Almost every surface in our home is constantly evolving, so I thought I’d document a bit of the presto-change-o process that regularly occurs around here, starting with the fireplace mantel in our den. Here’s what it looked like before I started switching things out and shifting things around. Not too bad, but not too exciting either:
So I brought in an assortment of pale blue vases and green bottles (old wine and Pellegrino ones work) for a little color (and added some purple hydrangeas for even more interest). Switching out the second hurricane for our white ceramic horse (from Target) and sticking a twiggy manzanita branch behind the pony subtly broke up all the symmetry, which is always less expected than something that’s perfectly balanced.
Then I tried layering frames to escape the “box on top of box” look of the big centered frame above the fireplace opening. And since I liked the pop of green from the glass bottles above, I again injected some emerald, this time in the form of a feathery fern and a leafy potted orchid.
Then I switched out the fern and the orchid for two ceramic horns that I snagged at Pottery Barn Outlet (on clearance for $7 down from $50 a pop). I loved how they introduced soft curves to what was once just a boxy and geometric display.
Fearing that all the overlapping frames were getting a bit top heavy, I went back to a super symmetrical display (my initial set up + the new ceramic horns).
But once again all the symmetry was just a bit too predictable, so I added some potted herbs from the kitchen and brought in our other orchid (in a lighter pot with vibrant pink flowers). By shifting both hurricanes to the right side of the frame and keeping the herbs from feeling totally balanced (one is closer to the frame while one’s a bit further away) things still felt balanced but not overly symmetrical and static.
But storing herbs up on the mantle wasn’t exactly as convenient as housing them on our kitchen windowsill, so I switched the extra greenery out for some random items I found around the house: a framed collection of keys, a glossy green ceramic pear, and a big silver P.
But things started to feel a bit busy, so I edited out the pear, the P and the framed keys. What remained was the winning mantle arrangement. At least for now…
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little mantel makeover play-by-play. We love that we were able to evolve our fireplace for free using items that we already had around the house (save for the ceramic horns). And we hope we’ve encouraged you guys to mix and match the things you have at home for a varied look that always holds your attention and never looks stale. We’re planning a few more accessorizing tutorials for arranging a coffee table, a bookcase, and more. So, as always, stay tuned…
For a few mantel makeover ideas from BHG, click and .