Lorraine M
Lorraine M
  • Hometalker
  • Shepherdsville, KY
Asked on Jul 19, 2013

Suggestions: What to do with this Mantel?

Barbara Henderson BishopKathie taylorOpal
+29

Answered

I am at a loss as to how to decorate this mantel. The wall is solid river rock. With the TV mounted above, I cannot figure out how to make this look attractive. This end of the room is rather dark, though we are removing the wall to the right, opening into the living room. Should be brighter then. I'd like to paint the mantel white, and the crown molding, but hubby isn't a fan of that!
Do the ends of the mantel show?  They did in the orignal photo.
Do the ends of the mantel show? They did in the orignal photo.
31 answers
  • Kimberly Barney
    on Jul 19, 2013

    I think the problem is not how to decorate the mantel but how to address the entire fireplace wall. Right now, it looks like two boxes (television and fireplace) divided with a wood beam. The elements need to come together in a cohesive manner. Drilling into the stone wall would be a mess so I am going to try to stay away from a need to drill into the stone wall. The mantel is extremely long which gives you plenty of area to decorate. However, it also gives a big span to fill in to bring the elements together. I would suggest placing a surround around the fireplace box and place floor shelving units on either side of the hearth to balance the large mantel to give it the illusion of being one piece. Now for the decorating question.... If possible, I would conceal the box that takes front and center attention on the mantel. This could be done as easily as transforming an old cardboard box to look like a keepsake box or a stack of old books using Modge Podge. This would leave the two sides for actual decor which could change with the season. Right now, I see where you have a collection of candles which could be grouped together on the mantel rather nicely at different heights. You also appear to have books on the mantel which could be placed amongst the candle holders. Focus on giving the mantel decor different heights as currently everything is the same height basically bringing all the attention to the television. You could even build a box around the entire television system and cover (picture, scrapwood, framed fabric) that would slide apart. I hope that this gives you some ideas. I love the texture of the stone wall.

  • Tamela Bowie Interiors
    on Jul 20, 2013

    I would add some bookshelves underneath the mantle flanked on both sides of the fireplace. Question? Is there a way to cut the size of the mantle to be more in proportion with the fireplace.

  • Therese C
    on Jul 20, 2013

    This is just to give you another idea. Hope it helps.

    suggestions what to do with this mantel, home decor
  • Lorraine M
    on Jul 20, 2013

    Therese and Creative design: The bookcase ideas would be good, if this wasn't 10" deep creek rock (and my husband would not like to see his hard work covered up). We are having a wall-to-wall bookcase in the room to the right, after the wall is removed. I agree about the brass being dated, and have removed it. It would be hard to shorten the mantel..I'll have to check where the anchor rods are located.

  • Sfg178760
    on Jul 20, 2013

    I think I would change it out and put in a more rustic hunk of wood ( http://www.remodelaholic.com/2012/11/installing-wood-mantel/ ) ...but then again that may not match your style? Hey...how about something tall (tall vases or flowers in vases) in either side of the TV and slow going to a lower level so the TV kind of blends in to the decor. Or have those pieces very eye catching (like the cute little yellow sundial thingy) http://athomewithsarasays.blogspot.com/2012/07/stacked-stone-fireplace-and-rustic.html http://www.lamidge.com/enchanting-fireplace-mantel-decorating-ideas/excellent-fireplace-mantel-with-tv-stand-in-helloween-theme/ Good luck!

  • On each side of the fireplace I would use 2 pieces of furniture or wrought stands, that are similar in heights but do not have to match. I would look for some wrought iron pieces to hang from top of mantle to height of tv on each side of the tv to add dimension and that way you can still get a couple tall vases with some peacock feathers or spray paint some really cool sticks you find in the woods, put the clock on one side and the thing next to the clock on the stand on the opposite side of the tv. White trim would brighten up the room but if hubby does not then compromise~ask to beef up the mantle and paint it either to blend in the stone more or a contrast color and pick a color that will pop.

  • Lorraine M
    on Jul 20, 2013

    Thanks for all the creative suggestions! There is an antique steamer trunk on the floor to the left that probably could be better utilized (now hidden by a mammoth green leather sofa).

  • I thought there was an old steamer trunk. I would find a way to lift the trunk up to the height of the other cabinet and prop open the trunk and drape a blanket/antique quilt out of the trunk for display purposes. I have a 150 yr old trunk and quilt I display this way.

  • Rosalie M
    on Jul 21, 2013

    I hope you won't be offended, but I would remove that mantel and replace with a new fireplace surround. It would dress up the entire wall.

  • Sia@South 47th
    on Jul 21, 2013

    @Lorraine M Hi! Men LOVE their wood! No sense it trying to fight to win that battle if he is one of 'those'. It looks like you have a lovely trunk and another wood piece in a compatible colour. So, I'd suggest leaving the mantle as is and using those as your "Inspiration Pieces". De-clutter everything on the mantle and wall, in other words remove everything. Then re-stage using other complimentary "Couple Friendly" items that you both have around your home. Work the items in groups of 3. Avoid introducing any more 'wood'. If you have some other non kitschy, pieces, utilizing those may help. Mirrors on both sides of the TV will help 'balance'. Adding a lower height vase, and a piece slightly lower than the vase, will add symmetry to each side. That is only helpful if you are into symmetry. If not then stage each side in a high to low using different elements on each side, yet complimentary, so as not to 'clash'. Incorporating some of the colour pallete of the stone, in regards to the pieces may help as well. It appears as though you both may like 'yellow'. Pick a different yellow, not the primary that you have shown, if you wish to incorporate yellow as an accent. Just a few thoughts for you! Good luck in your endevours! Please post a pic of your finished project! xo

  • Jo Robinson
    on Jul 21, 2013

    THERE IS TO MUCH LITTLE STUFF SITTING AROUND AND IT DOES NOT DO ANYTHING FOR THE WALL OR FIREPLACE I WOULD GET RID OF ALL THE LITTLE THINGS AND GET LARGE ITEMS --I WOULD GO RUSTIC WITH THAT WALL IN LINE WITH THE CABINET TO THE RIGHT. THE TV SPOILS THE FIREPLACE I WOULD PUT IT IN THE CORNER ON THAT CABINET AND A WHOLE NEW ROOM AND LOOK WOULD EMERGE THAN I WOULD PUT LARGE PICTURE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MANTLE AND LARGE CANDLES ON THE ONE SIDE AND THAN A BALANCE VASE OR SCUPTURE OF SOME KIND ON THE OTHER

  • Therese C
    on Jul 21, 2013

    The biggest problem I see right now is finding balance. The tv is outweighing the fireplace as far as balance goes. So you need to 'heavy up' the bottom of the fireplace a bit to compensate for what the tv removes. You want your eyes to walk easily up the wall, not jump straight to the tv and miss that beautiful fireplace. Find your balance first and everything else will fall into place for you. Just remember, too much weight at the top gives it a 'fall forward' look, but too much at the bottom makes it bottom heavy and then is hard to draw the eye up. So, recap...find the balance then work on the accents.

  • Jo Robinson
    on Jul 21, 2013

    ON THE BOTTOM I WOULD SET A LARGE COPPER KETTLE OF SOME KIND OR COPPER POT INSTEAD OF THE CANLES AND SOMETHING ALONG THAT LINE ON THE OTHER SIDE AND DON"T FOR A LARGE TREE OF SOME KIND GREENERY WOULD REALLY SET IF OFF THINK NATURE AND RUSTIC FOR WARMTH

  • Reinventing Space
    on Jul 21, 2013

    The issue you are having is that the mantle length is WAY TOO BIG to the scale of the fireplace box. Then to make matters worse, you added a TV to the mix - Right to the ceiling. So..., now to fix the issue. Remove every accessory and pull back the furniture. Now look at the project. 1st you need to add some BIG and I mean BIG pieces to balance the horizontal line. 2 Wing back chairs framing the fire box to add height and volume, a floor lamp, a large tall fireplace set or floor candle sticks and candles on the hearth. On the mantle lean and layer a series of framed art prints or photographs in Sepia or B&W (see photo) and grouped accessories. Tall books and bookends would work too.

    suggestions what to do with this mantel, home decor, Wing back chair to add volume below the mantle and blance the scale of firebox from homedecorators Recover pillow in brown leather to bring mantle color downsuggestions what to do with this mantel, home decor, Floor lamp to add height from homedecoratorssuggestions what to do with this mantel, home decor, Lean and layer art prints and grouped accessories
  • Gloria Duy
    on Jul 21, 2013

    The mantle is so long it makes the firebox look tiny. If you need to keep the wood color of the mantle, somehow trim/bulk out the firebox with a similar color and make it much bigger. Add two large decorative things to either side of the firebox in a similar dark color. You could use the chest on one side and something of a similar size, color on the other and build them taller by putting them on something or adding tall things on top. Remove all the little things on the mantle and add 3 large things of varying heights to each side of the TV. Adding things in a color similar to the mantle would balance it. Since you are stuck with a combination of a rustic stone and traditional mantle you need to run with that and combine fancy/rustic in all the accessories.

  • Glenna Kennedy
    on Jul 21, 2013

    since hubby doesnt want to drill into the stone how about adding to the mantel? It needs more bulk...some wide barn boards attached over top of the existing mantel to make it stand out more. Leave them unfinished or paint them a darker color. Everything here is overpowered by the stone so you need something to pop. A darker bulkier mantel would do the trick. Then you can add bigger accent pieces on either side. Everything is too small in comparison with the stone wall. Also can the fireplace front be painted? A lighter color might help.

  • Therese C
    on Jul 21, 2013

    Maybe this??

    suggestions what to do with this mantel, home decor
    • Lynn
      on Oct 28, 2014

      @Therese C This looks so much better -I think you nailed it!

  • Michele Bower
    on Jul 21, 2013

    How about darkening the mantle to match the crown moulding? Then I would buy some tall items, maybe glass jars or vases in various colors and heights to draw the eye up. Right now, all the low items really emphasize the length of the mantle.

  • Debby Boyle
    on Jul 21, 2013

    I would make it smaller than it is. Then I would build up some!

  • Caroline
    on Jul 24, 2013

    Can you find another place for the tv? It overpowers the area. Plus I find that tvs over fireplaces are way too high, and you can get a stiff neck watching the tv. Would use larger items on mantel - bright colorful vases. And maybe some large brass containers under mantel.

  • Lorraine M
    on Jul 26, 2013

    Caroline...it's a long room, so no stiff necks. And, since the wall to the left is mainly glass and the one to the right is going to be removed...well, that doesn't leave anyplace else! I like the idea of large brass containers, thanks.

  • Anascreations4u
    on Jul 28, 2013

    Hi! I think you could cut the ends of the mantle and add a dark bookcase on both ends. Then I would use the left over mantle pieces to somehow bridge the two bookcases together creating a built in look. Then I would do some dark woodwork around the fireplace opening. I really think the dark wood would look awesome against the stones and would bring out all the darker colors What do you think???

  • Lorraine M
    on Jul 28, 2013

    Anascreations4u....interesting ideas. But why would I cover up the stonework with bookcases? Besides, there will be a build-in bookcase, wall to wall in the next room. Mantel can't be cut, so sayeth the husband. Dark framing of the firebox is doable. Thanks.

  • Lori
    on Oct 3, 2014

    My advice was going to be drywall over all of it but it sounds like you like the stone. I agree that all the small stuff should go and be replaced with much larger and less of them, things. I might consider on one end of the mantel a lush trailing plant that would hang down and on the other end a fairly tall but structured floor plant reaching up to the mantel. Don't try to cover the mantel with "stuff" but put 3 fairly substantial objects of varying heights on one side, in a group, and possibly, something about 14 or 16" long and low on the other side. A tip that I use....... Just strip everything off and start using stuff you have around the house to get ideas of height, number etc. don't even think about what they are, trash cans, umbrella stands, canisters, pillows, anything for size and shapes. This saves so much time and money running around buying, trying, returning, etc. Works for me. Have fun.

  • Barbara Valenti
    on Oct 3, 2014

    I think you need to anchor the mantel maybe with some faux columns all in the dark stain that would match your trim work. You could even trim off some on both ends of the mantle. It just looks sparse! Maybe an arrangement of flowers on the floor( large) artwork, colorful candles and asst. Sizes of baskets on the mantle floor, varying sizes and heights. Step back and just dream you will figure it out! I love to play with stuff around my home and shop your house.

  • Without changing anything too much, I would move the silver box (satellite?) to the side so its on top of the chest you have on the left. Then move the tv down so it sits almost on top of the mantle leaving a space between the stone wall and the ceiling. Then just add some taller decoration around the tv and maybe a large basket with blankets next to the fireplace instead of/as well as the small candles :)

  • Connie
    on Oct 28, 2014

    I totally understand the TV problem. There are some creative ways to cover the TV when not in use. With that said even if you don't change the TV in anyway you need to balance out the look. Larger pieces setting on the floor and some color on the mantel of varing heights.

  • Kathie taylor
    on Nov 4, 2014

    I too am stuck with the tv on the mantle. All the chords drove me nuts. From one end to the other I have silk green vines, some were garlands and some pieces. I have tall candle holders on each side in graduating heights. and I change the candles for the Holidays, or my mood. Although you don't need it, I think I would find a large standing fireplace screen to give the appearance of a larger box. I don't have the height problem you do, so I agree with bigger things on your mantle. Please post a photo of your finished product...it will help others with similar problems.

  • Opal
    on Nov 6, 2014

    This is rather cool, I think the issue is the scale of the accessories. The books, candles, sphere, clock, and vases are all small and spread out. Moving the silver tv box would help bring the tv down creating a space at the top and balancing the look, add something big to the left where the trunk is like a plant on a plant stand if you need the height, standing candelabra, floor lamp, vases or a grouping of these that extends the height past the mantle. Then maybe a large vase behind the clock on the right that also goes higher than the mantle. Going higher than the mantle will help hide the cords. Big candle sticks, vases, sculpture on the mantel and by the fire box might also help. Basically take out 5 small things and add 3 or 5 larger things and move the yellow sphere to the other side to balance the yellow color. Please update on what you decide.

  • Kathie taylor
    on Nov 6, 2014

    This was posted a year ago! What did YOU do????

  • Barbara Henderson Bishop
    on Apr 6, 2015

    Just wonder how you end up fixing your mantel? It would be very interesting see pictures also. Thank you

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