Fireplace Mantels

As if I were going to be preaching today on some sort of other mantle/mantel?

I cannot begin to tell you how much painted walls have changed my decorating life.  Even though I talk about that very fact all the time, sometimes I forget that it applies to myself as well. I think I kind of gave up and settled for renter beige walls for so long that I fell off the painting wagon.  Paint–it is SO WORTH IT!  $25 and 3 hours and you have a new room.  It doesn’t get easier than that.

So, over the last 5 days I’ve rearranged our mantel no less than 4 times each day.  I’m tempted to start a blog all about mantel decorating but that might be a little much for me.  Although, if you know of a blog all about mantels, I’d totally read every post.

I have a feeling that our mantel is not going to be something that I arrange and it stays put for 3 months at a time.  It’s too tempting to play with.  I feel like I’m 13 again with a new Barbie house.  And yes, I said 13, I was quite the nerd.  Now 13 year olds are like getting manicures and starting businesses and mentoring singers on American Idol.  I got a Barbie and the Rockers for my 13th birthday and couldn’t wait for my friends to go ahead and leave so I could set up their rockin’ studio.

Anyhow, since I’m suddenly thristin’ to see tons of photos of mantels I thought next Thursday we’d have a mantel link up party.  You write a post and take some photos of your mantel and we all link up and show off our style.

Here are some things I keep in mind when I’m messing around with my mantel:

1. Scale–you want big stuff, you want small stuff, you want medium stuff

2. Layering–don’t be afraid to put stuff in front of other stuff

3. Height Variations–make sure you have tall stuff and short stuff

4. Texture–shiny, smooth, rough, glass, wood, soft, sharp? I can’t think of any more textures but you get the idea

5. Color–consider repeating the same color a few times

6. Natural–try to add in one thing from nature

7. Meaningful–kid made pottery, a grandma’s silver rattle, quirky photo, framed letter

PS: Andrew Garcia.  Love him.

Another PS, Layla recently did a Mantel Mania Series if you need some to die for ideas.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Would you mind to show a pic that shows better the frame and what is inside? I have recently purchased a few vintage gesso frames (frames only) and would like to use them that way with some type object inside. Thanks!

    I love the robin’s egg blue.


  2. I dread my mantle. I put things up there and walk away for months on end… never getting it “quite right.” Mine is bare and not pretty – it’s the ugly stepchild of the room stuck in the corner. I’m to the point that I’m ready to rip out the fireplace! But… alas… it’s there and hiding, hoping no one sees it.

    Thanks for the inspiration! You’re always welcome to come rearrange at my house and get it all prettied up for me!

  3. we could have been best buds. I also played with barbies way past my prime. I’d have to have my sister go to the store and buy a new barbie for me because I was too old…
    Love the mantle ‘guidelines’- and I think I will have to put painting on my to do list- near the top- although it will take me longer than 3 hours with 2 little people underfoot. :)

  4. I was a Barbie girl, too. Spent hours setting everything up with some elaborate story in my mind, but honestly, I don’t recall ever moving them around and having them talk to each other. It was all about the set up, the moving of furniture and picking out of tiny shoes. I really wanted the Barbie DreamHouse and had to settle for the Townhouse and a silver Corvette. When I was about 11, I once informed my parents that Barbie was going to drive her Corvette to Hawaii.

    Yeah, too much Barbie, not enough geography.

    As for decorating mantels, I’m the opposite of you right now. I just want to find an arrangement I like and leave it there. I know mantels should be fun. But somehow, my mantel has become an albatross.

    The walls and your mantel look great, btw!

  5. Love your guidelines!! Mind if I apply them to my ledge shelf in my living room? You see I am mantleless….yep no fireplace for me…. :(

  6. And do you and Kimba (A Soft Place to Land) always think alike? She started a mantle linky this morning! ROFL!

  7. Oh good grief. I can’t believe we’re wearing the same dress today. I’m so embarrassed.

  8. your mantle is lovely and great inspiration for me!

    I do have a question – how in the world do you paint a room in only three hours? It looks like that was a pretty big room that you painted! Maybe I am just a super slow painter.

  9. I love mantels as well! In fact.. I have a few posts about (other peoples) mantles for inspiration so I thought I’d share.

    I’ll for sure do the linky with mine too!

  10. I have the same affliction on my mantle as well…. I have posted a few pics of my “mantle” on my blog, and when I look at them, I feel like I still cannot get it right! So I look to you for inspiration!!!! BTW, I had the barbie and the rockers as well. We also had the cassette with the song……. you weren’t a nerd, just brave to mention it!!! Thanks for all your posts they are wonderful!

  11. I’m having the same dilema! I think I’ll get it together and stop by next Thursday.

  12. Boy, I can’t wait for your Linky party, not so I can join in, no way! But so I can get some good ideas. We have an annoying corner fireplace with a shallow mantel and a HUGE corner niche above it. Right now the T.V. is in the niche because we have no other place to put it, so I am very limited on what can adorn the mantel. Can’t cover up that basketball game!

    I would love some advice!

  13. I love playing with the mantel arrangement…I have a box of accessories that I lurve but having them all out would be cluttered and require an amount of dusting that just isn’t going to happen here, so they rotate on the mantel. And I apply the kids toybox rule – they all have to fit in the box, one in, one out for new items….sometimes.

  14. I too was a nerd still playing with Barbie at 13. And in my Barbie world, girl was deeply in love with my younger brother’s GI Joe – which completely infuriated my brother who was constantly snatching Joe away from me insisting he was NOT in love with her. Was too…

  15. Unfortunately my fireplace is one of those really “cool” stone all the way to the ceiling numbers. A friend of mine did make a great suggestion to turn a not so hip firplace to an inspiring focal point, I took all my many shaped and sized crosses and placed them on different stones. My husband was always begging me to stop buying said crosses complaining that we didn’t have enough room for them, with this idea I not only had plenty of room, but friends and family began gifting us with even more!! L’amor…

    It’ll be fun to show off next week!!

    Blessings All,

  16. Andrew is my favorite too!

  17. I have a MMD {Major Mantle Dilemma} I feel its bad enough to actually give it a name. LOL I have a HUGE mantle I am guessing its ten foot maybe even 12. No matter what I do it NEVER looks good. I hope someone can offer me some advice at the linky party!!

  18. Dutchess says:

    Beautiful, and the colors match your blog! No clashy clashy!

  19. Love this idea and can’t wait to see everyones’ pictures!

  20. Oh, I would love to see more on this topic. I currently have one totally bare mantle and one with 3 candle holders and Easter decor. I just have no idea what to do and need help!

  21. Our mantle has a moose on it. Try as I might that lil’ booger always seems to reappear. My husband always seems to stick him right back up there. Granted it is kinda cute, I now decorate around the moose. What we do for love…

  22. I just moved and no longer have a mantel, but plan on creating something similar with a floating shelf.
    and oh my goodness how I LOOOVED Barbie & The Rockers! Still have mine somewhere I think :)

  23. Oooh, I’m ahead of the game because I’ve already done my mantle/mantel post! ….But maybe I’m not done with it? So there might be another spring mantle post coming up…

    BTW, I, too, played with my Barbies until I was older. I still have them all in a box but am going to sell them! I also loved Barbie and the Rockers! She had that super long straight hair…and my older sis got a hold of her and cut off her hair real short. Made me mad! Not that I’m STILL mad, you know…


  24. this reminds me of a business that a friend of mine started….she’d go to people’s houses and decorate their mantles. But, instead of just having her friend there, they’d invite a handful of friends over for a “party” and she would teach them all how to decorate a mantle. The bonus for the hostess of this party was that she’d get her mantle decorated for free. The other guests could then “hire” my friend to decorate their mantle or host their own party.

    you have a gift, Nester…thanks for sharing it!

  25. dearest nester — I have considered emailing you before to ask about mantels… I have such a problem. My fireplace is in the corner and it doesn’t have a flat wall above it but a corner (where I presume I TV could go potentially) and to make matters worse the walls come together at different heights (vaulted ceiling); I don’t know if I am describing this adequately but anyway, I am clueless of what to do. Hang things? Put some strange plant thing in the center? What would you do!?!?

  26. My mantle is suffering from the “Plain-Because-We’re-Selling-Our-House” syndrome. I cannot wait to get into a new house and start decorating! I played with Barbies through 8th grade-my daughter is 12, and hasn’t picked up a Barbie in probably 3 years. SIgh.

  27. I love that you were still psyched about dolls at 13. I remember making new things for my doll’s house (a bookshelf) and re-arranging furniture and playing with the people inside until probably 6th grade. I think it’s sad that kids aren’t allowed to be kids that long anymore. I hold out hope that it will be different for my daughter.

  28. L-o-ve it!! And YES!! change it weekly if you want:)

    I don’t have a mantle, but I use the top of my old upright piano to decorate in that way…does that count????

  29. Oh I was still way in to Barbie at 13 – and lucky enough to have a best friend who was also! We used to set up elaborate rooms and layout whole house designs – so much fun! I still have all my Barbie stuff packed away in a trunk – hoping for a Granddaughter to pass it on to someday as neither one of my girls ever got into the Barbie fun.

  30. Mantles make me nuts!!….Like you, I may redo it 5 times a day until I get it right…and then when I wake up in the a.m….I start all over again…so…if you are seriously thinking of starting a blog just for mantles….the icon will be on my computer toolbar to view everyday for new hints….why are some of us so challenged when it comes these fireplace focal points?….HELP US NESTER!!!

  31. Just wanted to let you know that I gave you credit for the window mistreatment idea on my nursery in HGTV’s Rate My Space:–Green-Nursery/detail.esi?oid=14337886

  32. Do you have any sites that have good pictures of dressing up a “wood burning stove”? Mine is soooooo boring!

    By the way, your mantle and walls look great!

  33. Can you believe I (gasp) NEVER owned a Barbie?? I just wasn’t into it. I was such a tomboy (still am most of the time). Me and my mantle just don’t get along :) It’s always there taunting me and I can just never figure out what to do with it. I have extremely high ceilings in my living room and just don’t know what to do with the mantle. I am determined to figure it out (eventually). I think I’ll challenge myself to get something done with it so I can link up next Thursday. If nothing else maybe I’ll get some great ideas.

  34. Living in a rental with a paneled wall, brown mantle top and red brick fire place (complete with child safety gate to keep wee ones out of fireplace) I need all the mantle help I can get. I will try to come up with something inspiring for next week. I’m excited for the challengs. :)

  35. My sister and I had around 42 Barbies (that includes Kens and Skippers and everything). I know this because we once had a “wedding” for Barbie and Ken and needed to count everyone for the guest list. Mmkay…

    I love what you did with your mantel! You and Kimba are making me wish I had one today. :)

  36. I love this post! I’ve been wanting to do something with my mantel for a HUGE long time now, but first, the darn fireplace needs to be painted. It is brick and I have never painted brick before… Do you have any suggestions or pointers??

  37. …you’re so cute, I just wanna squeeze ya!

  38. it looks fab. check mine out! i’m starring at it right now and just love it!

  39. Loved this post! And I totally cracked up at the Barbie and the Rockers comment about wanting friends to leave so you could set things up. I remember wanting friends to leave so I could organize/ set up something too!:)

  40. You had me at Barbie & the Rockers….I played barbies for way too long too- and I still remember the Christmas I got the Barbie & the Rockers motorhome. Awesome memories!

  41. I have Jem and the Holograms on my mantel. She’s truly outrageous.
    I can’t WAIT to show you!

  42. I enjoy reading about mantels AND mantles! It’s all good.

    Can’t wait for the link up party. I have a mantel fetish as well. I’m pretty sure I have 987 different photos of all my mantel hoopla. I need to corral it into one post!

    I just posted some fun word art that would look fab on a minimalist mantel, which is soooo not me and SOOOOOOOO not you, but you should come over and see it anyway!

    Hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend with your sweet family.

  43. I like your mantle list. I think a lot of those rules work on a large scale for furniture arrangement as well. I would love to see you do a post on coffee tables. I have a square one and for some reason I just can’t get it right.
    Love it when you redecorate a room~it’s so much fun to see what you do and how you do it. So creative and smart. I think a lot of creativity comes from working with what you have and tweaking it just a bit. Interesting what you can come up with when things have good ‘bones’.
    And oh YEAH, Barbie, loved her. I am so old I had the Original Barbie with the black striped bathing suit. I didn’t have a dream house but I did have a modeling ‘stage’ with catwalk and all. I think she was my all time fav childhood toy. I had cases and cases of clothes. LOVE! And played with her for a looooong time.

  44. Nester, I am playing with my mantle today and have a question:
    Is there such a thing as TOO MUCH on your mantle? I just keep finding things I want to add.

    Also, how do you keep all your decorating ideas spread out around the room. I tend to find one or two rooms that I really like working with and take ALL of my good stuff for that room. Help!!

  45. I have a very simple mantle but I will do a post about it and link up next week.

  46. I just went crazy last week “re-designing” our mantel. But we have our flat screen mounted over it. Do you have suggestions for how to decorate when you can only use the sides?

    I currently have three brownish glass vases of varying height and shape on the left of the TV and two tall pillar candle holders (one taller than the other) on the other side.

    What other options do I have?

  47. What do you do about a fireplace and mantel that are in the corner of a room? It creates this weird deep pointed mantel backdrop. I usually have something big there so it doesn’t look like a cave, but I just haven’t gotten it right yet. Any suggestions?

    There’s a picture in this post.

  48. Enquiry
    Dear Sir or Madam,
    We have your company name from the website.
    We take this opportunity to write to you with a view to set up friendly business relation with you.
    We want to purchase some products from your company as follows:
    Fireplace Mantels ;Marble;
    Overall Height = 54 3/4”
    Shelf Length with 48″ Opening Width = 66”
    Shelf Length with 54″ Opening Width = 72″
    Shelf Depth = 6 3/4″
    Return Depth = 1 1/2″
    Header Height = 12 3/4″
    Leg Width = 5 3/4″
    Wood Crates;wood;
    If you have any questions , please don’t hesitate to contact me .
    Wish you please send me a copy with details of your quotation .
    Waiting for your early reply !
    Best regard
    Jun Chang
    Wuhan China
    Tel : +86-10-57022836
    HP : +86-13691562948

  49. Nice interior decoration, Like the interior furnishing also!

Speak Your Mind