Which Mantel?

I’m still in the process of deciding which direction to take with my mantel. Confession: I just recently had the chance to take down my christmas mantel decorations. This gave me the opportunity to start again for the new year. My mantel itself looks almost Jeffersonian, it has so much molding! Part of me wants to go with this look, and part of me wants to stray away from it with more modern inclinations.

Above (Look #1) is me going with it: a traditional take complete with silver candelabras and heavy on greenery.

Look #2: This is a cleaner look, with an impressionistic oil landscape hanging in the middle square and white ceramic ware surrounding it. I think it has a sort of contemporary French feel.

Look #3: My take on modern. An abstract painting sets the tone, with bright white ceramic perfume bottles taking center stage. The chartreuse hour glass mimics the green of the fern nicely.

Look #4: This is a more layered composition, so let’s call it eclectically styled. An acrylic framed David Hockney drawing provides more color, while the single white tulip gives it a feminine touch.

So, which mantel look do you like best? Place your vote in the comments section!

Here’s what I did for Christmas:


About Cate

Cate is a former decorating editor of a shelter magazine based in Manhattan, who has recently moved from the Big Apple to Charlottesville with husband and baby. An interior design enthusiast, she enjoys all things aesthetic.
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24 Responses to Which Mantel?

  1. Beth says:

    Love #2!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I love #3. Did your Dad paint that one? I love it.

  3. Tom says:

    I vote for number 1. I love continuing a touch of the Christmas spirit into January by including the wreath!


  4. Margaret says:

    I vote Look 2. Or 3. Or 2. Hmm. I guess it depends on which one flows with the room more. I’m personally heading towards 3. Or… hey, just leave the Christmas decorations up all year!

  5. ann west says:

    I vote on #3… I love, love the hour glass…a great departure from the traditional millwork of the mantle..a fun surprise and love the modern painting within the center molding….

  6. Margaret says:

    What a fantastic mantle. I’d say do anything you can do to keep it “clean” to showcase the architectural details of it. Too bad we can’t see the rest of your room to see how this fits together. I like the way you’ve displayed your objets d’art in number three, but I am also partial to that jug on the righthand side of the mantle in number two. What if you swapped out the perfume bottles for the jug, and went with number three all the way? Have fun!

  7. Amber says:

    I think I’m leaning towards 3, but you realize you couldn’t go wrong with any of them, right? And your Christmas mantle was stunning – I’m stealing it for next year!

  8. Martha @ Nest says:

    all great. i like #3 – i’d take off the little vases, candle, hourglass (love it tho) and just have the the branches and slide the little boxwood/greenery over to the other side. u can’t go wrong whatever you do.

  9. Kristin says:

    #2 is my fav.

  10. DZ says:

    Gosh. I love all of them. Just exquisite. If I had to choose a favorite, maybe the Christmas one? And I have a soft spot for #2, cause the painting/painter is so fantastic…

  11. Frances says:

    Cate- so fun to see you’re doing this. You have such wonderful taste- just as I would expect. I must say I love #2- very much because of the painting. Fantastic!

  12. Christa says:

    I vote for #2 or #3, with a leaning toward #2. I laughed when I read this post as I too just removed Christmas from my mantel and have been experimenting with a new layout. Alas, I am victim to the whims of indecision and thus the mantel is in a state of extreme minimalism, in other words, empty.

  13. Melina Smith says:

    I love number 2, I love that painting. There is a sense of warmth and hominess, plus it appears effortless. The molding is to die for!!!!!

  14. Bonnie says:

    I like #1 but what about having the hour glass instead of the picture on the right? I also really like #2.

  15. Mary Zahl says:

    All are beautiful, really. But #2 made me gasp when I first saw it. Love the dark leafy stuff in the vase. Perfect compliment to the lovely painting.

  16. Abby says:

    No. 2! Love it.

  17. #3 is my fav. I love that hourglass. Very cool.
    Your xmas mantel is lovely too.
    I like changing things up per the season…so you could do #3 for a bit and then mix it up when the weather/your mood changes!

    I’m from Cville too. Check out my yoga blog:

  18. Hannah Byrd says:

    i definitely took a picture of your christmas mantle with my iphone for future reference. #2 all the way

  19. Pingback: Mantel Update: The Winning Look | The Charlotte

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