Lookbook: How to make your mantelpiece look amazing.
How to style your mantelpiece so it anchors the room and creates a focal point that reflects who you are
Awell-styled mantelpiece should tell a story – about who lives here and what they love. Once you’ve selected pieces that mean something to you, an eye-catching mantelpiece arrangement is all about balance, contrast, colour and avoiding clutter.
HANG SOMETHING FIRST
A standout piece of art, sculpture or a mirror hung above the fire is the best starting point when styling your mantelpiece and will set the tone for the items arranged below it. Scale is important; make sure it’s big enough to hold its own. And be careful when hanging mirrors. If you hang one above a particularly high mantelpiece all you’ll be able to see is the top of your head, which is disconcerting.
Then anything goes when choosing items to display, says stylish homeowner Cathy Gould, a past winner of best living room in the NZ House & Garden Interior of the Year awards.
“But do make it personal – they should be treasured pieces.” You can use plants, small sculptures or something from the natural world – Cathy has been known to add a bird’s nest to her mantelpiece arrangement.
Think about contrast – the art or mirror above the fireplace is likely to be shiny, so consider adding matt or softer textures. And contrasting heights will add interest too. >
COMPOSITION & COLOUR
Balance is all important when it comes to arrangement – but either a symmetrical or an asymmetrical look can work. A collection of items on one end of the mantelpiece can be effectively balanced by one strong item on the other end. Groups of three or five items work well in an arrangement, says Cathy, but avoid clutter at all costs.
When styling a mantelpiece it’s best to stick to a simple colour palette, but if you choose one or two items that tie into the colour scheme of the room, the whole thing will hang together better.
If your fireplace is not in use, it’s a good idea to fill it. Cathy suggests lightly spraying pine cones with gold or silver paint and trailing some ivy through them – there is some excellent artificial foliage available. Other options could include grapevine cuttings wound into a ball or even a wreath.
THIS PAGE (from top) Lighting sconces, either candlelit or electric, can add atmosphere to a mantelpiece arrangement. The colours in this bold artwork are repeated in both the mantelpiece and the items on it, creating a harmonious composition.