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Category:  Decorating

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Decorating Your Mantel

By Nikki Willhite

If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, this is going to be the most important area of your home that you decorate.

The fireplace is almost always the center of interest in any room. The furniture is usually arranged around the fireplace, and this is where the eye goes when you walk into the room.

If your fireplace does not have a mantel, you might consider installing one. A mantel is nothing but a piece of wood, and can be held up by simple brackets. Mantels can be very traditional, or they can be as rustic as a half timber.

To get the most out of your decorating budget, concentrate on your fireplace. There are many things you can do that do not take a lot of money.

If you are just beginning to decorate, start by looking at all your possessions. You will want the things you like the most to be displayed as prominently as possible.

If you have a favorite picture, put it over the fireplace. If you have a family portrait you cherish, again, put it over the fireplace where you will see it all the time.

Do not be concerned about the size. You have a couple of options to make it work. You can group pictures so that the effect is the same as a large picture, or you can have your picture put in a frame with a large mat.

This is often done with small pictures. It is very dramatic. Although the pictures are not large, the oversized mat and frame give drama and increases the visual size of the pictures.

After displaying the things you love, choose some other objects to give interest to your mantel. The most important rule when decorating a mantel is to vary the height of the objects that you place on it. If you squint at your fireplace, you do not want to see a straight line going across your mantel. Straight lines are harsh. You want the eye to flow up and down from object to object.

Candles are great for height. Small plants soften the line. Photos always add charm, and you can bring in some shiny texture with brass or silver frames.

If you have a very traditional room, you might consider a symmetrical arrangement. This is a very formal look. This look usually has a big picture or mirror over the mantel, one large object in the very center of the mantel, and the matching objects on each end.

One last thing to consider is scale. If you have a very small fireplace, you do not want to overpower it with very large accessories. If you fireplace is large, small accessories will make no impact, and be visually lost.

 To get the most effect from your money, concentrate on your fireplace. Often this is enough to carry the whole room.


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