By Kelly O’Roark
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your bedroom, you’ve most likely used it at full capacity this past winter. Now that spring is here, and as the weather starts warming up, the need for a glowing fireplace will soon be replaced with the fresh air from your open bedroom windows. Even though you may not need your fireplace for functionality purposes all year round, it can serve as a beautiful focal point and up your bedroom’s aesthetic game when you pay attention to the top.
Showing some love to the empty mantel can take your fireplace from “whatever…” to “wow!” in just a few easy steps. If you’re looking for a chic, cultivated vibe, then look no further. Here’s how to take your bland mantel and turn it into work of sophisticated art:
Step 1: Find Some Sophisticated Décor and Start from the Outside In
Before we get started on the décor, it’s best to note that if your fireplace is old and outdated, and doesn’t actually give off heat, it’s tempting to use it as a catch-all for clutter. If you want to decorate the mantel, but are struggling with the overall look of the fireplace itself, find ways to update your fireplace so that it doesn’t look dusty and forgotten. Even a little elbow grease can sometimes be just what your fireplace needs to transform it from looking like an afterthought into a stunning focal point. OK, now back to the décor!
When trying to achieve a cultured design, it’s best to decorate a fireplace mantle with décor that exudes modernity with an old-world twist. Items such as hardcover books, topiaries, intricate vases, table clocks, small statues, pillar candles, and so on, are prime examples of décor that can capture the best of both worlds. As a side note, you don’t want your bedroom fireplace mantel décor to create an overcrowded or cluttered look, so it’s best to limit the list to six or seven items. In addition to that, make sure that you choose décor items that have varying heights in order to create visual interest!
Once you’ve chosen the proper décor, place the two tallest items on either side of the mantel. Since I had a set of tall, slender vases, I put the tallest one on the left, and a topiary on the right. Then I took the medium sized vase and put in next to the tall one and put the shortest vase next to the topiary to balance out the height variations on both sides. It’s best to have general symmetry while still maintaining distinct heights for each piece to avoid an overly matchy-matchy look.
Step 2: Continue Placing Your Décor in Height Order
When it comes to fireplace mantel decorating ideas, you not only want to have height variations in your design, but you also want to have a balance between shapes, textures, and colors. On the left side of the mantel, I placed two hardback books in the upright position next to the vases since they were a medium-height décor piece. Not only do the books provide rich, bold colors, but the clean vertical lines are a beautiful contrast to the hourglass curves of the vase. If you don’t have any hardcover books, you can go to your nearest arts and crafts store and buy faux books that are made from cardboard, particle board, or wood.
Pro tip: It’s best to have books without a lot of writing on the spine to not detract from the other décor pieces. Again, we don’t want the design on the mantel to look too busy!
On the right side of the mantel, I decided not to use a medium-height décor piece to help the aforementioned visual interest. There will be four items on the left (I counted both books as one décor piece), and three items on the right to create a modern look that doesn’t have perfect symmetry.
Step 3: Place the Shortest Décor Items on the Mantel
On the left side next to the books, I placed a small table clock with an intricate design, which provides a great contrast to the solid-colored books. It also brings out some of the copper tones in the artwork that’s hanging above the mantel and complements the subtle splashes of copper in the vases.
On the right side, I placed a gold elephant figurine to provide interesting geometric angles and a bit of eye-catching shine with the metallic finish. Again, it brings out some of the metallic tones in the artwork above the mantel and also provides a visual boost against the more subdued, matte colors of the topiary. Adding one metallic piece into the mix is always a great way to add some flair without making the design look gaudy, and the striking form of an elephant, giraffe, or some other majestic creature rounds out the overall cultivated look.
Turning your master bedroom fireplace mantel into a sophisticated work of art is simple when you follow these basic rules: implement height variations, choose contrasting pieces in regards to shape and pattern, and don’t overcrowd. (Remember: Less is more.)
What type of sophisticated pieces have you found for your bedroom fireplace mantel? Share your photos in the comment section below!
Images used with permission, courtesy of Kelly O'Roark