Mantel Styling Tips

We challenged bloggers to style a mantel in 30 seconds. See what they did and get their smart tips for decorating a mantel.

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Whole House Style: Collectible Charm

Full of feminine charm and irresistible playfulness, this home manages to be traditional yet comfortable, and all because of a serious collection of cast-offs.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Hearth Setting

      At the center of this living room is an elegant fireplace with architectural details made more prominent by a coat of glossy white paint. The mantel is an ever-changing display, currently featuring a 1930s portrait that reflects the relaxed femininity of the space.

      Ideas from This Room
      -- A playfully upholstered piece of furniture can (and should) become a focal point for the room.
      -- Place a large tray over an ottoman to create a flat surface for display.

    • Living Room

      This home showcases a masterful mixing of various periods and styles of furniture. In the living room two white sofas play on the symmetry of the home's traditional architecture.

      Ideas from This Room
      -- Neutral-color furnishings allow for lots of give and take on an eclectic color scheme.
      -- Put in a bit of traditional style with soft patterns found on pillows and draperies.

    • Seating Area

      Little vignettes add charm to larger rooms. Packed with personality, the corner also highlights a pink chair that was a rummage sale rescue before it was recovered.

      Ideas from This Room
      -- Think of rugs as little paintings on the floor. Coordinate colors and shapes like you would standout artwork.
      -- Don't be afraid to mix upscale with discount store -- this table skirt is made from an inexpensive bedsheet and the vintage ribbon tiebacks dress up catalog curtains.
      -- Hang artwork low on the wall; just above the table looks great.

    • Dining Room Mix

      Layering is the key to the softened traditional look. A large round table and oversize pendent light anchor the dining room. Antique French chairs sport striped seat covers that complement the wallpaper.

      Ideas from This Room
      -- Start with wallpaper, thinking of it more as a paint color than as the room's focal point.
      -- Freely mixes styles -- French Regency chairs, Chinoiserie (painted with Chinese nature motifs) chests, Victorian furniture -- with modern sofas and lamps.
      -- Add framed prints, old books, children's artwork, and sentimental treasures to round out the mix.

    • Artsy Den

      In the small den, the dark matte wall finish is a rich backdrop for graphic white furniture. The painting is part of a collection of portraits, which add a bit of soulfulness to the place.

      Ideas from This Room
      -- Dark walls feel just right with a bright white ceiling and furniture, plus lots of natural light.
      -- Layering rugs is okay; here, a worn Oriental rug sits over a thin floorcloth.

    • Tall Stairwell

      Audubon prints, all purchased at garage sales, add life to the stairwell. Beneath the stairs is a well-composed still-life moment, but without the museum-like feel of untouchables.

      Ideas from This Room
      -- Crowd your walls with artwork, keeping the look clean by using matching frames.
      -- Don't overlook often-forgotten spots to decorate, such as the bit of wall beneath the stairs.

    • Eat-In Kitchen

      To pull a soft traditional style together, rely on symmetry and repeating colors. Pink is a design thread that runs from the front door -- painted a soft peony color -- to subtle touches throughout the house, such as the pink seat cushions in the kitchen eating area.

      Ideas from This Room
      -- Shuffle your furnishings. This iron-and-marble table had a previous life as a kitchen island and could just as easily make its way outdoors.

    • Kitchen Work Area

      The kitchen floor is painted a check pattern of dark and muted gray to mask the inevitable dirt and scuffs from an active family.

      Ideas from This Room
      -- Go ahead, paint hardwood floors (gasp!) especially if they're in bad condition.
      -- Move "regular" furniture into the kitchen, such as the armchair near the hutch.
      -- Use tension-rod curtains to cover open cabinets.

    • Bathroom

      In the bathroom, the red toile wallpaper, black-and-white floor, and old Oriental rug form a rich mix.

      Ideas from This Room
      -- Mix patterns at will as long as they have simple color palettes.
      -- Add personality to an impersonal room with a sweet antique chair.

    • 10 of 10
      Next Slideshow Mini Makeovers to Add Farmhouse Style

      Mini Makeovers to Add Farmhouse Style

      Use rural references, weathered finishes, vintage farm implements, and barnyard imagery to introduce farmhouse rhythms to your home. Here's a look at 16 welcoming spaces that creatively put homespun harmonies into play.
      Begin Slideshow »



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