How to decorate a long mantle

We moved into our cottage about six months ago and ever since I have been struggling on how to decorate the mantle. The mantle area is approximately 15 feet long and covers the fireplace and adjoining cabinets on either side of the fireplace. There are 24 x 24 inch awning windows on either side of the fireplace. We live in a beach community, so I want a casual look. Should I decorate as one long mantle or segment the mantle? Any help would be appreciated!
q how to decorate a long mantle, fireplaces mantels, home decor, living room ideas, Shelving cabinets to left side of fireplace
Shelving/ cabinets to left side of fireplace.
q how to decorate a long mantle, fireplaces mantels, home decor, living room ideas, Shelving cabinets to right side of fireplace
Shelving/cabinets to right side of fireplace.
  10 answers
  • I love your fireplace/mantle. On each side of the fireplace in the corners you definitely some height with either topiaries or more twig sculptures . I would find some rectangle long pictures to flank the tv or maybe even wrought iron pieces to hang or sit on the mantle that have some height. Move the candlesticks and the clock next to the tv and in front of the white trim piece. Do you have another pair of candlesticks to flank the other side of the tv and put your mermaid there? I love your table! I would bring some of your pics or plates on easels up to the top of mantle too and maybe fill in the shelves with other collectibles. A beautiful room and I think it is looking good!
  • Dana Dana on Feb 05, 2014
    I would keep it simple. It looks very nice as is. Have you thought of painting the interiors of the bookcases blue to match your accessories? That may bring your eye down a bit.
  • Denise S Denise S on Feb 05, 2014
    Thanks ... I do have another set of candlesticks and will try that and the other suggestions that you have given. I wish the cabinet maker had given different heights or depths between the part over the fireplace and those over the shelves/cabinets, but that did not happen ... Oh, well! Thanks again for the suggestions.
  • Michelle W Michelle W on Feb 05, 2014
    I am in a very similar situation with an extended mantle over the firebox and shelves on either side. The problem being the shelves are too narrow to hold modern books, originally I had both sides filled with DVD's but now I am on the hunt for something less cluttered, I will have to check out anymore suggestions you get.
  • Becky Becky on Feb 05, 2014
    Along with what c Renee fuller said you cold build "shutters" to close over the t. v. With some pretty black hinges to scale. You could attach it to the white boards on either side of the t. v. When closed you could leave it plain or paint some art work on it. Whatever you decide, post the finished pics! The room looks great!
  • Diane Diane on Feb 06, 2014
    you have a lot of white going -I'd say you need a darker color to anchor it down larger bigger peice
  • Barbara Barbara on Feb 06, 2014
    Such a pretty room, and fireplace wall. I agree u need more height, bigger things to balance the length of the space. More color but I like the brightness in the room. Can't wait to see pics of the finished room.
  • Reinventing Space Reinventing Space on Feb 06, 2014
    Your classic Bungalow living room is designed with the traditional, Fireplace, flagged with bookcases and small windows. Look at the spaces in sections, rather than a whole. Main area above the hearth, and then the two extensions over the bookcases. Since you added a TV above the hearth, you are limited to merchandising the focal area, so you'll have to continue your long and low design. On the sides, look at the space as a Right and Left triangle and then style the extension from the tallest to the shortest, using the corners as the tall. Make sure to find pieces in scale to your focal, which is that TV - So you'll have to start with Really TALL pieces. Maybe covered glass tall containers filled w/beach finds, driftwood, a model ship... Then smaller, smaller smaller. Mix it up with a stack of books. glass buoy, netting, etc.
  • Martha H Martha H on Feb 07, 2014
    Denise: You have a wonderful fireplace and bookcases--please keep it simple. Less is always more! Don't overload the mantle and do fill those bookcases with books. I would love to have this.
  • You might consider candle sconces that would flank either side of your TV ~ between the window and Wood trim area. That would frame your center/ focal point to be your TV area and then on either side,(a mini lamp to start) in groups of three, set decorative books, votives, permanent flowers or plant clusters in the corners. It'll look fabulous!