How-To: Magnificent mantels

Thoughtful focus for the focal point

In many homes the fireplace is the focal point of the main living area. Often a television is placed above the fireplace, which is odd if you think about it. First of all, if the fireplace has a mantel, the TV will be too high for comfortable viewing. Aesthetically a television is not usually attractive, though that is a common spousal dispute. If you haven’t fallen victim to the “TV above the fireplace” trap, try these styling tips to see if you can make your mantel magnificent.

Classic Symmetry
You can never go wrong with symmetry because our brains subconsciously seek the balance and equilibrium that symmetry delivers. A mirror or piece of art flanked by paired items gives that classic look. Popular pairings include candlesticks, plants, urns, photos and statues.

Balanced symmetry

Symmetry doesn’t have to mean ‘exact match.’ In this example, there is a balance diagonally: the large mirror balances with the large basket, and the plant balances with the candlesticks. How do you know if there is a balance? Trust us; you will “feel it.”

Clustered collection

Groupings of similar items create visual interest and showcase your treasures with style. Unlike the classic symmetry approach, clustering brings together different numbers of similar items. Standard clustered collections can be photos, memorabilia, books or, dare we say, LOCAL Life magazines.

Layered casual

Photos and mirrors do not need to be hung, nor do they need to use the typical kickstand on the back. Layering photos, mirrors and art is a way to create interest yet appear seemingly effortless. Layering can include stacking books topped with a decorative item like a lantern.

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