The fireplace has taken its place as the favorite spot around our house. It's part of the evening routine to light a fire, set out some blankets and pillows on the floor and cozy up to watch a movie or play games.
You may have your mantel styled during the year, but the holidays are the time to change it up and make it stand out with greenery, candles, stockings and whatever else gets you in the holiday spirit.
So how do you style a fireplace mantel?
I'm sharing an easy 5-step formula you can use to make sure it looks and feels right.
5 STEPS TO BUILD YOUR HOLIDAY MANTEL
1. CHOOSE A FOCAL POINT
The first thing you want to check off the list is a focal point. The focal point is the anchor spot where your eye is naturally drawn. When the eye intuitively spots a focal point it gives you an opportunity to let the full aesthetic and impact of the fireplace as a whole sink in. Without a clear focal point the area can feel unfinished, uncomfortable or confusing.
For the fireplace, add a large piece of festive art, tv or mirror above the mantel that is about two thirds the size of the mantel for the best scale.
2. CREATE A BIG TRIANGLE
Now that you have your focal point set, you want to use the sides of the mantel to create a triangle. You can go for symmetry or use items of varying heights and visual weight for more interest.
3. ADD STOCKINGS OR BOWS
If you have an odd number of stockings, such as three, add two to one side and one on the other. If you have an even number, go for symmetry on either side. If you have two, you can try them both on one side as well.
3. ADD DECOR ITEMS WITH VARYING HEIGHTS
Create more visual interest with a couple groups of smaller items with varying heights – like candlesticks, pillar candles, vases, pictures frames, ornaments, bells, bows or flowers. You can add to the item you set on either side of the mantel to create your triangle. Don't put them in a straight line, instead overlap them so they conceal a little of each other to produce a sense of unity. Work with odd numbers (three or five, rather than two or four).
4. ADD GREENERY
Add garland, flowers, poinsettias, or other festive greenery to fill in your mantel... just make sure it's at a height or in a place where it doesn't catch fire. You can drape the garland over either side to add an organic touch.
DESIGNER STYLING TIPS
5 KEY INGREDIENTS TO GREAT STYLING
When creating small groups with odd numbers, have a high point (tall candlestick, tall plant or tall vase), a weighty point (a visually heavy object like a rounded vase, a large pillar candle, a bowl or something darker in color), something organic or irregular in shape, horizontal lines (like a box or books laying flat), vertical lines (such as tall, slim items like candlesticks or a vase).
BE CAREFUL WITH FLAMMABLE MATERIALS
It goes without saying, but be aware of draping things like garland over the mantel and how close they are to the heat and fire.
BE AWARE OF YOUR MANTEL WEIGHT LIMITS
While you may not know an exact weight limit, in general a stone or brick fireplace with a stone or brick mantel is likely to have a high weight capacity. If your mantel is a thinner piece of wood installed on drywall or masonry, err on the side choosing lightweight decor.
DON'T BE AFRIAD TO KEEP IT MINIMAL
If you're new to styling or unsure of how to style, don't be afraid to keep in minimal with symmetry and scaled-back decor. Put the emphasis on the focal point and do less with the rest.
CHOOSE A DESIGN STYLE AND COLOR SCHEME
For a holiday mantel, it's important to choose a design style and color scheme. Do you want to use reds and greens or gold and blue? Keep your colors in the same family (don't use four different shades of red). Even though it's the holidays you should still let your overall design style shine through, whether it be contemporary, modern, glam, farmhouse, traditional or rustic. Mixing styles will make for an in-cohesive look.
PLAY WITH PLACEMENT
In order to develop your eye for interior styling you have to allow yourself to try things and play around. Designers do this every single time. Move around your objects in the great, space things out differently, try the other side of the mantel instead... until it all feels like theres a balance in the visual weight and style of the mantel as a whole.
What's your biggest challenge with your holiday mantel? Any tips you want to share? Let me know.