In this post: If you want to update the character of a room, transforming a focal point like the fireplace mantel can make it seem like you’re in a different home.⇒
Have you ever seen someone in a fabulous outfit as you’re walking down the street, only to look down and notice it completely ruined by an awful pair of shoes?
Not just the wrong color or even a different style vibe, but something completely outdated and shoddy that you’d find in a bargain basement kind of store.
Yeah, that’s what my fireplace mantel was like when we first moved into our home.
You can get a peek at it below.
Pretty much the definition of underwhelming.
There are some things you can do that make a huge impact on a room. Painting the walls is certainly one of them, but to really change the character of a room, transforming a focal point like a new fireplace mantel can make it seem like you’re in a completely different home.
This is the kind of change that gives you significant bang for your buck. When we moved into our home, there were some things I wanted to change but knew I could live with for a while. Others, like the mantel, had to go right away.
The bland wood mantel just didn’t go with the look I was going for. It was masculine and yet flimsy looking, too dark for the pale wall color I had in mind, yet not rich enough to make an elegant statement.
I planned to decorate in an updated iteration of French Country, with light colors and antiques, as well as feminine lines.
In a way it made it easier that the existing mantel was out of the question, because I didn’t have to agonize over whether it was worth it to invest in a change.
It. had. to. go.
I was excited at the prospect of selecting something completely new, because it gave me the opportunity to start fresh and pick any style I wanted, as long as it fit our budget.
At the same time, this can also be intimidating, but I’m pretty decisive and had a relatively good idea of what I was looking for.
I did consider going French and curvy and looked at some stone mantels, but the sizing was a bit strange on these models unless I had it made completely custom (which would put us off budget) and so instead I went with a more traditional style.
I selected a mantel with a classic design, including layered moldings and side columns. You can see a dentil detail below the mantel shelf and fluted columns for added interest.
The overlay pieces at the sides and center show Grecian urns, giving the piece its classical character. The mantel was painted Benjamin Moore Simply White to match the other trim throughout the home.
I chose to keep the mantel display clean, with a pair of chinoiserie vases flanking a gilded clock. You can get a hint here of what else is going on in this room, with pale custard walls and creamy white seating.
The crowning touch above the mantel is an antique mirror with gilded patina.
It’s hard to imagine one piece making such a huge difference but it’s almost as if it’s a different home.
This is the type of change that’s a worthwhile investment and one that now, after some time has passed, I can’t picture our home without.
Why ruin a perfectly good outfit with awful accessories?
Fireplace Mantel Resource List
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided many similar options.
(This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
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