With the cooler weather creeping in more eyes will be turned to the fireplace - and, by default, to what's sitting on on top of it. Rearranging your mantelpiece collection is an easy way to freshen up your living room.
So how do you create a mantelpiece display that works with your room? Think of your mantelpiece as furniture (similar to a console or sideboard) rather than an architectural detail, say the experts. When you want to change the feel of your room, change your display.
"Before you begin selecting items to display, consider the character and design of your fireplace. Try and select items that will tie in with both the aesthetic of your fireplace and home." - Kelly Evans of the Home Scene Journal
As in all design, balance and proportion are key factors in styling a mantelpiece. Evans says "create an impact by selecting one item as your statement piece and arrange smaller objects around or nearby."
"Too many small objects, for example trinkets, books and candles, can look messy, so it is always a good idea to balance large items with small items. Starting with a large item such as a poster and building items of varying sizes around it (such as stacks of books or maybe even a bust) would be the way I would go about it," says stuff columnist and interior design student Henry Tuck.
A mantelpiece is often a great place, and usually an appropriate height, for a mirror to sit. Additionally, a mirror makes a statement piece on a mantel. If there's one dominant feature over the mantelpiece, use smaller, less conspicuous items to complete the look. Because it makes such an impact, the style of the mirror can often set the tone for the style of the room.
An oversized, gilt-framed mirror says romantic and traditional, for example. Tuck suggests, "consider the relationship between between the frame of the mirror and the style of your mantelpiece. Frameless mirrors are guaranteed to work, although the contrast between a modern mirror and a traditional fireplace, and equally the contrast between an antique mirror and a modern fireplace, can look amazing."
"A mirror on the mantelpiece is a great way to add light to a room, but ensure it's not too small. If you're using it as the statement, make sure it's not overwhelmed by the other items on the mantel." - Tuck
Curate A Collection
Run out of storage for your ceramics? A mantelpiece offers the perfect spot to show off a growing collection. "Don't overwhelm the space," warns Evans, "too many items will often result in a cluttered look."
Mix pieces according to colour, shape, size and texture. "Don't be afraid to play around," says Tuck., "I end up changing the display on my mantelpiece every month as it freshens up the room and means I can take turns showing lots of my favourite objects off."
Art On Display
A great idea, especially for those renting or with little wall space, is to use the mantelpiece as a picture ledge. Layer prints and art by just leaning them against the wall to showcase an evolving collection. Tuck says, "if you're going to style only with art, create depth by placing smaller works in front and compose rhythm by varying the heights of the works along the length of the mantel."
Not Just Art and Mirrors
Evans says there are a multitude of options when it comes to styling a mantelpiece, it doesn't just stop at mirrors, art and ceramics. Candles, vases with fresh or dried flowers and branches, vertical or horizontal stacks of books and shadow boxes holding a favourite item will all make for an interesting and eye-catching mantel.
"If you have more of a collector's feel in your home then special travel souvenirs, books, and artworks may work atop your mantelpiece better, I would suggest being a bit ruthless here however. Pick souvenirs to display based off the look of them rather than the memories they hold for you. Don't throw other souvenirs away, but curate the ones that work with the colour scheme of your room and its atmosphere." - Tuck