Wednesday, September 12, 2012

decorating -R-'s mantel and bookshelves

One of the very first blogs I read was -R-'s And You Know What Else (yes, -R-, I stalked read you for two years before commenting).  I'm super sad she has shuttered that blog, but she and some friends started a new style blog over at Style All Over, so I still get to follow along.

A few weeks ago -R- asked me for some help decorating her fireplace mantel.  She notes that she likes brass and gold pieces, milk glass and colored vases. Here is a picture of her fireplace:

Seeing the tv mounted over the fireplace, I told -R- that she should decorate her mantel with....wait for it....nothing.

I know, I'm a big help.

Putting stuff under the tv would look cluttered and might interfere with viewing the tv.  If you search pinterest for "tv over fireplace", you will find hundreds of pictures of televisions mounted over the fireplace and nothing on the mantelpiece.  I think that the best option here is not to put anything at all up there.

However!  I DO think that -R- should put shelving on either side of the fireplace walls.  The more expensive option would be to invest in built-in cabinetry on either side of the fireplace, like this excellently photoshopped example (thank Emily Henderson for her excellently styled bookshelves):

Because of the vaulted ceilings, I think built-ins that go up to the ceiling would look fantastic. Here I simply photoshopped bright white shelving that was the right shape onto R's picture, but since her living room has muddy earth tones, I would paint the built-ins a creamy off-white, rather than bright white.

However, if -R- would prefer to DIY a cheaper route, putting free-standing sideboards or cabinets on either side of the fireplace, and adding floating shelving above would add a ton of storage and still allow for display pieces. Again, I'd stick with light wood tones like birch, or a creamy off-white to keep the room from looking too dark and heavy.

As for decorating the shelves, my personal theory on stuff people like most and won't get bored of is usually stuff already owned, like souvenirs from travels or your collection of salt shakers lifted from the bars you drank at in college.  However, if one's significant other convinced one to dump the collection of Terrible Towels and that creepy monkey bust, here are a few things that might look nice.

-R- has a dark brown leather sofa, and a chair that is similar to the yellow and red fabric in the moodboard below, but with an additional blue stripe.  These suzani curtains pull all the same colors, and the white background will stand out against the gold walls.

The red lamp is from Target, the gold nugget lamp is from Land of Nod.  All of the other accessories are from ZGallerie.  The nice thing about ZGallerie accessories is that if you have a Home Goods near you, you can find nearly all of the same type of stuff for cheaper.  I have seen the yellow chevron vase actually at Home Goods, as well as white ceramic animals, antlers, colored vases and coral, most of them for $10 - $20.  A can of spray paint will turn them into any color you want.  (I haven't seen the gold skull, I'd probably pay full price for that :-)

gold skull / pearl vases / chevron vase / wood vase / aqua vases / coral / antlers / white dog


  1. The birch shelves would be perfect, I think. They mimic and repeat the mantle so nicely. Love the mood board too--those curtains are perfect! They would really update the room. Love the gold nugget lamps,too. Well done.

  2. Awesome!

    My husband would die if a gold skull suddenly appeared in our house. I wonder if I could convince him we've always owned it and he just didn't notice it. Heh.

  3. This is Becky's husband you can call me "H". I was thinking floor to ceiling shelves with an insert in the middle with lighting for a painting on one side or both. Then where it forms a triangle on the top fill that in with stanined glass and back light it. Anyone able to photoshop that?

  4. H, your requests go beyond my entry-level photoshopping skills, sorry.

  5. Lisa, how did you put together that last picture with the skull and everything. I need to learn how to do this for a guest post. Thanks!


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