Long Mantels Go the Distance
Don't stop short by sticking on a candle and calling it a day. Long mantelpieces offer the chance to really stretch your style
I'm a freelance writer and design enthusiast who believes the best design is collected, not decorated, and that homes should always be as comfortable and functional as they are chic. In addition to writing for Houzz, I work as the Head Copywriter for Layla Grayce and Zinc Door.
I'm a freelance writer and design enthusiast who believes the best design... More »
Extra-long mantels add width to a space for aesthetic value and can provide an advantageous display surface. However, you may not know how to decorate these lengthy pieces. Seasonal decor keeps them full and festive over the holidays, but you can also create a chic appeal that’s appropriate year-round by balancing the right items.
The most important design element is balance. When you step back and view the mantel, you want it to feel complete, not jagged or abrupt. In this example, an artwork series stretches across the elongated mantel and two plants at the ends anchor the look with vertical height.
Consider balancing your mantel with a center focal piece, such as a mirror or piece of artwork. Taper objects away from the middle piece in descending height order to accentuate the focal point and maintain equilibrium.
Shelves as end pieces provide extra storage. You can commission built-in shelves, or, if your mantel is wide enough, utilize freestanding shelves. Again, you’ll want a center focal piece, but the shelves achieve overall balance.
Candles are another double-duty solution for your long mantel. Create individual groups across the mantel, including a few candles of different heights. Your mantel can provide a soft, romantic glow that makes your room inviting.
Minimal objects can provide an equal sense of equilibrium and impact. In this example, a small group of objects is juxtaposed with a fixture at a slightly higher height.
Your long mantel may fit perfectly underneath your television. To make the television less of a focal point, install it slightly to one side and balance it with an artful object.
Artwork in general enhances the visual appeal of your long mantel. Select pieces that complement your mantel's size, shape and texture.
A series of vertical statues builds an intriguing display.
Vertical artwork and objects of extreme height add drama to your mantel. This serious look does not need other accessories.
Categorize areas of the mantel. In this example, the television and fireplace are on the right, while decorative objects and shelves are on the left (click photo to see full view). A long mantel can be functional and aesthetically stimulating.
Browse mantels and mantel accessories in the Products section
Tell us: Have you creatively arranged your long mantel? Share a photo below.
Ideabook published on May 7, 2012.
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