Tuesday, January 12, 2010

meet my mantle

This is my fireplace and mantle.

boring and empty

It's sort of large (9 ft. across), and placed in the corner of the living room portion of the great room.

It needs something, and that's where you come in :)

The furniture is dark wood tones, and off-white slip-covered seating (just ordered the new slipcovers). The "drapes" are drop cloths (and are still in their temporary faze).

Should I paint the mantle? I go back and forth on this question. The trim throughout our home is white, and there are white beams on the ceiling in this room; but the ceiling and floor are both a light honey wood-grain and the mantle matches. I don't want to paint and then say "Crud. I should have left it."

Look behind the wreath, can you see the ugly beige vents? Because I sure can. And I hate them. I have thought about buying canvases on sale and doing some abstract-amateur painting, and then just leaning them against the wall. I'm hesitant to hang anything very heavy or breakable (like a framed picture) because when we have high winds a bit of air pushes through the vents and I don't want anything to come crashing down on us (or scaring us in the middle of the night).

Now look at the fireplace.

I love the screen (it came from Crate and Barrel, but I can't find it). My parents gave it to us as an anniversary gift :) I also like the basket (it's ancient and came from Target). But it needs something. PS - I have a two year old. So no fireplace tools or large ceramic horse sculptures.

Thanks for all of the suggestions!

Want to join the Decorating Dilemma Party?

Visit Amanda at Serenity Now and link up with your own problem area. See you there!


Holly said...

Okay, I just got my Lowe's Creative Ideas mag in the mail today and it had a large stone fireplace kind of like yours. Here's the online link, though the photos are too small to see it really well
They had painted the stone, not something I would usually consider, but it worked with the whole look. The mantel was much heftier than yours, which might be a thought for you given the size of the fireplace. You can't see it very well on the Lowe's website, but here's a similar one:

They also have a large canvas artwork on the mantel propped against the wall, just like you said!
So, I just pointed that out because the similarities struck me.

All that aside, I totally think you could paint your mantel white and it would look great, and echo the beams on the ceiling.

The hearth is a challenge, as it's so large. How about some plants, or a big crock filled with interesting twigs, maybe pillows in the corners if that wouldn't be too much of a fire hazard. I do like the basket...maybe add a couple more?

Kendall@ Finesse Your Nest said...

I would paint the mantle white! It will look great! Love the stone; don't paint it.

YES get a canvas and paint! I've done it many times and I'm totally NOT an artist. It turns out great every time. I would paint a vertical, not horizontal.

Then accessorize your mantle. Check out a couple of blog parties that host Tablescape Parties for some ideas: Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch and Tabletop Tuesday at Grits & Glamour are 2 I know of.

The best mantle look that always works for me is one that combines many textures - glass, branches, wood, rattan. Also, I find that doing a monochromatic color scheme always pops and is easy to put together.

For the hearth, I like the pillow idea too. Maybe create a little reading spot with a tea table adjacent to the hearth and a little lamp?

Or I've seen in dec mags stacks of firewood on one side and it actually looked pretty cool! Love your screen!

My post probably will not be up until mid-morning, so please check back on my blog. Would love your comments too!

TidyMom said...

First off, you room is nice and spacious! love it!!

Have you seen some of the things that the Nester has suggested? http://www.thenester.com/2010/01/lessons-on-accessories.html

You have a large mantle and hearth - some bigger accessories are needed - and I bet those vents would then disappear

Here's another idea of what someone did with theirs http://olderandwisor.blogspot.com/2009/08/i-like-em-big-i-like-em-chunky.html

Hope this helps some!!

AJ said...

Take the picture and put it in MS paint and change the mantle to white in the picture for a rough idea of if you'll like it white or not.

As for decor....I watch a lot of HGTV and they do a lot of their own art. I've seen some pretty cool things with canvases (some are just old paintings from thrift stores that they paint white to start over) and things as simple as frames with cool scrap booking paper.

I like the reading area idea on the hearth too, maybe keep toddler safe items in the basket..his fave books, and put yours on display higher where he can't reach, like on the mantle. You could probably even find some cool looking older book jackets to put new books into, and then they're still there for reading and a piece of decor!

I like the other websites suggested in the comments here, now I want to redecorate!

There's No Place Like Memphis Mama said...

I'd definitely paint the mantle white. It will really pop. If you get a large heavy framed picture (not a canvas) you shouldn't have issues covering the vent and it shouldn't be able to blow it down. Just play around with different accessories for the mantle. Shop your house! I did this the other day. I put a barn star up, a framed picture of my child, a small mirror and I hung a letter on the mirror and two pillar candles on the end.

Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage said...

I would say add more baskets. You could add a stack of those ones that look like suitcases. Paint em white to stand out. Storage and beautiful!!
Another idea for the art:
You could eve do that on canvas! I am so glad I found that link yesterday!!

Leslie said...

Here is another vote for painting the mantle white. I think the stone in the fireplace is beautiful and I like your canvas art idea as well!

Kristy said...

I'm going to differ from everyone else and say, don't paint the mantle! I love the color, and I REALLY love your stone fireplace, and love both together.

I like the idea of custom art, and you could also add a bunch of frames on it since its' so large right now. Maybe large gallery frames with really wide mats, with some smaller ones mixed in, all with black and white photos.

I also really like that basket - maybe you could add a colorful blanket to add a bit of color?

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Hey, Alanna Rose! Thanks for linking up. :) I'm glad I'm not the only one with couch issues. I'd love to see a link to the slipcovers you bought!

I love the idea of painting a (large) vertical canvas for your mantle to cover the vent. You could do a couple in the same size to change out for different seasons. It would look nice propped up on the mantle. You could get that look, but still anchor it behind for stability. You could add some kind of anchor/hook in the stone that you could wire to the back of the canvas. That way you wouldn't have to worry about it falling off.

You could do a family tree painting (like this one: http://www.simplymodernmom.com/2010/01/tree-canvases/

Or just your family's name or a quote.

I like the idea of painting the mantle white. I think it would pop against the stone. Add some more candles, maybe some black accessories (TJ Maxx/Marshalls!).

Maybe add a few large blankets (rolled) in the basket or some pillows, as Holly suggested.

You have some good feedback so far! :)

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

I love your fireplace-- it would be a crime to paint it. I hate when they do that on home makeover shows; I think the natural stone is just gorgeous. I think you need something to accent it though; at my house, we have wrought (sp?) iron candlesticks that flank the mantel. They're nice and tall, and substantial, and they reall accentuate the height of the fireplace and the tall ceilings.

Confessions From A Working Mom

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog said...

I say go for white! The floors and ceiling are beautiful... because of them, I don't think you'll be missing that color if it's missing from the fireplace. To accessorize, I say go for larger items. A canvas would be nice.

For the lower half, why not add a few large baskets: one with pillows, one with blankets, and one for extra toys that are laying around.

Nicole RJ said...

I'm having some fireplace envy!

I'd definitely paint the mantle white, it would break up the stone and make it pop! I'd also look for some big & tall mantle accessories. Maybe a few tall slim vases for one end, and a big canvas {or two!} to prop up against the stone.

Are the vents removable? Can you stuff old towels in there to help cut back on any air gusts which might knock accessories over?

For the bottom half, how about a few more baskets? Or some small covered cubes for storage?

Linda@CraftaholicsAnonymous said...

I vote to paint the mantle. Give it some life!! :) Good luck

Meg said...

Hi! Thanks for commenting on my blog!

I think because it's such a big space, you want to go for the drama and go big. I love the canvas idea and I also want to throw out the suggestion of a pretty mirror. I love mirrors on mantles and you could find a pretty great one at Goodwill and then just spray paint the frame to make it look ah-mazing. But the canvas could be pretty darn sexy too!

And for sure paint the mantle white. It'll look so fresh and great! I'll definitely be coming back to see what you do! It's already a fantastic room. :)

Kendall@ Finesse Your Nest said...

Hi there Amanda -- Thanks so much for checking out my master bedroom dilemna and for all the great advice!

Sarah said...

Hmmm...what a tough dilemma. I think painting the mantle would help make it look a little more bright and maybe would take the focus off of the vents. I don't know about art for the mantle because of those pesky vents. I totally understand not wanting to put anything in front of them. Maybe putting art and accessories that sit below the vents would distract the eye from noticing the vents.

I think other people gave some good advice. I hope you find something that works for you!

Amy @ Design-Aholic said...

I long horizontal mantle does look out of place. I say a shorter, and chunkier version (and white maybe?) could be added in it's place. :)

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I have considered doing a "show me the results" party, but I'm honestly not sure who would link up. I have a really hard time getting people involved in this party. I'll think about it some more...maybe do a poll to see who would follow through. Those parties can be a bear to organize and promote. But I love the idea. :)