Fireplaces are a natural focal point for whatever room they are found. When there’s no fire going, it’s the mantle that draws most of the attention. But getting it right can be tricky. Throw too many random tchotchkes up there and it starts to look like someone’s grandmother (not yours, of course) has taken residence. Here are three ways to trick out the display. Use them as firm rules, or as just a starting point for your own creativity.
Play with Proportions
Start with a triangle in the center (or slightly off to one side), the peak being a mirror or portrait-oriented photograph. Make sure there is something with a bit of bulk on either side, such as a vase or statue. Then fill in with smaller, less weighty pieces. If you have the space, put a couple of taller items (about half as tall as your anchor) out to the far sides. For an off-center anchor, adjust the weights of the objects, moving some of the mass to the opposing side.
Go With a Single Theme: Flowers
Sometimes the greatest drama comes from doing the simplest thing. In this display, a series of similar vases with similar arrangements does the heavy lifting. Vary the heights and sizes of the vases and give some of them a lift with books or wood pedestals. In this case, it’s the repetition and the abundance that’s appealing.
Explore Your Inner Artist
If you have a collection of bold paintings, color photographs, and prints—go for an all-art arrangement. Again, think of a triangle, starting out with something large as the anchor, then filling in with smaller works to the sides. Layer and fan out as space allows: just don’t block too much of the centerpiece.
Story by Stephen Treffinger
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