Decorating Ideas For A Mantel

Decorating a mantel or shelf with a warm country flair can be fun and easy when you use levels that create an interesting presentation.

Country decorating has always been connected with creating a warm and inviting feel for your home. You want visitors to gain a sense of traditions, family values and a touch of whimsey. The Country look is achieved by adding tradional crafts and special touches to create nastalgia.

When you are thinking of country decor think of dried flowers, wreaths made of natural materials, home-made potpourri, baskets of rag balls, stencils and patchwork throw pillows, needlework and samplers.

When you are decorating a mantel or shelf in your home I suggest that you start with a clean pallet. Think of yourself as an artist that is painting a picture. If your mantel already has object displayed take them down becasue although you may have an idea of what you want the final presentation to look like, you can't start in the middle of the project and expect a pleasing result.

Next an artist would start on the shadows and background so we will too. If the home decorations you want to display are similar in size, you will want to create levels that will add interest to your objects. This can be accomplished in several ways. Some top home decorators suggest turning over various sizes of empty paint cans but any unused shoe box, or old kitchen cannister will work as long too as they are different shapes. In this method the exact placement is not a science. Focus on creating levels that will bounce the eye up, then down and part way up again continuing across the mantel. After laying out your cannisters use long fabric panels or coordinating scraps of material to drape over the levels. Placing similar sized objects on levels in this method is much more interesting to the eye than objects that are all the same height.

Another way to create levels with a country flair would be to use 3 stacked decoupage boxes or paint paper craft boxes yourself with a dark color of paint and use a coat of crackle finish. Antique wire egg baskets can also be a fun country addition.

Even stacking old leather bound books can create a beautiful tradional country look or stack gardening books to create levels in a greenhouse or patio room.

Now you can start the foreground of your picture. Choose decorative items that mean something to you or that follow a color theme used in other parts of your home.

A country home is more than just objects, it also includes scents and sights as well. A scented candle in a tin sconce are a easy way to bring warmth to your display but if you plan on lighting your candles space them a safe distance away from your walls, old books or fabric. Choose objects that offer special meaning to you or represent your hobbies. A garden buff might display objects that include topiaries, grape vine spriggs, trailing plants or picture frames.

Although it is not necessary, grouping photographs together that are all framed in the same finish like pewter, bronze or wood can add continuity to your display.

You will want your display to look balanced and not cluttered so it is a good idea to add objects slowly and take time to stand back and get a feel for the overall look to make sure you have created that warm inviting feeling that country decorating is so popular for.

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