02 February 2012

Simple mantel styling

Yesterday I mentioned that I shuffled around a few things in our home, like adding the crystal candlesticks to our dining room table (which, by the by, increases the classiness of a pizza-and-juice dinner by 300%, even unlit):

I stole them from the mantle, which is where they had been since I unpacked them after moving in. But once you move one thing, you have started a vicious cycle in which you have to move everything. ALL THE THINGS.

Because those candlesticks had been on the mantel, I had to find something to put in their place. And as I’ve said before, mantel decorating – or “styling”, as the shelter blogger community insists on calling it – is not my forte. I suppose it’s easier if you have entire basements or bedrooms devoted to random spare décor, so you can shop for items around your own house. But quite frankly, I’d rather not hoard useless décor items, much less waste the space to hold them.

So the simplest thing to do is put the previous dining table décor on the mantle. Boom. GENIUS MASTER STYLIST.

Well... maybe I will be once I actually put something in them. (That weird red thing in one seems to be a strange reflection of the red couch. Also our walls are not actually pink and mustard. Also I take back the part about master stylist.)

The middle of the mantel used to have a bunch of miniature pianos, which mostly came in handy as tiers to display Christmas cards. But I decided to go for a more clean and open look (because clean and open sells houses, right?) and pack those up. In their place, I put these little owl bookends that Mr. P got for Christmas:

But they’re white, and the mantle’s white, and unfortunately I don’t have any fun-colored books to mix it up. So I instead embraced my love of the monochromatic, pulled out any black, white, or gray hardbacks I could find, and came up with this:

Simon Doonan would be unimpressed, but hey, at least I’m moving things around for the first time in forever.

And for those who care more about the books themselves than the décor, here’s the small collection, which probably sums up Mr. P and me better than anything else I could put on the mantel short of a microscope and an PlayStation controller:

A book about Italy, The Phantom Tollbooth, David Sedaris, Steve Martin, and a novel about the Hypnerotomachia. That’s about right.

Finally, a full view of our decluttered, rearranged, “clean and open” but perhaps not particularly stylish mantel:

But a work in progress, maybe? And while it’s not there yet, it follows lots of design rules, with the group of three and the different heights of the same object and the multiple orientations of books... eh? At the very least, thank goodness I modernized the ceiling fan, yes?

Still on the to-do list: fill the vases with something I don’t know what, and paint the wall around the mirror white so it blends in with the trim. I’ll keep you posted!


Mary Beth said...

David Sedaris! I just read "Me Talk Pretty One Day." He is hysterical! And I am absolutely obsessed with owls (I have no idea why), so if you ever get sick of those bookends....