Create a Stylish Mantel for Fireplace Season

7 ways to get your mantel ready for fireplace season

Credit: iStock / Eric Vega

Hanging a mirror above your mantel can really brighten the room

When cold winter weather hits, nothing is better than being curled up by a cozy fireplace

But don’t let style take a back seat to comfort. Get your mantel ready for the fireplace season.

1. Think about colour. Highlighting a concise colour palette on your mantel makes sense of an otherwise unrelated group of objects, and these colours can be picked up around the room to the same effect. Use throw pillows, flowers and candles that match the colours on your mantel to tie the room together.

2. Make it your own. Your mantel is the focal point of the room, so make it your own. Showcase pieces from your collections, travel souvenirs or photographs. Just make sure that your artifacts aren’t too small. Tiny knick-knacks and dainty frames can disappear into a big mantel and take your display from classy to cluttered.

3. Love the layers. To create visual interest, mix large and small objects in groups on your mantel. Overlapping items adds depth to your display, but be sure to keep the tallest items at the back so that nothing is lost. Books, pictures, clocks and pottery are perfect for this because they come in all shapes and sizes. Marry the overall look by choosing objects with a common theme or colour scheme.

4. Dare to be asymmetrical. For a twist on the traditional centred look, lean a tall picture on one side and balance it with a tight cluster of smaller objects on the other. You can carry this look up the wall by hanging a round mirror or clock just toward the centre above the group of items.

5. Take a new twist on art. For a sophisticated alternative to hanging that big painting above the fireplace, prop it on the mantel and lean it against the wall instead. Hanging or leaning interesting mirrors makes a great focal point above the fireplace while brightening the room at the same time. Or break from tradition and choose several smaller repeating paintings, photos or mirrors instead of one large piece.

6. Bring the outside in. Adding branches, fresh flowers, shells or driftwood to your mantel is a fantastic way to unite a display and it’s easy to update your mantel with the seasons. Try little gourds in autumn, or pussy willows and holly in the winter for a graphic and textural flourish.

7. Flat screen faux pas. If you have a flat-screen TV above your fireplace, you know that the blank stare of the screen when it’s not in action makes for a disappointing centrepiece. Bring some life to your high-tech mantel by covering it with a vanishing television mirror. These magic mirrors disappear when you’re watching your favourite show and turn your TV into an elegant mirror when you turn it off. (Available at Digital Smart Homes in Vancouver.)

Looking to install a fireplace? Read these tips on how to choose between a gas, wood-burning and electric fireplace.