Fireplaces are a favoured architectural and design piece for homeowners. They offer style, while also contributing to the emotional element of a home by providing a sense of warmth, communion and gathering – all of which are essential in turning a property into a place where you want to live.
Most fireplaces have a mantel, and those mantels need to be styled. Failing to decorate these elements is a wasted opportunity. So, why not use these tips to make the most of all the style opportunities that your fireplace surrounds offer.
If you want to decorate your mantel with one central piece, then you need to go dramatic. This means selecting a design element (whether it’s a vase, a statute, or a piece of art) that is at least two thirds the size of the length of the mantel. If you opt for a design piece any smaller, it will be lost in comparison to the mantel itself. The placement of the design piece will differ depending on the room and its surrounds. More often that, placing the piece off to the side (rather than smack-bang in the middle) works best.
A large object can act as an anchor – mirrors or wreaths are common elements. If you're going large (as discussed above), you should always start with your anchor object because it will give you an idea of how much room you have work with without creating clutter.
Height creates visual interest in your mantel. You can use candlesticks or stacked books to create this interest. It also helps to link other elements and create that wonderful sense of unity that is so important to home design. Classic, leather-bound
books will create a great heritage look, while modern, brightly coloured books are ideal for a more modern fireplace surrounds.
The best way to avoid an overly-dominant anchor piece is to layer other details in front of it. Front the anchor with small personal items, like photos, art, letters or knick-knacks from important events.
There’s room for greenery on your mantel. It softens the space and studies have shown that natural design pieces make us feel more relaxed. When you combine that with the incredible natural
glow of a fireplace, you've got the right equation for relaxation
If order frightens you or neat, sleek lines make you feel anything but relaxed, you should focus on making your mantel asymmetric. You can do this by using an arrangement of various shaped pieces – for example, one side of the shelf could have a tall candlestick and the other a short, plump ornament. This idea of asymmetry is also essential in creating visual movement. If everything is the same size, the eye tracks along the same level meaning the surrounds aren't visually-exciting.
Follow these tips, and you'll enjoy a fireplace surrounds and mantelpiece that does as much entertaining as the fire itself.
Remember, your fire won't always be on so it can't always be the star of the show. When it's not aglow, you still want your incredible architectural and design piece to be doing its job, so ensure your fireplace is expertly-decorated.