in my bedroom, and we are close to the ocean so I thought a nautical theme would be appropriate. It just never looks right to me. Here's what I've come up with. I've also posted pics with the area clear so you can play around with it, too. Any suggestions? The area from the mantel to the ceiling is 30" tall by 5' wide...I do hate the brass, and I'm not opposed to painting it, but we are planning a move soon and want to do as little as we can get away with. I don't think it's bad. I do think the sconce shades might be too big.

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sameboat

Here's a blank slate...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 4:32PM
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sameboat

This pic might be better...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 4:34PM
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CLBlakey

I like your nautical theme.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 4:54PM
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My3dogs

Would you consider adding some inexpensive 'store bought' trim to your mantel to beef it up a bit?

I've linked some images of 'beach mantel decor' below to help you. I think you've done very well, but could use a slightly larger item on the left, and I'd change out the silver colored vase there to something else. It looks a bit lost there, and a different color, as some that you'll see here may look better with the brass sconces. I don't think the shades on them are too big.

Are you doing the decor for yourself, or to stage for the pending move? I ask, as I see you are in zone 5, (as I am in Maine) but I don't know where you are. Do people still go to the beaches in your area in the (soon to come) Fall? Might you want to put a few darker colored items in, such as the turquoise ones you'll see in the link?

Here is a link that might be useful: Beach mantel decor

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 5:59PM
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terriks

I think that your arrangement looks quite nice. I might move the vase on the left a bit to the right, or get a wider vase for that space.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 6:16PM
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sameboat

Thank you all for your input. Yes I am looking to stage it but also for my own enjoyment in the meantime. The pieces on there already are quite large but still look so small when I step back. I don't have the money and DH isn't interested in beefing it up at the moment but I do agree...a more substantial mantel would be great. Maybe something draped just below, hanging off the mantle? Seaweed or something? I do think a larger vase and a different color would be more dramatic. Let me look around the house and see what I have. The mantels in the link are wonderful! Great ideas, and I am having fun looking through them. I will play with some ideas and repost. Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:27PM
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alex9179

Honestly, I think that the red brick of the fireplace overpowers the beach-inspired tones. And, since your furniture is darker, I would advise saving your beach tableau for your next house.

Find a vibrant piece of art and maybe a chunk of driftwood for the mantel. I have a few sunset-on-the-beach prints/paintings that would follow your theme but hold it's own against that brick. Embrace the brass for the present because it's kind of proud in that area, anyway. I LOVE aged brass and maybe you already have something in that vein that you could use.

Fall is coming and this would be in keeping with the season, anyway :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:42PM
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sameboat

alex, I actually DO have things that would go better on the mantle that are fall-like colors. I've attached a link below to my Fall/Winter comforter. My drapes are that shade of rust, the furniture is dark, the bed is black wrought iron and the bedskirt is brown. Perhaps going in golds, cream and rusts would be more appropriate. Maybe that's why I'm having such a hard time decorating. I'm going with the wrong look all-together! I've been trying to make it light. But honestly, I do tend to decorate with darker, richer colors. Okay I will play around with some other things I have. If it seems to be getting too dark I can always put some creamy-colored candles on glass candlestick holders. I do have several.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Fall Comforter

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:20PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I agree that richer colors would look better to help balance the strong colors in the brick and the furniture.

Also, I like to put dried flowers in a basket in front of the fireplace opening to bring the colors and some softness down further.

The shades may be a little large for the sconces, but the sconces are too small for the size of the fireplace. If you were staying there, I'd want to move them over the fireplace mantel and raise them a tad, but as you're not, they're fine.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 8:10AM
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alex9179

I can't wait to see what you come up with!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 9:01AM
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k9arlene

I would remove the picture above the mantle. It looks dwarfed as the fireplace is so large and such a presence. I would look for some large, bold, colorful pieces that fit the scale of the fireplace better and then add the smaller shells. I wonder what a rectangular mirror would look like that's the width of the fireplace and almost as high as the ceiling as a backdrop to your arrangement.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 10:26AM
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jenjones123

I like your nautical theme decor but the left side seems to be a bit blank.
Maybe your decor could use some symmetry, for example the big piece can be in the middle as it is, the frame could go, and each side can take a vase and a white decor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mantel decorating ideas

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 10:29AM
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teacats

Another vote for a much darker, stronger and much larger artwork that would help to fill the large gap on each side of the fireplace -- created by the too-far spacing of the brass sconces.

Perhaps create a tight grid of photos of local seaside spots or areas -- add matching mats (maybe in darker orange to work with the darker cool weather bedding?) -- and frame them alike in dark brown frames .... add a darker basket to the hearth ...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:30AM
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sameboat

Any better? I'm digging around the basement and closets to see what I have to work with! Maybe put some dried flowers (or silk sunflowers!) in the vase?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 11:10AM
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k9arlene

unfortunately, you've lost your beach theme, but the scale of everything is so much better.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 11:49AM
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sameboat

There are seashells embedded in the candle that's lit. :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 11:58AM
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teacats

Well done! :)

Doesn't need anything else! :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 12:05PM
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tinan

The new arrangement looks perfect - matches the fireplace itself much better. Great job!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 12:15PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Big improvement!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 2:42PM
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maddie260

I think the fireplace would look better if you painted the brass screen black. It can be done very easily (I know, I did it) with high temperature black paint.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 4:45PM
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erinsean

Not too fond of the round plate......do you have another small square picture for that spot?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 5:01PM
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sameboat

If I was staying, I would definitely paint the brass black. I already looked into it and decided that the smell would take too long to leave the room. We are hoping to be on the market very, very soon. Then I thought, hey, I don't care much for the brass myself, but it didn't stop me from buying the house and living with it for several years.

I have one other pic that would be similar in size to the pic on the right but the color is way off, so I'm afraid the tray stays. I do love looking at that tray. I found it in my basement and haven't used it in years! I'm hoping once I fill the vase with sunflowers that it gives the illusion of "round" to balance the round tray...

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 7:52PM
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nosoccermom

Looks so much better. The only question: What does the mirror reflect?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 5:37PM
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sameboat

hmmmm...good question. There are only two doors on the opposite side of the room. It's way too high for me to see myself...so does it not make sense? When I'm in bed, the reflection of the candlelight is in the mirror so it looks like twice the light. That's about it.

I filled the vase today, so here's my final tweak.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 8:27PM
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sameboat

And another view. I SO see what you mean about what it's reflecting (or not reflecting).

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 8:29PM
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alex9179

For staging, it's not a problem. Long term, mirrors over mantels need to be angled down, usually. That way it will reflect the room or, if there is a window opposite, the outdoors.

Honestly, for your purpose, it's just fine. The things are pretty and people there for a showing are probably not nit-picking the mirror's reflection.

Next house, right? :)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 9:05PM
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sameboat

:) I'm done!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 9:10PM
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patty_cakes

The only thing I would change is the glass candlesticks to brass, since there is brass around the fireplace screen as well as the sconces being brass. Brass repeated *on* the mantle would add a bit of shine,tying everything together. There are TONS of brass candlesticks at thrift stores, great to use for winter holidays, or any holiday thru the year.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 5:34AM
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