Decorating a Fireplace Mantel with a TV Above It
When we moved to our “forever house” seven months ago, we decided that after 20 years of moving around the country we would finally treat ourselves to new grown-up furniture and make an attempt at some real decorating. When you live with the reality that all of your worldly possessions will be packed up and loaded into a moving truck after only a few years in your house, it makes you think twice about getting too caught up in decorating or buying anything too nice. We learned early on that it’s a pretty horrible feeling to see your expensive dining room table with scratches and nicks all over it from a bumpy ride across state lines. With that in mind, we waited until we actually moved into our new house before making any of the big purchases we’ve had our eyes on, and I’m excited to say that we’ve recently come out of the dark ages with the purchase of our first flat-screen TV.
The layout in our family room left us with only one choice of where to mount it – right over the fireplace. So, rather than an artsy mirror or an eye-catching painting being the focal point of the room, the TV kind of dominates everything – forcing me to re-think my usual decorating strategy for our mantel. I wanted something simple so that when we are, say, engrossed in the latest episode of “This Is Us” our full attention can be on the characters, not the giant vase or flower arrangement blocking part of our view. (btw – can we talk about how good Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia are in this show? Love them.) Even though my main goal was simplicity, I played around with a few design tricks to try to create a pulled-together look.
I used a variety of small to medium sized objects on the mantel to minimize distraction while watching TV, and made sure to keep the centerpiece horizontal and low. I experimented with different heights and sizes in the groupings on either end until I found an arrangement that I was happy with. I feel like sometimes symmetry looks best; other times it can be fun to mix it up a little. To balance the visual weight of the TV, I placed larger items on the hearth, and decided to match all of the metals I used with the lanterns for a coordinated look. Finally, I added in some pops of color that tie in with other elements in the room.
Here’s a shot so you can get a sense of how the fireplace decor looks overall:
And, in the spirit of keeping it real around here, a shot of how things usually look:
Most of the pieces I used to create this look are “vintage” (a nice way of saying that I’ve had them for 5-10 years), but I found some options currently in stores if there’s something you’re interested in:
What are some of your favorite design tricks for mantels? Comment below – I’m always looking for new ways to be inspired!