Posted in Interior Design

How to Style a Fireplace Mantel

For the best effect, every room in your home should be decorated with a focal point in mind. The focal point of a room is where the eye is naturally drawn. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, give a shout out to the focal point of that room! To make it pop, you will want to style your mantel to add to the wow factor.

There are several general ways to get to the wow of your fireplace mantel decor while keeping with your style and without looking too forced (unless that’s the look you want). There are also certain rules to follow in design of any kind. You want to keep these rules in mind no matter which way you choose to style your mantel.

Source Target

Styling Rules

Symmetry and Pairs.

The easiest way to convey balance and calm is repetition. Place two identical items on either side of a mantel, or choose ones with the same visual weight.


Color Balance.

Various objects with the same color will look like they belong together. Grouping by color keeps the arrangement from looking too busy or scattered.


Rule of Three.

A trio of accessories is always a safe bet. This trio can be comprised of items of different shapes, colors, heights, and materials to give the group a kick.

Rule of Three Mantel
Source Good Housekeeping


Height Changes.

Play with objects of different heights and weights such as art work paired with a small stack of books.

Negative Space.

Special objects need negative space while the less important items benefit from being grouped together so the beauty is in the grouping.

You can also stack and arrange objects by size from large to small.

Now that you know the basics of styling, I’ll give you some examples of How to Style Your Fireplace Mantel:

Overlap Artwork

Following the styling rules above, overlap artwork and anchor with candle holders.

fireplace mantel overlapped artwork

Establish a Theme

Such as a common color. This Spring mantel by Jenna Burger Design shows a creative use of turquoise.


Asymmetrical Arrangement

The same way that symmetry conveys balance and calm, asymmetry will convey a sense of excitement.



Empty Frames

Place a few empty frames along with a few accessories and flowers or greenery. Don’t forget the styling rules!



Hang a mirror in the middle and a sconce on either side. Place a large vase in front of the mirror and fill in the rest of the space with smaller accessories such as vases or candle sticks.


Unique (and my favorite)

Layer a small mirror over a large one.

Hang a large plain mirror above the mantel, then place a smaller decorative mirror in front. Mirrors can make a space feel larger, so this is great for small spaces.


Flat Panel TV Over the Mantel?

Recess the TV into the wall behind the fireplace and enclose it with bi-fold doors.


Add Molding

Add character to the wall above your fireplace with molding. Paint the molding the same color as the wall. This frames the space above the mantel and draws the eye upward.


Paint the wall surrounding the fireplace a strong, striking color.


If your fireplace is flanked by built-ins, consider how they relate to the mantel and coordinate them.


High Ceilings?

Emphasize the height of a room by displaying a tall frame, mirror or art piece on the mantel for impact.



Try a decal to add interest without the cost of art. Make sure it’s not too small or not too large.


Mixing Styles

If, for example, your fireplace is rustic stone and your decor is modern, add some modern abstract art above the mantel that pulls from other colors in the room.


Get creative! Use your mantel to display items that reflect you and your interests!

Posted in Interior Design

Color Is Everything!

Color is a very important part of the design of interior spaces. In fact, color can make or break a design. Because of that, I will be writing about color in design regularly.

I thought it would be interesting to start with the color white. Very often, and especially when we move into a new home or space, we may not have taken the time to fully think through the colors we want to paint each room or space. We think, “I’ll just play it safe for now and paint everything white.” After all, white is simple. Isn’t it? Not to mention, some of us are afraid of color. Not color itself, but afraid of not using it correctly.

White Is Not Boring

Just as we use furniture placement and lighting, we also use color to create balance in a space. You may not be a fan of purple walls and red furniture, but when done tastefully with balance in mind, it can be a thing of beauty.

purple and red
Notice the while pillow used for balance

One very important thing to keep in mind though, is that the number of shades of white paint is alarming! It can be quite overwhelming to go into a paint store in search of white paint without a plan.

I’ll show you some examples. I’ve chosen to use the same room in all of the examples so you can see the subtle differences.



Here, we have Benjamin Moore’s Navajo White (OC-95). This hue is inherently sophisticated and endlessly versatile. It works well in tranquil environments. Navajo White is perfect for a country house or warm naturally-lit spaces.



Next up is Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace (OC-65). This is quite a universal paint color that creates a bright white space that is warm and welcoming rather than sterile and cold. It’s a crisp, clean white that reminds you of pure silk and soft linen.



Lastly, take a look at Benjamin Moore’s Chalk White (2126-70). This hue is a grey scale white that work well with both cool and warm toned spaces.

As you can see, the differences between these three are quite subtle. But, remember, there are thousands of shades of white paint to choose from. Once you’ve painted a room, or worse, a whole home with the wrong white paint, you will tire of it rather quickly!

By all means, do your research, call a consultant and go ahead and paint your home with the most beautiful white you can find. Don’t forget to be practical and maybe use white more sparingly if you have small children or pets.

Do you have any color questions? Leave a comment and follow this blog for answers to your decor dilemma.

Posted in Interior Design

Back to the Future!

We often talk about things coming “full circle” and we’re often amazed at how this develops. It just happened to me and I’m ecstatic! The really amazing part of it is that my previous blog posts have been somewhat chronicling these developments without me even knowing it.

In the beginning, I blogged about how I had discovered that:

All of the projects were aimed at creating beauty to Cause Happiness.

The very next blog post went on to further detail my self-discovery:

The road to happiness is so often a bumpy one. Full of setbacks, heartache and what we often assume is failure. We take detours hoping that if we just try something else, the answer will come. None of that has worked for me. I have decided instead to return to my bliss. To do that which makes me happy and brings me joy.

Now I know that all of it, every word, every idea, every project has led me to this day.

Many years ago, before we left New York, I completed the course work to certify as an Interior Designer. Although I researched every avenue I could think of, the information about how to start and run a solo practice was not forthcoming. The Interior Design industry has long had a reputation for being very secretive.

Blue wingback chair in a blue room.

After we moved to North Carolina and I obtained my Real Estate license, I thought it was enough just to be in the homes and surrounded by great decor. We attended Charlotte HomeArama, which is a luxury home showcase, every year. In one distinctive setting, the newest trends in home technology, interior design, and outdoor living were showcased. One of my first sales as a Realtor, was that of a 100 year old historic home and my husband was awarded the job to do the rehab. Oh happy day! I, of course, did all of the design work and it was, to date, one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. However, when that was done, what I thought was practicality dictated that I continue to focus on real estate.

Fast forward a few more years, and I heavily considered Home Staging as an add on to my real estate career. I quickly put that aside as the real estate market became volatile and our focus turned to the sale of distressed property.

The Joy of Bliss picks up where I left off with real estate. Yes, I am about to return to the world of Interior Design! My focus will be on making interior design accessible and affordable for everyone to suit the busy lifestyles that so many people have these days. All of this will be made possible through the power of technology.

Follow The Joy of Bliss so you don’t miss the unfolding of this venture and pick up a few decorating tips along the way!

What is your current decorating dilemma?