Mantel Madness

For a long time, I’ve wanted a house with a mantel to decorate.  We had a fireplace in our first house, but the stand alone design didn’t allow for a mantel to decorate.  But now we’ve got one, thanks to a new fireplace surround.  I’ve patiently waited for the paint to cure.  Now that it has, I’m in full decorating mode.  Originally, I thought I’d stretch a long, lean canvas to paint an abstract landscape on.  It would have worked, provided the real painting turned out as well as the one I had mentally painted.

Then, to get an idea of the size I’d want, I pulled a few frames out of the basement storage.  And then I switched gears, pulling out more frames to make a layered frame shelf.  Sure, one large art piece would look fine, but then I’d feel the need to fill in with tchotchkes, aka clutter.  Round one, I centered a 16 by 20 white frame then layered in 11 by 14 frames and filled in gaps with smaller ones.

Mantel Frame Arrangements 3

Don’t mind what’s in the frames, some (or all?) will change.  Too small and washed out.  I pulled slightly larger wooden frame out from under the guest bed and set it up front and center.  More frames around it, this time including a 12 by 12 frame.

Mantel Frame Arrangements 2

Not a winner.  I really liked the black frame and mix of styles and colors.

Mantel Frame Arrangements 1

Close, but no cigar.  Needs a little more height on the right side, so the 12 by 12 frame got the boot and an 11 by 14 took its place.

Mantel Frame Arrangements Gold Vase

Almost there; that gold vase just didn’t tickle my pickle, nor did it serve a purpose.  A set of matching white marble vases balanced the ends, and holds matches.

Mantel Frame Arrangements Final

Obviously I’ll need to fill the center frame and swap out some art in the other frames.

Final Mantel Arrangement Detail

Also on the redo list, painting the small square frame white and the small rectangle frame black.  Gotta spread out the light and dark for balance.

Final Mantel Arrangement Photoshop

We also loaded up the wood box over the weekend and love the usefulness, rustic look, and warmth it adds to the room.

So what do you think of layered frames on a mantel?  What do you have above your fireplace?  Do you have a favorite art piece?  Any suggestions for customizeable/DIY/special art to add in the frames?  I’d like a mix of art, photos, and something for the small shadowbox.

26 thoughts on “Mantel Madness

  1. Will be interesting to see how long you “like” having your wood pile!! We have heated with mostly wood for our 44 years of marriage, getting darn tired of it!! It is dirty and bug ridden, but sure provides a focal point for a room as well as even warmth…just hard to control the temp sometimes.

    1. Hi Jeanne!

      We had a wood stove at our old house, too, so we know it’s a dirty option. I do like the look of the stacked wood and it’s more useful (and cleaner) than going outside everytime. With this insert, temp control hasn’t been much of an issue. Our other stand alone fireplace was a huge problem though.


  2. I’m hungry for some color up there. Maybe echo the blue from the pillows. Aesthetically, the wood is awesome. I do agree that it’s a dirty way to heat, as we have a fireplace in our living room, too. But, there’s nothing like the heat and ambiance of a nice fire!

    1. Hi Emily!

      Oh yeah, me too! Just have to figure out what to put in the frames now. 🙂 Wood is 1000 times dirtier, but it is nice to have a fire to warm things up. And we have to do something with the pile of wood we’ve got! 😉


  3. Wowza!! I Love it! Okay, I definitely need to kick it into high gear. Yesterday my son looked at me and said, “I can’t wait for this place to feel like a REAL home.” Translation: Unpack these boxes already!

    1. Hey Hevel House!

      Thanks! That’s hilarious that your son said that. Though, I still sometimes feel that way about this house, and our boxes are unpacked! Paint on the walls and art should change that. 🙂 Wishing you speedy box unpacking!


      1. Well, you are light years ahead of us! Haha! We are about 80% unpacked, but then we got hit hard with the flu and it all came to a screeching halt. Now, I’ve lost all motivation so instead, I live vicariously through my favorite blogs. 😉

        1. Hi Hevel House!

          Ha, unpacking really isn’t fun. Just turn on some 80’s rock (or whatever music floats your boat) and get it done. Move things around later if necessary. Getting it out of boxes is the biggest part.


    1. Hi CC!

      Thanks for sharing your opinion! 🙂 I really do like the idea of one large piece, but I also like being able to switch out art on a whim and update it as the mood strikes. I feel like that would be much more difficult with one large piece. We’ll see what happens down the road, I might change my mind! 🙂


  4. Cute arrangements! I wish I could upload a pic of our mantle but I can’t. Maybe one of these days I’ll post our family room on the ol’ blog. I came up with the mantle setting on a whim and I love how it turned out. Mantles are so much fun!

  5. I love how that whole little space is evolving! It feels like a breath of fresh air. We’re mantleless, too, and I’m looking forward to having a mantle one day if only to have some place to hang up our Christmas stockings!

    1. Hi Jennifer!

      Thanks for your encouragement! We’re really happy with the changes so far. Of course we’ve got a long way to go before we will call it finished, but it’s a start! Hoping you’ll get a mantel someday, too!


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