There is nothing more cosy, relaxing and inviting than sitting by a beautiful, open, crackling fire when its cold outside!
While the fire mantel originated as a functional hood to catch smoke coming out of the fireplace, it has since evolved into a decorative statement with options to fit every taste. Mantels often incorporate the architecture of two or more periods or cultures and continues to symbolise a feeling of warmth and an invitation to gather with your loved ones.
We believe a beautifully styled mantel and fireside is the highlight of the room and functions as a versatile design feature to celebrate the seasons and showcase interesting vignettes. Here, see our step-by-step guide to styling the mantel and fireside.
Styling Formula: 1. Mantel Styling & Design // + 2. Anchor Piece // + 3. Lighting // + 4. Accessorise // + 5. Layering // + 6. Fireside Styling
STYLING TIP #1: MANTEL STYLE
The mantel offers a unique opportunity in its design to showcase the fine architectural elements within your home.
Mantels made from stone, marble, brick, granite, timber or limestone are commonly seen, highlighting the magnificence of the room. Periodic styles such as Georgian, Victorian, Federation, and more recently modern and minimalistic designs are common, which can be complimented or juxtaposed with decorative accessories.
STYLING TIP #2: ANCHOR PIECE
Anchor pieces compliment the lofty effect of the mantel and may include a large mirror, artwork, wreath, clock, vintage collectable or simply provide an opportunity to showcase existing architectural features.
Anchor Piece Tips:
- Wide & high-sitting mantels: a large horizontal artwork or ledge gallery wall are preferable.
- Narrow & low-sitting mantels: opt for a tall and vertical piece to draw the eye up.
- Dimensions: a general guideline is for your anchor to be no more than two-thirds the width of the mantel.
- Mirrors create visual depth and add light reflection but be mindful of what is is reflecting.
- Round and ornate mirrors add personality and detail to angular mantels with clean lines.
- Rectangular mirrors bring form & structure to mantels that are composed of unfinished, organic edges and shapes.
STYLING TIP #3: LIGHTING
- LED picture lights can be positioned in the top centre to highlight your anchor piece.
- Accent lighting: Wall sconces & mounted candelabras can be placed on either side to frame your mantel for a symmetrical effect.
- Mood Lighting: Crystal or iron candleholders, lanterns and tea-lights function as decorative objects and provide soft illumination.
- Ambient lighting: Crystal chandeliers or statement ceiling pendants can be complimented by a mirror to circulate the light throughout the room.
STYLING TIP #4: ACCESSORISE
We always accessorise with something loved, something living, and something with lustre, balancing old and new items to achieve a look that is visually considered. We work with no more than 3-5 items, as the principle of less is more, is especially true when styling the mantel.
If your mantel shelf is shallow, incorporate flat objects leaning against the anchor piece to create the illusion of depth.
Fresh or faux foliage, potted plants and flowers add vibrancy and celebrates the seasons.
Vases, art prints, books, objet d'art, candleholders, ceramics, marble obelisks, baskets and trays for lighters and matches.
Something with Lustre:
Mirrored boxes, crystal glassware, metallic accents, glossy ceramics or reflective photo frames bring a sense of glamour and charm.
STYLING TIP #5: LAYERING
To balance the visual weight of your design, layer items of different heights, shapes, sizes and textures.
- Step one: add a tall piece such as a marble obelisk or large vase with long stems to draw the eye up and appreciate the sale of the room.
- Step two: add in something short and horizontal, such as a rectangular tray or trinket box, stacked books or a horizontal vase.
- Step three: natural found objects such as coral, shells or driftwood encourage visual movement of the eye and softens the look.
- Asymmetry: A relaxed, laid-back feel and can be achieved by positioning your anchor slightly off-centre or juxtaposing the scale of items.
- Symmetry: Frame your anchor piece with identical decor or items that echo each other in height, colour, or type for a curated feel.
Photo Source: © Suzie Anderson Home
Photo Source #1: Thousewell #2: Park and Oak
STYLING TIP #6: FIRESIDE TOOLS & STYLING
A great fire screen and some interesting fireplace tools are another way to take your styling up a notch whilst embracing functionality. Frame the fireplace with window box seating, built-in log holders, bookshelves or cabinets.
Alternatively, free-standing pieces such as accent & fireside chairs, benches, stools, log baskets and fire tools including dust-pants and pokers are both a stylish and practical option.
If your fireplace is not functional or you are looking for styling solutions for the warmer months, stacked books, a sculptural piece, woven baskets or a vessel with seasonal blooms can create a collected focal point.
Photo Source: Emma Lewis Photography
Use an eye-catching lighting fixture to elevate the room & make it the focal point.
Lighting changes how we see a space and how we feel when we are in that space.
There are 4 main lighting styles; Accent Lighting, Ambient Lighting, Task Lighting and Mood Lighting. Use accent lights such as wall sconces to frame an artwork, mirror or mantelpiece. Ambient lighting is fundamental to a properly lit room and provides the overall illumination through lighting fixtures such as Ceiling Pendants and Chandeliers.
Task Lighting brightens areas where routine tasks are performed and makes a nice addition to the ambient lighting throughout your home. Task lighting includes adjustable floor or table lamps. Lastly, Mood Lighting is where you can get creative with pretty candleholders, hurricane lamps or decorative lights that function both as decorative objects and provide soft illumination.