Images of autumn are tough to beat: wearing a warm sweater on a cool day, snuggling down with a good book as the fireplace casts warmth and light into the room. Although every season has its perks, there is something about fall that brings out the nester in all of us.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace, you have been blessed with a built-in decorating tool. The mantel decor can be changed seasonally to alter the tone of the room, to add bit of panache to an otherwise staid feature.
With a touch of imagination, your fireplace mantel can be transformed on even the strictest of budgets.
A Touch of Fall
You need just three items to create a free-flowing natural art display: pinecones, long-needle evergreen branches, and green apples. Drape the evergreen branches across the mantel. Don’t worry about them being uniform; casually strung looks fine. For a more dramatic look, allow some branches to hang down from the mantle, while others stick up. Place pinecones anyplace that strikes your fancy among the branches and place clusters of green apples along the display.
Book Lover’s Mantel
Reading by firelight is as ancient a ritual as reading itself. Celebrate your love of books by decorating a mantel that cleverly displays them. Gather some of your favorite leather-bound and hardback books. Create three distinct “displays” that will work together. For example, on the far right side of the mantel use bookends to hold four or five of your tallest volumes up. In the middle, lay several books on top of one another and place them at an angle, with the spines facing the room. Place one single distinctive item — like an old lantern or single candelabra- slightly behind the books. On the left of the mantel, stand several more books upright, but use a small stack of books on either side to hold the upright books in place. Place something small but interesting atop one set of horizontal books. An old pair of reading glasses, a small sculpture — anything that adds visual interest will work well.
As with anything you add to your mantel, remember that odd numbers work best. When it comes to an interesting display, it is the varying heights, different textures, and the fact that you’re not trying to “match” everything that draws the eye.
Consider your fireplace mantel the “personality” of your room. It can be changed on a whim, but still make a powerful decorative statement.
Picture provided by Gerry Kichok