The fireplace is the focal point of any room, and most of us love decorating our mantels for every season, but mantels can be challenging to style.




I styled our guest room mantel for fall, and  I hope you will find some inspiration in this post to jump start your mantel styling and to encourage you to switch things up for this coming season. When we were looking for a new home, my one “must” was a large fireplace in the living room. {confession, ok…there were a few more “musts” but that was a major one!} I really wanted a fireplace in our bedroom and guestroom too, but that didn’t happen.  A few years ago on a buying trip in Europe, Mr. FGH fell in love with this carved antique mantel, and promptly bought it, saying he would make that fireplace happen in our bedroom. For now, it sits in the guest room, waiting.




Which suits me just fine, it’s another place to decorate!  Anyway, the thing about mantels is that they are fairly significant, they anchor and center your whole room. I played around with our guestroom mantel and came up with a few tips to make styling your mantel easier.




Balance.  I am most drawn to  symmetry in design. Most of my favorite French Country designed rooms often have perfectly symmetrical decorations on the mantel. But you have to take into account the rest of the room. If there are already lots of other pairs in the room {lamps, topiaries etc.} then an asymmetrical mantel will create a huge statement, and feel less matchy.




For this mantel the potted French Lavenders create a symmetrical look. I liked this arrangement, although it’s a little busy. The lavender color adds a pop of a different color, it’s a perfect “transitional” mantel.  I leaned a painting against the wall, stacked a few antique French books to elevate the French ironstone tureen, and added white pumpkins, and a favorite wispy faux garland. {Of course after I took all the photographs, I realized that the pumpkins behind the squirrel should be a little more to the right of him!}


Leaning the painting against the wall gives the mantel some dimension. Because I like to change things quite a lot, I try not to hang things over this mantel with nails. Technically you could leave the area in front of the painting empty, and only style the sides.  Or, only add other things to the front of it like this. Most of the time, when you are layering, uneven numbers of objects look the best. I love how the colors in this mantel arrangement all compliment each other, although it’s busy, it still looks relatively calm.




Vary Heights.


Any mantel will look more interesting if you vary the height of the pieces you arrange on it. If your chosen decorative pieces are somewhat the same height, you can use a stack of books, like I did here to elevate the Limoges Tureen, or a little stool or chair. Anything can be used to elevate your decorative objects.






Use things with different textures to create a seamless, interesting arrangement on your fall mantel.  On our mantel, the ironstone is glossy, the twiggy garland adds lots of fall texture, and the feathers add another textural addition to your fall design.




This isn’t difficult, and should be fun! Just move things around until you get the look that you love, it can be a little quirky, as long as it best expresses YOU!  Creating a home that you love isn’t about being perfect, it’s about creating a place that feels authentic to you and your family, it should evolve as you do.  I hope you start creating a little fall magic at home, and if you have a mantel, it’s a great place to begin!  Once “real” pumpkins become available, I will buy those, and add a larger white one to one side of the arrangement.




Which of these mantel arrangement do you like the best and why?  I’d love to know, I haven’t settled on one yet and could use your help.


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