Fridays at Home: Well-Done Mantels

30th March 2012

Last Friday, my friend Jacob called me to go vintage shopping with him. The different shops around here know us by name, and we kind of love it. ๐Ÿ™‚ His boyfriend’s sister and her two girls were coming to stay with them all this week, so they had to spiffy up the house. They bought their house about 7 months ago, but they’ve been busy, so we needed to kick it in gear and put some finishing touches on the living room. One of the key spots: the mantel.

Putting together a mantel is no walk in the park. Next week, I’ll detail what we did to come up with the end product, but in the meantime, I just wanted to show you some pretty stuff because well, it’s pretty outside, and I wanna, that’s why!

I usually see 3 types of mantels: overdone, underdone, and holiday style. Seriously. There are tons of pictures of holiday mantels on Pinterest and the web. But really interesting mantels that make you want to look at each individual piece and wonder where it came from? Not so much. So soak up the inspiration and get ready for next week when we’ll talk about how to put together a great mantel.

Click on any of the pictures to visit the original link.

This first example via Real Simple is just about as perfect as can be. The painting is fantastic as are the two small frames and sea artifacts. But the hoop off to the left of center makes this arrangement for me. It acts almost like a magnifying glass, and I’m in love.

This image is via the blog Sweet Something Design, and I really like it as well, though the large circular mirror is wearing me out. I see it all the time, and unless it’s an antique, I prefer something with a bit more character. However, I really love the small painting and the symmetry of the candlesticks and the branches. It’s not too similar, so the interest is still there.

First of all, can we just take a minute and drool over this mantel from Real Simple? My Domino book has a similar one, and each time I see it, I want to swoon a bit. The arrangement itself is not my favorite, but I really love an obsessive collection. This is certainly a case where 3 is good but 30 are better. ๐Ÿ™‚

This little piece of heaven is from Country Living, and to me, it is just beautiful. Of course, the fresh flower thing only works if you have an English garden out back or some dough from some rich British relative (I don’t know why British, this just looks British to me).

See – this mirror has character. Of course it does. It’s from Lonny magazine. The mirror is old fashioned and has the nautical look to it with the concave mirror. The candle holders frame the mantel, and the oddities on top are interesting – tincture bottles, a small dressmaker form, a statue. It’s really quite beautiful.

This mantel is so fresh and lovely. The greenery in the vase on the right adds color but also height and a bit of messiness to the very organized, well-arranged items. Groups of three work nicely, as in the candles on the left, and that gear is just fantastic. I want one.

PS – Did you spot the lovely globe beside the chair?

This last one is from a Crate & Barrel catalogue, and I almost didn’t include it because of that. But it’s so well styled, and again, the hoops are really unexpected and beautiful. The small frames and photos tucked here and there are fantastic as well. Layering is key, as we’ll talk about next week, and this mantel does that so well.

Happy Friday, loves. What are you doing to relax this weekend? Whatever you do, keep calm and pretty up your house!


  • Very Pretty!! I love that last one, simple and clean looking….the mantel is actually a project Im doing this summer…going from an old ugly pine one to an updated white one….CANT WAIT!!!

    • Ooh, that will be fun! I don’t have a mantel but want one desperately. My tall ceilings in the living room NEED one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I feel like I read through this and kept thinking, oh I like that one best then scroll down and I like that one best! Haha, I really do like the domino collection mantel.

    • Isn’t it funny how that works? And yeah, Domino is pretty much awesome.

  • Mybookaffair

    OOOhh Fireplaces one and two are my favourites… just because I want to sit in front of them with a good book and read. Thanks for the glimpse of the house I want to live in! I am inspired. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aren’t they gorgeous? I just love a good fireplace, and you’re right – they’re perfect for reading. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • heidenkind

    Our fireplace is adobe so we don’t have a mantel. But if we did I’d probably just put books on it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Books work too! But it does help to have other things up there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I love a random assortment of colors on mantels. If things are all in the same style, my eye’ll kind of accept the image at large, but if individual things stand out, then I’ll take a much closer look.

    • Exactly. It isn’t that a boring mantel isn’t attractive, it just doesn’t interest me at all.