Blog by Beebe Cline

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14 Ways to Style Your Mantel for Spring and Summer

The mantel is often the focal point of the living room in winter, but it can be hard to know how to decorate the fireplace once warmer weather arrives. Do you play it up with fresh colors and artwork, or let it hide out behind strategically placed chairs and plants? No matter the approach you prefer, these 14 styling ideas should spark your imagination.
1. Surround it with summery color. Take a step back and notice what is to the left and right of your mantel. How you treat this space can change the look of your mantel by association — think of painting the walls a fresh blue or green, or swap out dark drapes for breezy white sheers.
2. Fill a demijohn with big branches. Actually, any extra-large container will do — just prune a branch or two from your own tree, plunk them in water and place the container beside your mantel. The swooping height and fresh green color are sure to reinvigorate your space.
3. Paint logs a fun hue. Give your fireplace a fun, modern makeover by filling it with painted logs, and hang a vintage educational map above. Just make sure no one tries to burn the painted logs; they are definitely for decor only!
4. Group themed artwork — maybe even your own. Go shopping or search online for prints or paintings with a summery theme. Or get out your camera and snap away — try taking a series of photos of clouds, water or palm trees, and have them all framed. Hang them horizontally or in a grid for the biggest impact.
5. Make a statement with oversize art. Save up for one statement-making piece, or take one of your own favorite vacation photos and have it blown up. Aim for a piece that takes up about three-quarters of the space above your mantel.
6. Frame a big piece of fabric. Scoop up some cheery fabric, like the sunshine-yellow suzani shown here, and staple it over canvas stretchers (found at art supply stores) for quick and easy wall art.
7. Decorate with vintage treasures. Play I Spy at vintage shops and flea markets, and pick items in a single color, like the minty green used here. Cluster your finds on the mantel, adding your own personal touch with family photos or freshly cut flowers.
8. Display pretty plates. Have a stack of colorful dishes or platters laying around unused? Pick out your favorites and hang them on the wall above your mantel for a colorful display. Start by hanging your largest plate in the center, then arrange the others around it like spokes on a wheel.

The Secret to Hanging a Plate Collection
9. Repurpose birdhouses indoors. If you're looking for something a little different, try painting birdhouses in colors you love and hang them on the wall over the mantel like art. You could keep the colors classic (grays and whites) or totally fun (metallic, pastels or neon hues); it's up to you.

If you don't already have a few old birdhouses lying around the garage, keep an eye out at flea markets and yard sales to start your collection.
10. Reposition chairs and plants. If the fireplace has been the centerpiece of your living room throughout the colder months, simply rearranging the furniture could be all you need to shift the focus. Try angling a pair of chairs in front of the mantel, with a large potted tree tucked behind one chair.
11. Start a summer collection. Bring home a little sand from each beach you visit this summer, and use it to fill an array of clear glass vessels. Line them up on your mantel as you collect them, nestling in candles if you wish.
12. Distract with a greenery-filled urn. If that empty fireplace is looking bare, try placing a large potted plant in front. Choose a container with a nice shape and a plant with some fullness.
13. Use botanically themed art works all year round. If you would rather tweak small details than overhaul your mantel each season, start with a nice big mirror and a few pieces of neutral artwork. Botanically inspired pieces work well no matter what the season is — just accent them with seasonal blooms, seedpods and other finds from nature as the mood strikes.
14. Lighten up the color scheme. Accessories in pale blue, spring green and sunny yellow are cheerful and welcoming. Shop your house for decorative details that fit this color scheme. Alternatively, pick up a can of spray paint in your chosen hue and give mismatched finds a unifying coat of color.