Think of your fireplace mantel as the ultimate foundation for art that reflects your personality. You simply begin with a mantel you adore and inspiration can be found anywhere. Consider a hobby you enjoy, a place you loved visiting, or even a mood you hope to evoke. There are limitless options when it comes to creating a one-of-a-kind mantle.
Why celebrate your family history like an “ordinary” person when there are so many extraordinary things you can do to bring that history to life? Scour flea markets and antique stores for old frames of different sizes. Fill those frames with black and white copies of family photos, reaching back as far as you can reach in family history. Don’t worry about organizing the photos or placing them in any particular order. Simply arrange them in clusters of three. Between each cluster, display something else that represents your family: your grandfather’s pipe resting on a cookbook once owned by a great-aunt; a pair of reading glasses perched on an old schoolbook. The idea is to mix and match pieces from as many generations as possible, without worrying about the rules.
A Curious Reflection
Gone are the days when everything on a fireplace mantel was lined up neatly and carefully displayed. Pull a collection of mirrors together — old, new, wooden, metal, ornate, and plain. Hang the largest mirror above the fireplace. Choose a few smaller mirrors that appeal to your aesthetic sense and stand them on the mantel. Odd numbers tends to draw the eye, so shoot for one mirror on one side of the mantel and three on the other. Reflection from the windows as well as the glow from the fireplace will be enhanced by the way they play off the mirrors. For extra drama, add a large candle or oil lamp to the side of the mantel displaying one single mirror.
Perhaps you once took a dream vacation or there is a city you have always wanted to visit. Celebrate that place on your mantel! Be creative: frame a map of the city, stack books about the place, and add pieces reminiscent of the art created there. You can even stack small pieces of old-time hand luggage on one end of the mantel for an extra bit of whimsy.
Color My World
Psychology teaches us that different colors evoke different feelings. It explains why a soothing shade of green is used to cover the walls of so many hospitals. Choose a color that makes you smile and dedicate your fireplace mantel to it. Gather together everything you can find in that color and don’t worry about what they have in common. The only trait they need to share is their color. Pottery, books, candles, frames, clocks – anything that appeals to your senses can find a home on that “all the same color” mantel.