The holidays are right around the corner and many of us will be adorning our fireplace mantels with seasonal favorites. But the holidays aren’t the only opportunity to dress up this key focal point in many homes. We asked a few of the area’s top designers to share their tips for creating a stunning mantel.
“A fireplace is a strong architectural focal point. A mantel crowns the fireplace and the way it is decorated has dramatic impact in any room. In many of today’s homes, flat-screen televisions now hang above the mantel. For my clients’ family room, their television rests within a custom built-in unit across from the sofa. So, we had the advantage of allowing an oversize piece of art anchor the setting and help the fireplace achieve its love of being the center of attention. To balance the statement art, we kept the accessories bold and simple – two oversized wood finials and a massive candlestick rest upon the mantel. The asymmetric placement takes a cue from the cozy informal décor of the room. Well-placed recessed lighting highlights the mantel and draws the eye toward it and its design elements, as do the window treatments that frame the fireplace. Although not shown in the photo above, my clients love to decorate for the various holidays throughout the year. The mantel is enhanced seasonally in fun ways to showcase the clients’ cyclic collections.” – Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs
"This traditional mantel was accessorized with a collection of heavily textured bisque ceramic pottery – it's always my goal to have a design theme when placing accessories on a mantel." – Amy Weinstein, AMW Design Studio
“As seen in both mantel designs above, less is more. A very traditional mantel and a contemporary mantel have similarities by repeating an object. Candleholders in the traditional space flank the artwork, which allows the fine details of the millwork to be the focal point. The contemporary space repeats the metal weights, which highlight the artwork by not competing with the height of the mantel and ceiling. Throughout the seasons these objects can be replaced with ornaments, pumpkins, or floral vases.” – Margaret Skinner, Margeaux Interiors
“Try to be surprising when designing a mantel. As seen in the photo above with the tall red artwork, we used pairs but off-set them to the side. We also prefer to incorporate art when possible. Try leaning a picture or overlapping pictures for a layered look. Don’t be afraid to be bold, and try to use a texture that you find somewhere else in the room. If you like symmetry, try throwing in a piece that looks the same in mass but maybe doesn’t exactly match.” – Dan Davis and Paul Johnson, Dan Davis Design