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August 29, 2016

Mantel Arranging since 1996

I'm going to back up a good ways and show you our mantel from the early days (20 years ago)

The addition was completed in April 1996.  I had a contemporary brass and glass mirror that had followed us from another house.  We mounted it up on the wall and this was my first attempt to decorate the new room.  I don't own the big roll top desk any longer and the burgundy recliners went to one of my sisters.   The oak coffee and end tables were sold at some point along with the sofa. Interesting to look back.  Judging by my daughter's sitting position she's watching tv over on the wall that I want to move our tv to now.

In 2006 I went heavy into color and set the room up in golds, olives and reds.  We found this brass swan piece at the furniture store where we had just selected a whole new room of furniture.  

Then in 2010 I tried this half round topped mirror for a while and I love French Country so when I saw these two pedestal vase pieces at a store going out of business I bought them.  They were around for a long time on the mantel shifting positions many times.  I still have them tucked away.

This was 2012 when I pumped up the Tuscan influence a bit more.

Moving forward rapidly this new picture replaced the mirror and eventually I came across these big white lanterns.  I had begun a quest to reduce my Tuscan influence and I wanted to add a little modern mix in.  The lattice design on the lanterns added a light spring and summer look.  As you can see I pumped up the white with several items on the mantel here.  I have used them continuously since April 2015 when I acquired them including fall decorating and Christmas the season and until very recently.

Last June I was visiting my hometown downstate and went into a favorite little furniture/deco store that offers interior decorating.  They are very open to conversation and I became engaged with one designer about some ideas for my mantel.  When I showed her that picture (before this one) she didn't like the symmetry of the two white lanterns.  I had spotted the brass candlesticks at the store and she offered the thought of placing them on one side and just using the one lantern.  I needed to get the two candlesticks offset so I used a faux book to do it.  I lived with it a while but just wasn't thrilled.

One thing she drove home is that "we are doing "less is more" these days".  
So every so often when I got a chance I'd play with the mantel some more trying to do less and not be too symmetrical (but symmetrical kept coming back).  This isn't bad but it seems terribly predictable.

I tried moving the candlesticks out to the ends.  I added my brown woven vase to the hearth to help ground the setting.  
This is just one of several attempts but I just couldn't adjust to the candlesticks being way out on either end.

I had a lightbulb moment and brought my tall white lantern over to create another height and was starting to like it more.

 I adore this footed bowl (that I won from a blog giveaway in 2014 as seen "here" and it's a favorite piece of mine.  I put my faux artichokes in it and love how it looks.

I loved the lantern on the tray where it was since last April as seen "here" but I had to give it a try on the mantel.  This is the fun part of shopping your house!! 

 So this is where I'm at now.  Using a faux book to raise one candlestick and to break up the symmetry of using them on both sides.  I'm trying to keep it uncluttered.  The bowl is too wide to go on the right where the lantern is which was a thought, but keeping the height of the lantern on the end works as a better balance.

 I'm happy with this and content for now!

Bottom line to all this is try things out and experiment.  Don't get hung up with only one way of doing these things.  Before I put the room back together all the deco accessories were moved out and then when I put it back together I start out with a fresh approach.  
Some things got eliminated and you have to allow yourself to do that.  Don't get hung up with keeping all your things out just because you own it.

In my next post I'll tell you about my reason for the recent shuffling of the room furniture.


  1. Liz, it's nice to see how you've arranged your mantel over the years. Decorating is certainly personal and reflects the owner's taste. Your living room looks beautiful and I'm sure it's a place you enjoy. I'm looking forward to bringing out our fall decor. Maybe I'm just wanting the temperatures to drop. Have a great week ahead. ♥

  2. Nice job with the design and decor, Liz.

  3. I enjoyed this post so much Liz; to see each and every vignette atop your pretty mantel thru the years. I love how your latest turn out and that bowl is lovely, indeed.

  4. Your taste has remained great over the years. I know a mantel is not the most easy area to decorate despite its prevalence in most homes. It's fun that you're playing with it periodically...switching it up keeps it interesting! I really like the swan!!! That was cool!

  5. I love how your room has evolved. Today is the best and I love, love, love that footed bowl too.

  6. All beautiful arrangements! Decorating the mantle is such a challenge for me. You have done a beautiful job through out the years. I love the bowl with the artichokes. So pretty!

  7. It is so strange to see this post today. For a few days now, I have been playing with our mantel. I have changed it numerous times. I am going to post something today about it. Change is good. It is fun to change things around. That I can do, but I cannot shuffle the furniture...LOL. The bowl of artichokes is lovely. The picture is beautiful and I do love the large vase.

  8. Liz,
    Love going back to where it all began to where you are now, dear friend!
    You have so~o~o many lovely pieces to chose from for your mantle and home decor!
    I love symmetry! However, sometimes one does need a change!
    Thank you for sharing!

  9. Love it Liz, the lantern is perfect filled with old books. Was thinking of that for the fall with a few pumpkins, we'll see. I have those artichokes, love them



Thank you for your comments! I don’t always get a chance to reply but I do read them!


Welcome to Home and Gardening With Liz. I have combined my previous blogs “Infuse With Liz” and “Sit With Me In My Garden” into this new blog. I love interior decorating and gardening. I enjoy redefining interior spaces by moving things around and reusing decorative items already found in the home. I also enjoy creating tablescapes and an occasional crafting project. I'm so pleased you've stopped by. I invite you to follow me and I do hope you will keep coming back! Liz
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