I hope you all had a great Easter weekend with your families. I spent part of the weekend playing with redecorating my mantel to welcome spring. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a mantel to decorate, so I’m really enjoying the opportunity to change up the look frequently. I took lots of photos so you can follow my thought process as I tried on a few different looks.
The ‘Before’ Blahs
The mantel decor was unremarkable – though I usually like simple, uncluttered mantels, this is a little too plain. And I still have the gold candles left over from Christmas! Time to freshen and brighten up the whole look!
That series of pictures has been over the mantel since we moved in – time for a change. I went ’shopping’ in the house – raided the bedroom, the kitchen, the guest room and even the office. When I think spring and bright, it’s green and white. I discovered I have very little white and my greens are limited too, but I pulled what I have and started experimenting and here’s what developed.
I cut some branches from the yard to put in my tall lime green vases; found some tin trays and filled a couple of vases with mixed green decorative balls. The tall tree to the right of my fireplace always makes a strong statement and the extra height of the green vases gives some balance. But it’s a little stark and still no white.
I found this tray in the kitchen and shifted around my filled vases. Removed a tray (I have an idea for it!) Still not enough white.
Added a white vase from the closet and moved the vase of balls but it was too short so I used some glass taper holders to raise it a bit.
If I take the ivy out of the tray, it gives me an opportunity to add another hobnail piece to carry white across and to make a little more of a “collection” statement.
Books with covers that reinforce my spring color idea plus a couple white hobnail pieces of my mom’s and a tilted tray for a more dynamic presentation – it’s all starting to pull together. Remember that 3rd tray that I removed earlier? I thought if I hung it on the wall it would fill in some of the vertical space…..
Here’s the overall finished look. Things to notice: variety of heights from quite tall (vases with branches) to small (little vase with 2 balls); plant life (both real and silk); variety of textures (slick vases, rough textured vases, tin, smooth platter); color carried throughout grouping (white spaced from one end to the other).
Hubby wasn’t thrilled with this one – he though it kind of country for our style and too cluttered. It seems I erred too far from simplicity.
Again, I shopped the house and found a number of things in this soft blue-green, not quite teal color. We love the tall raku vase with copper accents, so I started with that and the extra tall branches. In this early version, it feels like stuff is just lined up in a row.
I added a stack of rocks to reinforce the outdoors/natural theme and layer something in front of the square plate. The two small glass vases with decorative balls were the same height so to vary that, I turned one glass jar upside down and stacked the other – doubling it’s height – much better!
The last addition that completed this arrangement is the small picture above the plant. Much too small to normally go over a mantel of this size, it becomes part of the grouping by being hung low, close to the plant. It helps visually complete a loose triangle shape established by the tall branches over to the orchid plant. The stacked books again helped create height where needed.
That mantel look is okay and I like having the raku vase out of the bedroom to enjoy, but I’m not feelin’ it. Time for one last effort. Keeping a similar color scheme, I decide to try a centered piece of art, again not my usual but the whole point is to try something new and fresh for spring. Here goes………
Since spring is about new growth and plants, I added a silk lavender plant to the top of that unsightly speaker (we all have our crosses to bear!). A pot of grasses is on the hearth and ivy on the mantel. Visually balanced, a dab of color – a good start.
On a shorter mantel, this might be enough but since I still have a couple feet on each side, it looks a little skimpy and unfinished. What can I add? I’ll bring back the square plate and add something from the patio for height on the right.
While the extra height is the right idea and I like the contrast of shape and material, it feels too apart from the rest of the arrangement.
See what I mean? It’s much darker in color than anything else, and because of the stacked books, it can’t snug up and layer properly with the other pieces. The plate fits the color story but feels a little out there on it’s own. Let’s see what I can do.
I totally reworked the right side, eliminating the visually lightweight vase and replacing it with a darker version of my color palette. The branches cut from my yard are a better solution for height and can fit up close behind the pineapple finial. I like this solution much better.
On the left side, I added an acanthus scroll bookend in front of the plate so it didn’t feel so alone. Notice the variety of shades of blue-green, the variety of textures and shapes. Overall, a good mix.
The final, final look. I like the modern combination of shapes and colors, there is plenty of green plants to signify spring, there’s good contrast of shape and texture and it fills the length of the mantel nicely.
Which treatment appeals to you? Why? Can you identify some elements from each look that appeal to you? This weekend why don’t you give it a try? And the best part is, you don’t really need a mantel. The same technique and accessorizing “rules” work for a console table, the top of a buffet, an entry table or even coffee table. (You can also read about how to create a ledge or potshelf arrangement if you CLICK HERE) Go ahead, shake things up and put your “spring” foot forward – and share the results with us.
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You can also see more great mantel decor ideas, trials and tribulations at The Nester’s mantel party if you CLICK HERE. The Inspired Room is also sharing lots of posts about inspiring home decor so wander over there.