I’ve been enjoying your England posts and I noticed a few lovely fireplace mantels. I was wondering if you could go over fireplace mantel styling. Some of the items are terrific but I don’t know where to get them or what sizes will work.
First of all, before I get into the fireplace mantel styling– Thank you for all of your sweet comments and well-wishes the other day. Here’s what happened:
Minutes after I published the last post, out of the blue, I came down with a horrible fever… and all of the rest… After 15 hours of feeling super terrible, my sister talked me into going to the ER, so I called an Uber to drive me 500 feet. No joke, but I could barely stand, much less walk that distance.
I thought it might be the flu, but fortunately, it’s not. That’s the good news. My tests indicated that it is a bacterial infection and I’m on an anti-biotic. So, it’s good that I went because that’s not a good thing to mess around with if it’s causing a high fever. I’ve been resting and listening to a lot of opera. Very healing and feeling better but am running out of steam, now.
So, if my writing is a little lame, hopefully all of the goodies I’ve spent the day hunting down, will make up for it.
There are seven mantels that have been published here in the last couple of years and I did my best to copy everything on them and then some.
And to make it a little easier, especially for folks on their cell phones, I made two widgets of fireplace mantel styling.
One thing, I’m not going to be able to tell you is exactly how to arrange what you have. I can’t because there are too many variables. But please remember that it’s not rocket science. And I don’t believe in formulas so much for these things.
Plus, I’m going to tell you what to get in a bit. Of course, it’s not an exhaustive list and you might not like any of them. But hopefully, at least one mantel will resonate with you; or at least get you started with some great ideas. They are all different from each other.
And even if you don’t have a fireplace or a mantel, mantels are a lot like console tables, bookshelves and cabinets that are 54″ or less. So, even if you don’t have a fireplace mantel, you may very well have another horizontal surface, like my bookcase, for example.
However, there are a few basic rules for fireplace mantel styling.
- Avoid too many pairs. In fact, usually, it’s pretty much only one pair on the mantel and then if you have a pair of sconces, that is about all. That is totally matching pairs. Usually.
- Avoid over crowding, but do some layering if possible.
- Mantels are a great place to display a collection of ONE THING, but variations of that one thing.
- Aim for a balance of heights. Low, medium and high. You may need to play around with this.
- Like art, do a little sketch of what you are looking for. That way you’ll know if you’ll need the 7″ foo dogs are the 11″ foo dogs.
- Vases and jars can usually be a couple of inches deeper in diameter than the mantel shelf.
- Symmetrical arrangements are most pleasing but that doesn’t mean identical on each side. That ties into too many pairs!
- Tie in the mantel decor to the rest of the space. If the rest of the room is spare, then the mantel should be too. Maximalists know what to do already. :]
- You can never go wrong with a little gold and a little black.
- Mantels in your public spaces are not the best spot to display family photos. Of course, it’s your home and you can do whatever you wish. :] I don’t judge. Honestly. Not about that, anyway. ;]
The first mantel is just too lovely by the wonderful Loi Thai of Tone on Tone. Everything he touches is absolutely perfect. Please also follow Loi on insta.
and me too, if you aren’t already.
Oh, a word about the art in the images and in the widgets.
And it’s just because we go through this every time I post art, which is pretty often. I cannot put art in a widget that came from your local high school, thrift shop, tag sale, child, aunt, sister…
However, I respect that those of you who want to support your local communities and artists, that is a wonderful thing. And in that case, you can use the art for demonstration and inspiration purposes only.
Next we have the fabulous stylings of Maura Endres. Please be sure to follow her on instagram.
And for more of Maura’s fabulous home, please click here.
Please click the link to see the rest of his beautiful place. He collects these gorgeous ceramics from the 1920s made by Constance Spry. I have a lot of her pieces in the widget and some other similar pieces that could mix well with it. There’s enough for two mantels!
Jessika Goranson – photo Patrick Cline.
This fireplace mantel styling is about as perfect as can possibly be, in every way!
And below is our first widget. Please note that I cannot control what order things appear. In fact, every time you refresh the page, it’ll mix things up again. But it’s all there. Hopefully, it won’t be too confusing.
To find out more about any of the items, just click on the image, and you will be taken to the source.
Moving on to the next set of mantels.
This is a fabulous mantel by Tina of The Enchanted Home. Did you know that she has a fabulous online shop? Well, she does and it’s one of the 23 new sources that is coming out in Laurel’s Rolodex FOURTH EDITION in one week.
If you purchase a rolodex before then, you will still get the updated one. But please remember that the price is going up on November 13th.
Sorry, but I have to get those reminders out there.
However, is this not also perfect? As you can see from this and the white ceramic mantel, picking just one kind of item and doing variations on that theme is a very effective solution for a gorgeous fireplace mantel.
photo by me
This you may recall is a fantastic fireplace mantel from Harriet and Anthony Sykes’ home in Dorset that I was privileged to visit about 3 weeks ago.
I had a lot of fun and wait until you see the two clocks that I found! I also selected a number of awesome porcelain figurines.
photo by me
And of course, Ben Pentreath’s home, also in Dorset, that I also visited.
And there are Staffordshire Dogs as well. All different sizes. OH! I found Ben’s exact dogs at 1st Dibs. But they are $1,200! I think the most expensive pair in the widget is about $400. And they are just as nice.
This is an old photo of Ben’s mantel before the room was painted pink. And as you can see, it is all dressed up for the holidays. I don’t think that one has to alter their mantel a lot. Just fit in some lovely greens between the objects.
Or maybe take them off first and then put back. Or of course, you can do something altogether different, but you don’t have to.
For more fireplace mantel styling ideas, please click here and here.
Oh, I almost forgot! But One King’s Lane is offering 20% off of their entire collection of art, but it’s ending tonight. I believe that it began on Monday, but I only found out about it yesterday. But please click here, if you’re interested.
Oh Laurel the three emperors!!! Oh where would I put those!! 17 inches tall–I never have been a figurines gal but these guys are sooooo charming. So is the reclining Famille Rose couple, holy cow I’m overcome by cuteness.
Glad that you enjoyed the figurines! I haven’t ever been much for them either but after seeing them displayed correctly, in England, I am seeing them in a new light!
My fireplace mantle and surrounding built-ins are covered in blue and white porcelains. Oh how I love them! So I’m good there, but the Staffordshire cats in your widget reminded me how much I like those too. That pair was sold, but I went on a hunt and just bought a pair on Ebay. And bid on another one. And put two other pair on my holiday gift list. I have been admiring them for years, but now apparently I’m starting a collection. Yikes!
So glad that you found some Staffordshire cats! Your mantel sounds fabulous!
Hi Laurel! How delightful to find my mantle in this collection of examples you shared. I always wished mine was lower and a bit wider, or maybe It just needs higher ceilings! Anyway, so inspired by all your picks. Also thrilled to see a book on Ben Pentreath’s coffee table that i have in my collection “The Drawings of W. Curtis Green”. What a fabulous trip that must have been. All the very best, Maura
Your entire home is a testament to the fact that one can have a gorgeous interior and not have super high ceilings. I never noticed, because I’m too busy looking at all of the gorgeous decor!
Coincidentally, I started reading this post while enjoying our first morning fire of the season! It feels the height of luxury to read your wonderful post with coffee and a fire. Soooo, please take extra good care of yourself so we can all (including you, I hope) continue having fun being guided by your expertise and good humor
I wish my apartment had a fireplace. And it was built at the time when they were common, but alas, no. It’s always such a treat to have a fire crackling away.
And how could I rudely forget: thanks for all you do! I love looking at your posts and always learn something, even if my personal style is more IKEA than Architectural Digest.
Ikea is terrific! Thanks again!
Please take care of yourself! That wonderful trip to the UK could also have been tiring. Looked back at the super post about light blue paint and was shocked at how many folks flat-out asked you for advice for their situation! Glad to see you turned them down–was no one taught it’s rude to ask a professional for free advice? PS love to hear you are an opera fan–I am too. I’m afraid most of my “art” is actually posters…
Thank you Ivis! And yes, there are a lot of people who ask for free advice thinking I can just solve all of their problems in a manner of seconds. It’s like asking a neuro-surgeon to remove a brain tumor in 30 seconds.
I don’t know why I got sick. I’d been feeling well over-all recently. But that morning, I tried to take a ballet class. (My real passion), and couldn’t even get through the barre, but when I came home, I was a little tired, but still no sign of anything amiss until it hit me at about 12:30 AM like a ton of bricks.
So glad you are on the mend.
I was looking at pink paint for my dining room but was on the fence until I saw the pictures of Ben’s home again. Settled on BM Georgetown Pink Beige. A nice roast and Yorkshire Pudding for Sunday lunch and I’ll think I’m in Dorset.
Thanks for the pretty mantel ideas,
That sounds lovely!
Maybe when it gets closer to the holidays you can post some Christmas mantel decors. I don’t have a mantel in the condo but I love photos of Christmas decorations of any type. Look forward to any holiday photos you can post. I’m going to do tabletop Christmas trees this year instead of a full-size tree.
That’s actually a great idea. Thank you!
Yes that would be great! I was thinking the same. Because. Ms L would give nice hints without over the top nonsense
I have adored every single post Laurel has ever done about Christmas decorations because I apparently love the same things she does.
Yes, do some Christmas mantels, Laurel!
I’m glad you were persuaded to visit the ER. It seems we’re of a type/age? that’s loathe to complain and make a fuss when it comes to ourselves. We sometimes need other’s to give us a boot in order to better look after ourselves. Glad to hear you’re on the mend but am sorry for what you went through. Just a note about your first suggestion about not placing more than one pair of anything on a mantle. I don’t think there are hard and fast rules about this one. The Brits prefer a little more formality and symmetry, as shown with the Sykes and Pentreath mantles which have several pairs of items. I think Colefax and Fowler set the bar with that look. I change up my mantle frequently and it’s more about finding a pleasing balance of shapes and variety if going with a more informal, asymmetrical arrangement. Falling back to several pairs of items on either side for balance with one anchoring, central item often works for me. Wishing you a speedy recovery and enjoy the opera… have you heard Sondra Radanovsky’s Norma?? She’ll blow your mind!
You are right about all. I didn’t express my idea very well. If you look closely at Sykes, the items are very similar, but not exactly the same and with Ben, all I see is that fabulous mirror. haha And in both cases, there is not a lot of exact symmetry and/or pairs of any kind and a lot of fabulous single pieces that keep the eye moving around the room. That one is a little difficult to explain. But in this post, there’s one which makes my point of too much symmetry. https://laurelberninteriors.com/2014/02/04/20-great-fireplace-mantel-decorating-ideas/
I will have to look up Sondra Radanovsky. I’m not really an opera buff, so my knowledge is spotty. My passion is ballet, but every once in a while, I need a diversion. ;]
You are clearly working too hard, putting out this terrific post while you are recovering.
Rest up, we will just have to wait for more wonderful posts!
Yes, my fingers are exhausted! ;] No really. I DID have a rest. And I haven’t even stepped outside once, except to get some seltzer and bananas at the deli across the street.
Our leader is back !!!
…& now, my mantel piece is wondering why I am looking at it so closely.
Do not be afraid, dear little mantel, it’s only because Laurel puts so many beautiful ideas
into my head.
Jigging things around, certainly gives one an affordable thrill, that one also finds in
shopping. Long-loved items are re-born & I haven’t even left the building. My wallet
remains zipped & when my husband asks, as they have been programmed to do over the
centuries, “is that new?”, I can honestly reply, “oh, that old thing? I’ve had it ages.”
What fun, what inspiration, & thank you for making the concept of sharing ideas, so
redolent, amongst your online ‘family’, Laurel.
Right, back to my ‘born again’ mantle…..
Husbands always ask that. lol Well, mine did. But I’m so glad that you got some inspiration from this!
Such a nice variety of styles and beautiful inspiration of objects! Thanks for all your hard work, especially while you’re recovering. Take care.
Thanks Marie. Actually, putting that all together is fun and relaxing. But then, I had to write the post. Fortunately, writing comes relatively easily to me, but it’s there’s still editing and linking to sources.
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