5 Steps to Decorating Your Mantel for Spring
Spring has almost sprung in Roanoke Valley. And after the hopes of snow melts away and the green grass and tulips start to bloom, we all get ready to freshen things up.
With spring comes a new beginning. And with new beginnings comes new opportunities to decorate our mantels.
Decorating your mantel for spring may seem like a daunting task because it demands a big statement made on a shallow surface. If you’re looking at your bare mantle wondering which direction to take towards freshening things up for the season, you’re not alone.
But you’re also in luck!
I’ve made this guide to help get you started. With this guide and beautiful pictures for inspiration, you’ll have your mantle as a gorgeous focal point, looking like it came straight out of a magazine.
Step 1: Start with a Blank Slate
Ground Zero. Winter is gone and so are the decorations. The best place to start is completely from the beginning. So remove everything, give your mantle a nice dusting, and step back to see what you’re working with.
Collect Items with a Similar Feel
Gather all the objects that you wish to display and organize them by color palette and style so everything you choose goes together.
Step 2: Pick a Centerpiece
The centerpiece is one of the most important pieces of your design.
Think of it this way: it is the focal point of your focal point. I like to use the centerpiece as inspiration for the rest of the mantel design.
This is a great way to add some major height to the space, so make sure your centerpiece is big enough.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a piece that is one-half to two-thirds the width of the mantel shelf. The height really depends on the ceiling height, so you have more flexibility here. Just make sure you get the width right first.
Here are some ideas for great springtime mantel centerpieces:
Add a Wreath
Who says that a wreath is only for winter? When spring finally “springs,” nothing quite says “spring” like flowers.
Bunches and bunches of flowers.
If you’re looking for a fun and vibrant centerpiece, consider adding a large floral wreath over your mantel to add lots of colors.
Just like with winter wreaths, it’s not very hard to make, especially with great guides like this one from Ann Drake.
Hang a Mirror
A nice mirror can do wonders. In addition to serving as your mantel’s centerpiece, it can make your room look larger. Mirrors also reflect both natural and artificial light, which can make your room brighter.
Consider using a focal point and angle your mirrors toward it to give the illusion of depth.
Show Off Some Art
You don’t have to be a fine art critic like Ongo Gablogian to appreciate or feature art in your home. Decorating with art is a fun way to inject some personality and flavor into your room. In fact, above your mantle is the perfect place to show off your artistic taste.
If you choose to use art as your focal point, make sure the color in the pieces matches the palette in your living room.
Use Your Pictures
Your fireplace is typically the focal point for gatherings with family and friends. So what better way to display memories for those dearest with you than over your mantle?
You can easily frame family portraits or candid photos to hang above your mantle.
This “Time,” hang a Clock
A decorative wall clock can make a stylish and practical centerpiece above your fireplace. It’s always useful to have a clock in your main room.
Plus, a lot of decorative clocks are oversized so it’s pretty easy to find a large clock that fits above your mantle.
Step 3: Add Florals, Greenery, or other “Live” Elements
You can never go wrong with flowers or plants. Plants and flower arrangements are perfect for a touch of spring freshness.
Besides, we all think of flowers when spring rolls around, so why not highlight them on the mantle?
Adding a “living” element also keeps the look from feeling too static and predictable. You can take floral stems or greenery and add them to vases.
Of course, the stems on each side won’t match exactly, but make sure the arrangements are balanced as far as height and fullness are concerned.
Step 4: Maintain Balance
The easiest way to create a stylish mantle is with a symmetrical arrangement. Simply put, whatever you have on the left side, put on the right side.
But sometimes, the symmetrical look may be too perfect or buttoned up for your style, so you can aim for what I like to call balanced asymmetry.
Whether you go for perfect symmetry or balanced asymmetry, there are still some guidelines that you can follow to get a fantastic look.
Balance Visual Weight
The most important thing to consider with your design is balance. You don’t want one side to appear lighter or heavier or taller or shorter than the other side.
You want to make sure that your objects are similar in height and width, whether they are the same objects or not.
Group Objects in Odd Numbers
I find that decorative items always look best when grouped in odd numbers, like in threes. For the best results, I recommend varying heights and dimensions.
Elevate Smaller Decor
To finish off your balanced look, add some decor to the center of the mantel. You can use a decorative box to elevate a smaller object and give it more prominence.
Adding height also allows the smaller object to layer nicely in front of your centerpiece.
Step 5: Keep it Simple, Keep it Fresh
It takes a lot of work to make your mantle the focal point that you deserve. It doesn’t take that much work, though, to ruin it.
As I mentioned before, decorating your mantle is especially hard because you have such a shallow shelf to work with. Because of this, it is very easy to use small objects to fill space.
The problem is that the mantle is very wide relative to its depth.
So it takes a lot of small objects to fill the space, which leads to visual clutter. Small objects also tend to look too short, so they don’t help fill the vertical space.
To keep your mantle from looking cluttered, use large decorative items.
If you do want to use smaller items, consider using another object to give the smaller piece more height and added dimension.
Follow a Color Palette
In Step 1, I mentioned collecting items with similar feels. This included color palettes.
Unless the colors are within the same color family, they will compete for attention and create visual noise.
To get started, with choosing a color palette, I recommend choosing a color scheme from the largest pattern in the space, like your centerpiece. Simply pick colors that you like from the pattern and find a color palette that matches.
Water the Plants (or buy fake ones)
Springtime is synonymous with rebirth. Keep that feeling alive by keeping your plants alive! Follow the directions for keeping your plants healthy and watered.
Or just buy fake plants. There are a lot of companies that specialize in making very real looking fake flowers.
Buying fake flowers also helps give you annual decorations. When you’re done, put them in a box, and pull them out next spring. Nice and easy.
So far, if you’ve followed along, you’re probably getting a really good idea of how to transform your mantle. But there are still a few things to keep in mind before you get to decorating.
Don’t Put Objects in a Straight Line
Creating a line is a very common mistake. Instead of arranging your decor in a straight line, consider clustering your objects and stagger them across the depth of the mantle.
Sure, the mantle is pretty shallow (mentioned only a couple times already…), but an easy “hack” is to pick decor with a depth less than half the depth of the mantle. This will give you some wiggle room to move the objects backward or forward.
Bear in Mind Your Mantle Size
Choose items that are proportionate to the size of your mantle. Remember, balance is everything in this game so you want to keep your objects balanced with the actual fireplace too.
Overall Room Decor
This one is pretty important too. You want to match the room that you’re decorating for. The mantle should complement the room. If your room is mid-century modern, have a mid-century modern look to your mantle.
If you’re going for more of a Bohemian look, stick with that for your mantle too.
Farmhouse? Urban modern? Shabby chic? You get the point. Make it match.
At Patriot Chimney, safety really is everything. Springtime may still get cold, and you may still want to use your fireplace.
Whatever you choose to use to decorate, just make sure you are mindful of flammable items.
No matter how good it looks now, it looks awful burned up.
I hope you can get some good use out of these tips. If you think of something that I missed out on, leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to help.
Share with some of your friends that you think could use these tips.
Finally, send me some pictures of how you’ve used these.