Fireplace Decor: Hearth Design Tips

Top designers mix up the mantel, creating graphic, asymmetrical or three-dimensional arrangements easy to replicate in your own home. Here are five ways to make your mantel marvelous, and heat up the decor of any room.

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Cool and Collected

While one or two great objects can certainly work well above a fireplace, mantels are also the perfect place to showcase larger collections — as long as you edit carefully. "If you have a collection of something that's very similar, such as ancient jade disks or pieces of driftwood... with very similar forms," says stylist Jorge Arango, "you can place them evenly across the mantel." If you want to mix more than one collection, he says, "stick to just a few materials: If you have mercury glass, you can you mix it with some clear apothecary glass — but that's it. Don't mix in ceramics or wood, because it will start to look cluttered." If you want a more colorful arrangement, go for items that are similar in size, scale and origin. Antique Chinese snuff bottles in different colors and materials can work very well together. Or try rainbow-hued Scandinavian cased glass vases, or brightly glazed majolica. Because the pieces relate well to one another, the look will be cohesive even if the shapes and colors vary greatly.

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