Mantle Makeover Magic

Designer Lauren Oviatt shows us some elements to remember to give your mantle a makeover.


The single most important thing to consider when addressing the space above your fireplace is the scale and proportion. Do you have a small fireplace with a minimal ledge for display or does your fireplace command the most attention for the entire room? Taking a step back to look at the scale of your fireplace will help you determine the art and accessories you’ll need to make the unit look well-dressed and complete. Consider using multiple pieces of art instead of one gigantic piece if you have a large space to fill.


Because the fireplace/mantle tends to be the focal point in any room, it is important to give that feature the interest it deserves. You want to have it goin’on ‘upstairs’ as well as ‘downstairs’ as they say. If you feel your furniture is fairly neutral, pick a piece of art that has bold color or a beautiful eye-catching design. If you have a well-loved piece of art or family portrait in need of an update, consider having it re-framed in an interesting way by choosing a rich frame and silk-lined covered mat or fillet.


Mantles aren’t just for artwork to be hung on the wall. Consider layering your mantle with decorative accessories for more texture and richness of design. Candlesticks, urns, and greenery are some of my favorite things to use. These kind of accessories add lots of interest and can help employ balance, symmetry and visual weight at the same time. Search for seasonal items like fresh garland, tasteful and size-appropriate figurines and even lit objects.

Tip: Do your homework first! Many people find art or accessories they love while out shopping, and then expect them to work simply because they like the piece. Most common errors in design revolve around the improper use of beautiful things. Have you ever said to yourself, “I love that painting, but I hate the way it looks right there!” Take a picture of your fireplace to keep with you on your shopping trips, and better yet, keep useful dimensions written down in your planner for reference when considering that piece of art for your mantle.

Before shopping, use your existing art and accessories on the mantle to see what works in terms of size and scale. You’ll find certain things will disappear when placed on the mantle while the size of other pieces will suit your vision.

Lauren Stimpson Oviatt
Oviatt-Pratt & Associates
Interiors & Design

Lauren has always had a love for interior and landscape design, floral décor, and all things beautiful! Having lived in the South and also on the west coast before settling in Utah, her design instinct is to combine traditional elements and furniture with updated style and current color palettes. She is constantly looking for ways to infuse glamour into her projects while bringing a fresh perspective and an eye for tasteful, classic design.

Oviatt – Pratt is a full-service design firm in business for over 25 years, specializing in high-end residential and commercial design. The scope of their projects ranges from simple home renovations to large scale construction projects where design is implemented from the first wall color choice to the final finishing touches. With direct access to over 50 upholstery, accessory and furniture lines, Oviatt-Pratt’s designers are able to provide each client with pieces that are particular to his or her taste and style. Their showroom in Farmington is open to the public Monday through Friday.

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