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With Fall around the corner, I'm starting to think about building our first fire.  Honestly, it's not because I'm looking forward to the change in season but more to do with the fact that we just had our fireplace completely redone and I can't wait to use it.  I've also been giving a lot of thought on how to accessorize the mantel.  BHG, recently published an article on the different approaches you can take.  Below is the before and after pics of our fireplace followed by the 6 different ways you can accessorize your own fireplace.

Hope you find some inspiration and don't forget check out the Tips for Accessorizing a Mantel at the end of the post.   PLEASE send me ( pictures of your fireplace to either post or get my two cents on!!

After redo

I'm sure I'll change the mantel accessories many times but for now I'm liking the clean simple look.  JC, the stone mason did a great job, especially considering I picked hearth stones that weren't all the same height.

Here is the BEFORE picture...

1.  SYMMETRY - a mirror image arrangement of parts or elements.  This is one of my favorite looks because its orderly, calming to look and pretty easy to achieve. After seeing this BGH picture below I now want to add a simple picture or two above my boat on my mantel.  

This picture tweaks symmetry a bit.  It uses 2 like items, the terra cotta pots, but they're not identical.

A traditional look from BGH.

This was one of my own inspirational pictures for our new fireplace that uses some symmetry.  

Here's a mantel I spotted in the Washington Design Center lobby with the same look. 

2.  ASYMMETRICAL - the placement of different objects on either side of a center point where they balance each other, also called informal balance.  This is a hard look to achieve.  The tendency is to put everything in a straight line.  With a little practice you can get the right balance and proportion.

3.  LAYERS - Displaying a grouping of items without being too cluttered.  Another tough look to achieve but if you vary the height of objects and leave some room in between objects it will look interesting without being to hectic.

5.  REPETITION -  rhythm is created where shapes, forms, lines, or colors are repeated.  Another favorite look of mine from BGH.  Use 3 or 4 items to get the look.

6.  MINIMALIST - less is more.  This look can be used for both contemporary and traditional settings.  Makes a bold statement just make sure it matches the look of your decor.

Here's a contemporary look by BGH.

Here's a more traditional look by Michael S. Smith (another favorite designer of mine that I'll be highlighting soon.  I'm waiting for all the publicity to die down over his not so stellar redo of the Oval Room)

Tips for Accessorizing a Mantel

  • Keep it neat and orderly if using lots of objects or collections
  • Start with a focal point and work outward
  • Group smaller objects together for bigger impact
  • Group objects in 3s or 5s
  • Put taller objects in back and vary height of objects
  • Use books to raise items and vary height
  • Vary shapes by mixing round, rectangular, square, irregular
  • Small objects tend to get lost on a mantel