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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

need help with my mantel

courterbackJanuary 17, 2013
I love my new house, but it still feels a bit cold. The mantel and shelves have stumped me. Help please!:)
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I think the dark paint color in the bookshelves insets is too dark. I would consider going with something like a grasscloth, or something with some texture and subtle pattern that is not so dark. As for the shelves themselves, given that this is the focal point of the room with the television and fireplace, I think you really could utilize the bookshelves more. I would get pieces of art to place in the alcove and shelves with some color and/or decorative items mixed in with books and pictures to add some color and variety. Can't see your rug colors well, but if there is a warm color, perhaps bring that into the room with pillows or a throw or onto the coffee table with books, vase, bowls or other types of decor. You could check on Houzz under bookshelves decor for lots of great examples for bookshelves. Wanted to add that another possibility for the bookshelves wall to add color would be if there is a warm color in the rug, for instance an orange, you could paint a lighter shade orange on the back of the bookshelves as another option.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 5:49PM
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On the bookcases I would suggest the following...you need different textures...I would add a basket to both sides but on different shelves...get two different baskets with different shapes. On staggered shelves line up a few books standing straight up on the end of the shelf...next to the books standing up, put several books sideways leaning against the books standing up...do not Do this on every shelf...you will have to play with it...another idea is to display three small plates on a stand side by side...you can fill in with your photos and possibly an interesting candle....your room is beautiful and displaying items in an classy but uncluttered way will look great...you will need to try different things, but the books and basket help break up the look....
1 Like    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 6:00PM
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I forgot to mention that you should try to put a small arrangement of greens on one of the shelves to soften it...I have a similar set up with a twelve foot long mantle and I put nothing on the mantle to avoid too much clutter....again, you have to play with it to get the look you want...
1 Like    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 6:09PM
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You need some furniture and lighting to fill this room in. Lighting is the key element that most people overlook. You want three levels of lighting, overhead which you've got, just make sure you've got dimmer switches, you'll also want lamp or mid room lighting and some in cabinet lighting will do wonders for those book shelves. The windows are very broad, I would think about adding more panels to help break them up. That will help cozy up the room too. Create a seating area (2 club chairs and a table) in front of the window, pull the couch and coffee table closer in to the fireplace/tv, add some artwork. That should make big difference. It's a nice big room, have fun with it, maybe get some big floor pillows, a big arcing lamp that goes from behind the sofa over the coffee table (see pic).
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Tres McKinney Design
The wall is really chopped up with the light fireplace stone, the taupe dry wall columns, the dark natural wood cabinets and the dark painted alcoves above. The best thing you could do to make this wall cohesive and attractive is paint all the dark wood cabinetry white like the trim in the rest of the room and install gray or a natural color grass cloth as suggested on the back wall of the arch above the fireplace and the back of the bookcases. Natural stained wood is not sacred if it does not work. You can fuss all you want with different accessorizing schemes and it still will not be successful if you do not get the interior architecture right. Start there and everything will fall into place. Eventually add a couple of chairs to create a conversation area even if the main purpose of the room is for TV watching. The chairs can have a swivel base to orient towards conversation or the TV.
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 9:09PM
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I could see the dark wood around/near the fireplace painted a medium shade of gray and three appropriately sized paintings in the space above the fireplace. Or getting a bit fancy--I could also see a type of 'swirling' mosaic work with irradescent tiles on the wall space above the fireplace.
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 9:25PM
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Your space has excellent potential. I love your area rug. I agree that your cabinets on either side of the fireplace are just too dark for the space. An elegant option is to paint them both the same color as the trim. or the same color as the wall of the mantle for a more modern touch. Topiary trees 2 or 3in varied shape and size in a grouping on the mantle would look awesome.Bring out the yellow from your carpet by tying that color ribbon around the base of the topiaries. A med sized round mirror on the wall of the mantle and a grouping of pillar candles in a cream color would add warmth and interest as well.A side table beside the couch would add interest and offer a place to put a nice plant,, or vase filled with twigs to add a bit of warmth to the room (twigs painted white can be placed in a large vase on the floor beside the couch too.. A soft butter yellow upholstered chair (or 2) would look great to the right and left of the sofa. The 2 ottoman appear a bit lost over by the wall....maybe need to put them in front of the fire place? Good luck to you. Diana
1 Like    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 9:31PM
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the sofa, area rug, and curtains tie in nicely. But your entertainment center is a stumper because the fireplace/ tv combo are not centered. They are both " off" and they compete for attention. That half moon space above could use some books, spot lights, objects. Tempting to consider painting the wood tones around the tv set to match the fireplace colors, not the built ins. It is really lacking definition on that entire wall. Def need that side lamp shown above, and to bring the gray ottoman squares closer to the middle of the room. Inject a bit of yellow into the decor for contrast to the gray.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 10:20PM
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HI -- You have three colors on the one wall , which is making it look too chopped up. I think if you go by some of the colors in the fireplace tiles and make the wood and the background colors a little more together and add some texture.I would lighten the wood by painting it .Then add a textured wallpaper like a grass cloth or a linen or maybe even some mirror on the background wall. If you make the whole wall a more blended tone by cutting down the contrasts , then that wall will look bigger also. Then display one long low iteresting item in the centre mantel section and keep the side shelves very simple . Look on Houzz for some ideas on how to display on book shelves.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:23AM
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Jonathan Hress Design
This is a good looking room. I agree you need some greenery above the TV. If you don't like live plants, You can do good quality silk. Some pottery or baskets could be nice.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:57AM
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I would put mirror in back of bookshelves and above tv/ fireplace inset. It would reflect a lot of light and seem to push the wall out. You could also have resessed lights installed above side bookshelf area with glass shelves. Also use less shelves using larger decor pieces to look less cluttered for more impact.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:47AM
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Dar Eckert
I'm not fond of niches unless you are a collector of art. But here is one example of how they can be used tastefully.
Frontenac, MO Custom Home · More Info
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 12:23PM
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anne dee
Hi, While browsing thru Houzz photos under Urban Town House designer Lorraine G. Vale I came across a living room that has a similar lay out as yours. Check it out. I hope it helps!! Good luck with your project.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 1:06PM
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I forgot to mention that I had chairs on order and they arrived today! I used some suggestions and found a few accessories around the house to use until I can get shopping. Loving the input, keep it coming:) Thanks all!
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 1:51PM
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Dar Eckert
Nice job! Love the chairs,
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Carol Miller
hey it worked out well. I think you can get a couple of vases tht tie into the color of your rug curtains and furniture. that would be an idea for next time.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:22PM
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Linda Block
Something to keep in mind with the shelves. Think in three's when arranging. i.e. a small stack of books with a small picture on top of them and a small vase next to that.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:23PM
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HI -- Love the new chairs , they look perfect . I need to know what the chairs are and where you got them , if you don't mind . Thanks
    Bookmark   Thanked by courterback    January 19, 2013 at 4:52PM
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Chairs are from Thomasville!
    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 8:20AM
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