If your home has a fireplace mantle you should consider yourself lucky!
Mantles are such a wonderful focal point to any room. They add implied
architectural detail and all the comforts of a cozy area to gather. However,
many homeowners curse their mantles because they are unsure of how to
appropriately decorate and fill the space. Designer Lauren Oviatt shares her
tips of the trade to ensure your mantle gets all the attention it deserves.
Unlike a broad family room wall, a mantle is a defined area – which should
make it easy to tackle. I like to employ the rule of the “golden mean” when
deciding on artwork, mirrors or sculptural pieces to hang above the mantle.
This means selecting a piece that fills 2/3 the space while leaving 1/3 bare.
This rule of design is as old as ancient Greece and Rome and is the secret
behind nearly everything that appeals to our eyes – from nature to
architecture and everything in between.
The height at which to hang these pieces depends on the height of your
ceiling – but the best advice I can give is to keep the piece closer to the
mantle than the ceiling. The idea is to create a focal point – which is best
represented by the grouping you’re creating. Having artwork that floats too
high will feel all wrong. Try to keep the bottom of the artwork anywhere
from 4 to 10 off the mantle to keep it nice and close.
Now that the artwork is hung, it’s time to address the accessories on the
mantle. Leaving all else aside, here are my top three tips when it comes to
the fun stuff.
1. Give Some Height
To take the eye upwards choose candlesticks, finials, a vase or urn that is
taller than it is wide. Depending on your own aesthetic, you can split a pair
for a symmetrical look or keep all the height to one side. These accessories
should not be taller than your artwork.
2. Fill the Space
Now that you have your height, choose something lower with more mass.
This could be a grouping of books or stacked boxes, a plant or floral
arrangement. This element should be wider than it is tall and helps the eye
travel back down and from side to side.
3. Add Something Odd
To give your display personality and keep it from looking too much like a
showroom, pick something meaningful or even odd to place on the mantle.
This could be a small collection of ceramic pieces, a card from a friend or
something you brought back as a souvenir from your recent trip. This fun
element becomes a conversation piece.
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. Lauren has degrees in
both Public Relations and Interior Design and worked in wedding/event
planning before transitioning to residential and hospitality design. Oviatt-
Pratt & Associates 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 color
choices to the final finishing touches. With direct access to over 75
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 is open to the public Monday through Friday.