Bare Mantel Blues

Most of us have  just about recovered from the holidays, made those final returns and put away those last boxes of decorations. Is your house looking bare after the glimmer of those fabulous lights has been packed away? A few readers asked if I had any ideas to spruce up their mantels, let’s explore some options.


Q. I need help with decorating ideas for my fireplace/mantel area. It looked great for the holidays, but is now bare. What are some simple & easy things I can do? Brigitt

manteldA. I like to begin by walking around the house finding pieces that inspire me. A piece of art or a vintage mirror can be combined with candles, plants and treasures. I love the chalk board idea, you can personalize it with an inspirational quote or a statement word, “welcome”. This arrangement is symmetrical with the exception of an added #3 tray on the left. When creating symmetry I like to toss in a piece at the end like this tray to give a layered, designer effect.  A collection of any type is always an option; frames, pottery, vintage vases, clocks, vintage cameras or candle sticks just for few ideas I have used. I find that my clients will sometimes have collections packed away from a move or that were passed down to them. These collections can be displayed on their own or with a combination of items to give the mantel a fresh look.


Start searching up in your attic or even better in your Mother’s attic, you may be surprised what you will find. Below, find items like these from salvage and then put together to create an interesting collection or you can purchase them at Nordal here. After searching through the house if you still come up short check out LuLu & Georgia, a fabulous online shop or there is always Home Goods.


A personal favorite of mine is to style the mantel with a huge mirror, an architectural piece like a vintage carved window from India (here is my personal mantel) or to use an interesting piece from of salvage. The key is to keep it simple and let the statement piece do its job. Check out one of my favorite stores for architectural antiques in NYC called Olde Good Things.


Below, when you combine collections together there are really no rules. Make it fun by trying different arrangements, it may take several times before it feels right to you. You can always snap a picture and email it to me for some advise, I would love to help. For more mantel options, click here.



Image {1,2,3,4,5,6,7}

  • Connie

    All these mantels are fabulous, but I linked back to yours and I love the architectural window.

    • Cathy from Adore Your Place

      Thanks Connie, that was a great find I wanted something really different.

  • Elisa Smith

    You hit the holiday nail on the head! Welcome mantle makeover season ;) The first and last are my favorite pics.

    • Cathy from Adore Your Place

      So glad you like the mantel post Elisa, tis the season. I love the last one also.Visit again soon.

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  • Shannon Everett

    How do you determine what size mirror to use over a fireplace? I like your personal mirror and am looking at 2 similar (or possibly same) ones. Thanks!