Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Study In Mantle-ology!!

I love fireplace mantels and at Christmas time I think they always seem to look their best! I think a mantel decorated for Christmas, whether it is simple or over the top, is so charming and inviting, especially if the fireplace has a fire going and the candles are lit.

I went looking for some examples of mantels that I thought were done well and I would like to share with you what I have found………

1 (300x400)
I love everything about this mantle. Instead of just dressing the mantle they added depth by hanging glittery stars from the ceiling in front of the mantle.

The cranberries in the cylinders give a bright pop of color to the mix of white, silver and green!

Did you notice the cylinder vase on the left is in front of the garland? Yet, the one on the right is behind the garland.

This gives dimension and keeps the eye moving with a better flow. This is a much nicer effect than if they were lined up evenly like little soldiers. Remember to step back and make sure your display has some ins-and-outs.

5 (300x333)
This is a great example of a mantle that has a wonderful use of color and texture. This is done in a less formal look by having the items asymmetrical.

3 (400x400)
This is obviously a very traditional and formal looking mantle. This mantle is very elegant and it is done with beautiful symmetry.

4 (267x400)
More symmetry done in a simple and elegant manner with the perfect amount of texture and shine.

6 (302x400)
I really like the pops of color used  here.  The one element I would change here is the bows.
I think they need to be a more natural flowing bow, not so tight with short tails. The one bow on the wreath I would eliminate all together.

2 (500x391)

11 (320x400)

9 house beautiful (400x406)
House Beautiful
By using clear colored glass what could look ordinary becomes fun and festive.

8 (360x450)
Martha Stewart is the queen of doing simple elegance at its best.

7 (360x450)
Nothing fancy here and yet it is amazing. The abundance of the greenery flowing over the mantle makes this perfection. Martha does it again.

10 mstewart (360x450)
This is probably real vintage mercury glass, but you can buy reproduction mercury glass at very reasonable prices. Instead of a bow at the top of the wreath the ornaments are in a tighter cluster at the top and as they make their way to the bottom they become more scattered.

I think we often complicate our designs and you can tell by all of the above images it does not have to be complicated in order to be lovely, lively or elegant.

Keep in mind the spacing of your elements and make sure they go in and out to give dimension.

Vary your textures. If you are going to make a bow make sure that you use a good quality ribbon and make the tails long enough to drape gracefully.

"Enjoy the Process" Of

Decorating your mantle with some of your favorite pieces.



Hamptontoes said...

You just reminded me that I need to finish my mantle today. I'm doing super simple with fresh greens and few subtle holiday touches!

Julienne said...

Oh Kathysue these mantle do put me to shame!
I wonder how they dust them or perhaps these homes are so perfect the dust does not fall!!!
No 4 is my favourite in it's simplicity.
Hope you are enjoying your Christmas preparations. xx

Carol@SofasandSage.com said...

Each one is more gorgeous than the next. I never tire of mantle inspiration. Speaking of inspiration, you must have prepared for weeks for all of these beautiful posts, Kathysue! Your blog has been incredible, thank you! :)

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Kathysue, those are some great ideas for mantels. I love the red and burlap stockings one.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Beautiful! My favorite...the one at the end with the green foliage, urns and yellow roses...lovely.

Barb @ GritsandGlamour said...

As always - beautiful inspiration pics. Love them all....so much eye candy!

Mariette said...

Dearest Kathysue,

My favorite is that where Paige and Kevin hung their stockings... Looks very natural with the birch 'pillars'.

Enjoy your pre-Christmas time!

Mariette's Back to Basics

vignette design said...

Love all the mantel inspiration Kathysue. I'm with Kim, I like the one with the red and burlap stockings. Probably because of the paperwhites on the mantel too. xo Delores

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I don't have a mantel anymore...I miss it so much at Christmas! You have some gorgeous options in these photos!


You always have good pictures that I can add to my files...and love the Christmas music!

lvroftiques said...

They're all beautiful Kathysue! But I love martha's with the yellow roses. So simple and yet sooo elegant! But as I haven't the fabulous rustic fireplace I'll have to come up with something else *poop* I think getting a mantlescape just right is one of the most difficult things to do. It's kinda like perfect pie crust, deceivingly simple looking but hard to accomplish perfectly.....But then again it could just be that I'm a horrible decorator and pie crust maker! *winks* Vanna


They're all very nice. I love the Martha's ones, specially the one with all the greenery flowing over the mantel. Thank you for posting for us to see.

Mona Thompson said...

Such beautiful mantels. More great ideas to save. Probably for next year now. I have gathered more inspiration this year since I've been blogging than ever. I can hardly wait till next year. That's kind of sick. I guess it's an occupational hazard.

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

These mantels are chocked full of the most wonderful ideas! That could be used all over the house!
What an inspirational blog!

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Each and every mantle is gorgeous. I especially like the one with the greenery flowing over the mantle. It is so simple but makes such an exquisite statement.
Again, thank you for all the beautiful images and wonderful inspiration.

Bringing Pretty Back said...

Kathysue, I am so amazed at how much knowledge you have! Amazes me!
I love what you have to say!
Thank you!
Have a pretty day!

Privet and Holly said...

I want to see
what YOU did with
your very long
mantle....Or maybe
you already have
shown it and I
missed out? I also
have a super long
mantle, so I'm
always looking for
inspiration. These
are all gorgeous in
their own ways!
xx Suzanne