Styling a Mantle with (Mostly) Found Objects

As part of our ongoing living room redecoration, it became evident that my old mantle styling (which centered around a tile mosaic of one of my favorite vintage Italian alcohol posters) could use an update as well.

I’m a big fan of the “asymmetrical balance” approach to mantle styling, and I also don’t like the idea of spending a fortune to style a mantle; I feel like what you display there should tell a story about the room’s occupants, or highlight some of your favorite things.

The old mantle styling highlighted a favorite artwork and a small wine rack. 

So, I went on a treasure hunt throughout my house to see what I could come up with that might work within the new mantle decor. First, on the left, I re-discovered a pair of candle stick holders my grandmother had given me well over a decade ago.

Next, I repurposed our large living room wall clock; we like having a clock in the room, but it wasn’t going to work anymore in its old location and would be needing a new home anyways.

On the right hand side, I pulled out a large white ceramic vase that had been hiding in our garage for many years, and to help give it a little height, raided my bookshelf until I found a couple books with pretty, embossed spines that also fit the room’s overall color palette.

At this point, I was just about finished. I headed off to my local crafts store to gather the finishing touches: new candles for atop the candle sticks, a complimentary vase and some flowers to fill them. I discovered the crowning touch, my silver rhino statue, on sale for $12 at At Home. The hubby and I have a running joke about putting a giant rhino statue in our front yard to scare the neighbors; as such the rhino fits here because it’s not just a decorative object, but one that connects to us as the homeowners.


To me, this all works because of that asymmetrical balance – you have two similar, but slightly differentiated, items (candlesticks) on the left side, you have two similar, but slightly differentiated, items (vases) on the right side. You have a large round object on the left (clock); you have another round item (round vase) on the right. The heights, materials, and colors all vary. It looks composed, without looking cluttered.

And the total cost in new object to bring this together? Only about $30. Win!


Author: Mrs. Millennial

I'm Whitney, writer of Mrs. Millennial. While I've got an advanced degree and a job in the tech industry, I'm usually happiest in my kitchen, garden, and home, or else on a crazy travel adventure. I hope you enjoy my recipes, home improvement tips, travel stories, musings, and more. You can also see what I'm up to in my professional life at Need to reach me? Shoot an email to whitney (dot) magnuson (at) gmail (dot) com.

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