Have you ever noticed how the way that a group of objects are assembled on a mantelpiece (or any flat surface in your home for that matter) can have such a creative impact on a room? In fact, the symmetry and grace of a collection of objects on the mantelpiece can truly set the tone for the space. We like to collect photos of beautiful mantelpieces to have on file so we can refer to them for inspiration when we’re are faced with decorating a mantelpiece for an installation (as we are this week!). There are a few specific tips we come back to again and again when styling a mantlepiece and we’re sharing them with you today! Below is a mantelpiece in an apartment we designed a few years ago. Use an eclectic mix of different scale pieces. It’s okay to incorporate a small number of different pieces on the mantel, just as long as they are different heights, weights, and materials. The Budda sculpture on this mantel rests comfortably beside a tall, clear glass vessel while the the branches are contributing that natural, sculptural moment that every room needs. Feature a statement piece of art. In this room (above), designed by Carrier and Company, the art above the fireplace is the only strong color in the room. When using an eye-catching piece like this, it’s best to keep the other accessories nearby simple and subtle. They’ve used small natural elements as well as pure white pottery to balance out the drama.Assemble a collection of the same items. This Mariette Himes-Gomez room has a mantelpiece brought to life by a collection of artifacts. There is power in numbers, and any collection of beloved artifacts or objects works well together when assembled in a thoughtful way.Go glam, but be consistent. We love how designers Kirsten Fitzgibbons and Kelly Ford use brilliant metals to create luminous interiors. This mantelpiece, in a room for this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House, caught everyone’s attention for its successful use of metal materials on an entire wall including on top of and surrounding the mantelpiece.
Fill in with flowers. Ashley Whittaker created this beautiful mantelscape using a beautiful vintage Venetian mirror and sconce, but the show-stopper here was filling the pair of porcelain cache pots with gorgeous graphic foliage. Flowers and foliage are a great way to fill in empty visual space when you’re in a pinch. Odd numbers are better than even. When accessorizing any surface, odd numbers of objects look more natural and less forced. For Abby Larson’s home (above), which we designed last summer, we used two glass bottles (from West Elm!) on one side and one vintage vessel on the other. This works well because we used three different objects (a pair of tall and slender pieces on the left, and a shorter, very sculptural piece on the right). This would not have worked had we used three identical objects.Keep it simple. This works in part because the mirror is such an amazing piece. It can stand alone without any fuss. In the right space, sometimes all you need is nothing at all.