Need more interest

I have this contemporary style family room and love my mantel, especially the two large stars over it. I am not a big fan of clutter, but it just seems to be lacking something...I was thinking of buying two large vases and some dried grass/sticks to place on either side of it on the shelves the walls make for balance. Any ideas would be helpful. (The walls are a pale gold and the lights are on a dimmer, but brought up brighter so the image wouldn't be dark.)Thanks. :-)
q ideas to dress up mantel, fireplaces mantels, home decor
  22 answers
  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Jan 02, 2015
    I agree 2 large vases on either side with some tall sticks or grasses would look nice.I think you need to add one more item to the wall.The human eye likes to look at 3 items or odd numbers.I would not put another star but a similar shape framed mirror above the smaller star to even it out.Something diamond shaped might look cool.

  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Jan 02, 2015
    @Sue Scimeca I think you right on the money with your idea of adding something vertical on either side. I wouldn't purchase heavy vases - they should be streamline like your vignette above the mantle. Perhaps something tall and cylinder like. Personally I think the vignette above is balanced so wouldn't rush into adding something else up there. One of your smaller containers on the mantle could be used in the center to provide your odd number. Do update us on what you do - love those after pics. Thanks for posting.

  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Jan 02, 2015
    I keep looking at your picture,and have changed my mind.I think you should remove the smaller star and find another place for it.The large star should be put in the center with the two tall vases on either side.The smaller star is throwing the balance off.Another item will not improve the wall.The giant one star centered will give you the best impact.

  • Z Z on Jan 02, 2015
    Personally I don't think it needs more to work. I'd remove the two vases you currently have on the mantel as I think the stars are enough. In my opinion the round clock doesn't work. I'd add another rectangle piece of art on that side similar to the cat you have on the right. I'd also add a wood top to the ledge on either side of the fireplace surround. I'm not sure how to explain why I feel it needs it, but it just feels more balanced to me. Well instead of saying more I'll giving you a visual.

    • See 1 previous
    • Z Z on Jan 03, 2015
      @Sue Scimeca Thank you. I don't do too many virtuals anymore because of injured wrist, but I love doing them so I thought I'd give it a try. I really do think the stars carry the area above your mantel by themselves. It appears by your choices that you too prefer larger items. I love the clock. Is there another wall in the room where you could put it? I like having clocks in each room as I have absolutely NO sense of time. Maybe around the corner above the TV? Another idea would be to raise the cat picture, I love that by the way, so it's at the same height as the clock.

  • Swan Road Designs Swan Road Designs on Jan 02, 2015
    You have many "large" items. You need to balance the whole area with some small pieces of interest.

  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Jan 03, 2015
    Hi Sue! There are a couple of issues here. The style of the room is contemporary but the fireplace trim is actually quite traditional and the stars are more rustic. Since the stars are almost the same color as the background, they are being overshadowed by the spotlights you have shining on them. If you are taking your color cues from the cat picture, then I might darken those stars to the color of the cat or lighten the background to the background color of the artwork for better contrast. That being said, if it is just the visual balance you are trying to correct, then I would move both stars further over to one side and then add a tall vase or candle holder to the opposite side to create a set of three items. If you like the clock and the cat pictures where they are, you just need to level them to the same height.

    • Sue Scimeca Sue Scimeca on Jan 03, 2015
      @Sue@CountryDesignHome I agree about the mantel but really don't want to change it. Its just the visual balance that is driving me crazy. I know that things look better in three's so I just might try moving things around...and level off the cat and clock. Thanks for your help, its appreciated.

  • Sue Scimeca Sue Scimeca on Jan 03, 2015
    Thanks all for the many suggestions and help. I will take all into consideration. :-)

  • Irene Irene on Jan 03, 2015
    Put those lights on dimmers! I agree with country design's color suggestion but one other thing I wold add/ subtract is the tiny potted plants are just to small. Add a large plant or something More in proportion with the stars. I found that the best mantels develope over time. Be patient you will find the right mix, given time.

    • Sue Scimeca Sue Scimeca on Jan 03, 2015
      @Irene they have dimmers already on them... I just pushed them up so I would have enough light to take a picture that wasn't to dark... :-)

  • Lee Schafer Lee Schafer on Jan 03, 2015
    Sue you are right about 3s. So I think the stars are fine and I'm not eve sure you need to level clock and cat. But find a three group for one side of fireplace or a two one side and one other. Not all matchy matchy like the small vases ?(candles). Maybe two tall vases one with a dried grass for one side and one other, not sure what on other side. Post when you update or try things.

  • Janet Savich Janet Savich on Jan 03, 2015
    @Sue Scimeca I like the Stars but the lightning seems extreem, I think since the Stars are so large what about two candle sconces on each side of the Fireplace? I keep lookng over and over again at the picture and I see a very dark piece on the left so was thinking maybe keep the flow of painting to the right, maybe just movement of TV and dark objects could make a big difference, the eye seems to go to the dark at the bottom of the Fireplace maybe a vase ( tall) with a touch of your color somewhere there which leads up the left side of Fireplace, just playing around with ideas though. I went looking into other sites and they too suggest decorating at the floor too, just seems it needs something in that area, maybe a Vase like I mentioned and two painting to the right to suggest three, maybe pillows and more candles, I love to play with color and greenery, can`t go wrong with plants.

  • Put the lights on dimmers, too much. Softening the light will add more visual interest. Take the vases off the mantle. They are much too small. People tend to clutter their mantle with small items. It does not make a statement. Paint the mantle white and paint the tile black with a heat resistant paint. On the ledges on each side of the fireplace add oblong planters about 3/4 the length of the ledge. Fill with ivy that trails down the wall of the ledge. You can use artificial, they look so real now. This will soften this area and make it very pleasing to the eye. Lower the clock and center it in the wall. The cat picture seems to be the right height, depending on how high the planters with the ivy in it is. This will be very smart looking and be in more keeping with the style of the room

    • Sue Scimeca Sue Scimeca on Jan 03, 2015
      @Creative Interiors By Connie thank you Connie, I appreciate your advice. By the way the lights are on dimmers, I just had them on high so I could take a well lit image with my camera... ;-) Can't paint the mantel or tile, my husband would shoot me... lol

  • Michele Eures Michele Eures on Jan 03, 2015
    I agree with Country Design Home. I think there's just too many different things going on. The orange of the wall and the tan of the mantel are warm tones, while the bottom portion of the wall and the fireplace surround are in cool tones. Somehow, they all need to come together in either warm or cool tones. Also, I like the idea of the clock over the fireplace and then adding some tall interest to the mantel. Maybe even a collection of other items around that clock.

  • Cathi Cathi on Jan 03, 2015
    I think the clock and the planters may be throwing it off. It's all about the angles, the clock is round as is the planters. The fireplace and tiles are square, the cat picture squared to where the room divides, the picture is square and the stars are triangles. How about trying square planters with a bit more height, put the cat pic where the clock is, and find another place for the clock away from where everything is squared?

  • Juanita Juanita on Jan 03, 2015
    Definitely get rid of the small plants on the mantle and put a large one on the floor to hide the outlet. You have a pop of orange in the cat print and you might try a pop of orange under the clock from a sculpture or a white vase with a few orange flowers. Accessories in the rest of the room will pull it all together.

    • Sue Scimeca Sue Scimeca on Jan 03, 2015
      @Juanita thanks for you ideas. Funny thing is I just got the cat poster, had wanted it for years, and found it at a second hand store for $6 framed. It has all the colors I am using in it. And I love cats.... :-)

  • I'm thinking replace the stars with one piece, a mirror with a gold or wood trim to go with the fireplace or orange wall. The vases on the two sides would go well, or you might try a painting in the center think Post Impressionist Toulouse-Lautrec to tie-in your cat print. I like the clock and print.

  • Juanita Juanita on Jan 04, 2015
    The cat print does well to balance the black of the clock - and it is a strong statement in its own right. Whether you keep the stars or not (if they speak to you keep them) keep that poster!

  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Jan 04, 2015
    Ok, Don't know how easy it would be to flip the stars, but if you can...I think putting some kind of artwork above the smaller star will balance out the cat picture. You don't necessarily have to have the same colors in fact I would put something up that has greens & blues so that it pops off the wall. Remove the too small plants. If you want something on the mantel I would do a some kind of modern piece in the center & I would keep low & light colored so it pops w/ the orange behind it. Hope this helps

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 04, 2015
    I'd go with the big star only and in the middle. I'd paint the mantle black. I'd put the clock on another wall as the eye is drawn to it instead of your mantle. I'd replace it with a print or something rectangular in the same colours as your cat print.

    • Sue Scimeca Sue Scimeca on Jan 04, 2015
      @Marion Nesbitt Thanks Marion... can't paint the mantel but I think I should move the clock now... ;-)

  • BSWW BSWW on Jan 04, 2015
    I like the stars and the lights on them - I agree with moving the pots to another location. And since you are fan of the minimal, don't put anything else on your mantle. May want to one of the plants with the pots by the cat frame. I have always heard of grouping with odd numbers of 1's, 3s or 5s. I do think you need something toward the floor in the warmer rust toned and just to the right of the fireplace and move your fireplace tools to the left. Maybe you already have something around your home that fits that bill? If not graduated tall candle sticks or a large basket for firewood? Whatever you put there needs to be at least the size of your large start for balance. Good luck - I hope to see what you ended up by doing with your project.

  • Claire M Claire M on Jan 04, 2015
    I would add a few large scale floor plants to complement the large scale of the room. The ones on the mantel are very small for the scale of the stars, etc. imho

  • Sue Scimeca Sue Scimeca on Jan 04, 2015
    Yes they are... I just was trying them to see if a pop of green would help up there.

  • Cheryl Cheryl on Jan 05, 2015
    I really like your look but maybe something taller on each side of stars & I would paint some opposing black say everyother panel on the stars to make them look more dimensional. Might b just the pic but they kinda disappear & seem flat. Love the cat pic! Been a fan of that print