Update your mantlepiece in 4 easy steps

All it takes is these rules and a little imagination
Prue Ruscoe

If your vignette styling skills need a little perfecting, here’s help.

A mantelpiece is one of those covetable architectural features many of us look for in our ‘forever home’. Budding stylists, homeowners and interior designers alike relish the opportunity to let loose on a bare mantelpiece with a curated collection of objects and art.

It’s not as easy as it looks to get it right though and if you’ve been wondering why yours is missing the mark, follow the rules below as a guideline for style success time and time again.

1. A clean slate

Starting from scratch is sometimes the best way to approach a new look. Rather than build on the old vignette, remove everything from your mantelpiece and give it a good clean. Perhaps a new or favourite object will inform the new look – take stock of what you’d like to display – the style, scale, colour and theme and work from there.

2. Keep to a colour

Things don’t need to match exactly in colour but if you stick to a similar tone for the objects on display you’ll achieve a more cohesive look. Tie your colours in with other items in the room – whether this is your sofa, an armchair or the artwork you have hanging over your mantelpiece itself. The inclusion of natural materials or something with a textured finish for an organic display or touches of metallic for glamour will take your vignette to the next level.

3. Build your shape

Working to the classic design rules of proportion and scale, build your scale into a vague ‘triangle’ shape, with one of your items standing taller above the others to form the apex, then anchor the triangle with a significant object or group of items at either side of the triangle base.

The triangle rule also applies in terms of number – as a minimum a vignette should have three objects included, varying in size from small to medium and large. If including more than three items, stick to odd numbers.

How to style a mantlepiece | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
One larger triangle of the whole mantlepiece and antlers encompasses two smaller triangles within (Credit: Armelle Habib)

Your triangle can span the entire width of the mantelpiece, to form a collection at one or both ends of the surface. The mirror above both of the mantles below forms the apex of the triangular arrangement, with the objects at either end of the mantle forming the base.

4. Less is more

Follow the advice of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe that “Less is more”. Rather than adding objects to build your mantle display, consider taking objects away for a cleaner look that is less cluttered and more elegant.

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