Monday, January 9, 2012

I got mantel issues...

I have lived in this house almost 8 years and aside from during Christmas I am never happy with my mantel.
I like having a mantel but it has a few issues.  The biggest issue is scale.  My fireplace is HUGE.  The ledge of the mantel is taller than I am,  I am 5'7" so I am not a tiny girl.  This is a problem because most things that I try and put up there seem too dinky, they just get eaten up by the enormity of the fireplace.

The second problem is that the ceiling in my living room is vaulted.  Which is actually great because it makes my living space feel so much bigger than it really is.  The problem is that the ceiling peaks offset to the center of the fireplace.  Which probably wouldn't bother anybody but me, but I like things symetrical.  I got issues!  Anyhow I am determined to love my house and that includes my mantel.  So I started to scour the internets looking for inspiration.  It turns out that I am not the only one that doesn't know what to do with my mantel.  The majority of pictures were of Christmas mantel, but very few decorated non seasonal mantels. 
I like this mantel.  I like the varying heights of the frames.  This may help to balance out the length of the mantel and the wonky shape of the roof line.  Yes wonky is a technical term.  I also like that little arty objects are tucked in amongst the frames.  One of the problems that I have been having is that normal sized objects get dwarfed by the wall expanse behind and the ginormousness of the fireplace, this would make a normal sized object work.

The problem with this is that I can see this sort of arrangement costing a lot.  Frames and art are not cheap, especially larger pieces.  "Sorry Kids, you can't eat this month...mommy is redecorating!"

I could alway leave the mantel blank with just a mirror on the wall.  This arrangement I saw a lot of when I was inspiration surfing.  However, I hate this look for my house because it looks like I am just trying to ignore the fact that I have a fireplace or mantel all together.  Lets face it my fireplace is 6' tall and 8' long there is no ignoring that baby!

Don't all of the tiny objects pilied on this mantel look a little silly?  I love the mantel but this is not the look that I am going for.

I want to avoid having my mantel look like a piling of crap that just looks cluttery.  Then again I don't like sparse either.  So I am going to have to come up with a solution.
                                                             The Lettered Cottage
I love the mantels that Layla at the Lettered Cottage creates from thrift store finds.  I think that I will take a few pages from her play book this spring, but I kinda need something for now.  Plus it is hard for me to find things at thrift stores that have the scale to stand up to my fireplace. 

Maybe something like this would work.  A couple of potted plants on one side of the mantel, being balanced by a taller potted plant on the opposite side of the hearth.  That looks good and not too overdone. 

Maybe what I really need to do is stop trying to force it and just see what happens.  Sometimes I just need to relax and let inspiration come to me.

I will keep thinking about it.  When I figure it out you will be the first to know, well after the people who live here.  Thanks for visiting, if you have any suggestions or beautiful inspiration...don't be shy!!  Feel free to share!


  1. Wow, your mantel is tough! My parents have vaulted ceilings and I can't figure out what to do with their house either. One thing I would suggest is maybe put some bead board above your mantel. I bought my house and it came with it and I actually love the way it balances out the fireplace. My fireplace isn't as tall as yours but I think it would create definition on that wall. Here's a picture:

    I hope it all works out! I can't wait to see what you come up with. I love the candles on your mantle.

  2. I feel your pain! I am never happy with my mantel either! Its a dark brick and ... I just don't know!
    I've re-purposed some shutters. Got those boys up on my mantel LOL! I'll be sharing it on my blog sometime next week. I'm your newest follower, I would love it if you checked out my blog. Nice to meet you Sunny :)
    Sherry's Bees Nest